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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, January 28, 2019
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Rock and Refuge
with Fr. Roy Cimagala

Never condescending, condemning

Rock & Refuge

When dealing with people, that is, with all kinds of people with all the differences and conflicts that we can have among ourselves, we have to see to it that we treat each other as equals, whom we have to love regardless of whatever.

We are equals because we are all human beings, creatures of God who made us in his image and likeness. We have the same origin and end. We have the same calling to holiness and apostolate, since we have to help one another, especially in attaining what is most important to us—our salvation.

This sense of equality should be abiding in all situations, especially when we have to tackle our unavoidable differences and conflicts. If ever, these differences and conflicts should only reinforce our sense of equality by going through the process of love and charity, patience and compassion that Christ himself as lived, shown us and enabled us to live also.

Christ died for all. He offered and continues to offer mercy to everyone. He bore all our sins and made himself like sin himself even if he did not commit any sin. In the end, this is the attitude we ought to have as we pursue our quest for equality amid all the differences and conflicts that we can have. We cannot be truly Christian unless we have this attitude of Christ.

Thus, we have to learn how to feel equal with everyone despite differences. When we, for example, feel that someone issuperior to us in some human terms, like IQ, EQ, social and economic standing, etc., we can and should acknowledge that superiority, of course, but we should never feel inferior to them as a human person.

We should not be afraid or ashamed to approach them and help them in any way we can. We have to remember that no one is so superior as to have no need of help even from an inferior person. Everyone is a work in progress, and we are meant to help one another.

The same is true when we deal with someone who is inferior to us in some human terms. We should never be condescending toward them and, much less, assume the attitude of lording it over them, oozing with arrogance and conceit.

If we have to believe the advice of St. Paul, we would even regard them as superior to us. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit,” St. Paul said in his Letter to the Philippians. “Rather, be humble, thinking others as better than yourselves.” (2,3)

I suppose that advice is meant to prod us to help and serve others in any way we can. This is the constant attitude we ought to have when dealing with others. It reflects what Christ himself also had. “I came not to be served, but to serve.” He even went to the extent of offering his life for us.

This duty to feel equal with everybody else because of our common origin, common end and common dignity, becomes even more relevant when we deal with persons who clearly are in the wrong or who have done some offense, crime and sin of any kind.

In this case, we should be not only not condescending to them but also not condemning. The final judgment of condemnation belongs to God alone. We too can make judgments, but only on those areas where we are competent. But we are never competent to make the final judgment of condemnation to any person. Only God can do it.

So we have to be most careful with our thoughts and judgments which we usually keep to ourselves only. But with that, we would already be doing that is not right and proper to us. Like Christ, we have to help that person in his conversion, readily offering mercy and compassion.*

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