Being There for Each Other!

I like to watch criminal investigative series. Why? I think they are so intriguing because they show the complexity of motivations, personalities, causes, consequences reactions, thought patterns, and ways to understand the perpetrators, victims, and investigative process. As a person who deals with a lot of different people on different levels, I like to find better ways to understand and see how people think in different ways. Even though things might look black and white from our perspective, the subjective reasoning and worldview of people are worlds apart from what we would think could have happened! Sometimes, people share the same perspective as us, and sometimes they are totally different. Some people have the right reasoning, “common sense” and level-headedness to help them see the world that includes other people, too, while others just only think about their own good and self-centered thoughts. That is why a lot of convicted criminals committed crimes, not because many of them are evil, but because they lapsed or clouded their judgments at that particular time with matters that only benefitted them instead of considering other people’s goods as well.

It seems like there is a common denominator or underlying factor amongst psychopathic serial killers, and that is the astounding lack of personal remorsefulness for their crimes. Even though some of them recognized that their actions were not according to social norms and are deemed evil or not right by others, they do not seem to be personally affected by the crimes done or what had happened to their victims and families. Even though it seems astounding and mind-boggling for us to think how they cannot know that reality, psychopaths seem to be very disconnected or disconcerted about the welfare of others. And even though this might not seem to be as grave or concerned as the example that I have given with serial killers, I believe there is a disturbing trend of a lack of remorsefulness amongst our people in the present day and age.

More and more people are getting so self-centered that they only care about what they have to say and how to be vocal about it! They have no problems trying to overcome, muffle, and hurt other people as long as they get what they want. So many people have done that on social media, television, radio, newspaper, and other media means! We have seen this sad reality with how people interact with each other. They do their best to discredit, silence and overspeak the other side. They are willing to do anything and everything to get what they want — and that is so sad, in my honest opinion. We have seen politicians, news personalities, and even ordinary people attacking one another in public forums without thinking about the other side!

At times, I wonder if we really understand how our words and actions affect other people, and how they have the power to hurt those who are receiving them.

I think we can all relate and know what it means to be hurt by people’s words, accusations, or gossip. Even though words are harmless by weaponry standards, they carry many powers to destroy a person’s credibility, dignity, respect, and feelings. We have the power to give life or to destroy someone that we do not like with what we can say or do out of love or vengeance. It will be the saddest time when our society becomes unremorseful of our words and actions. We will be the most despicable nation and people when we can no longer care or are able to feel the effects, especially the pains and sufferings, that resulted from our words and actions. We become a destructive society and people to ourselves and others when we become hard-hearted, insensitive, self-focused, and hurtful people who only care about ourselves or what only benefits us, willing to do whatever it takes to bring down those who are labeled as obstacles and against us.

When was the last time we change someone by criticizing them and telling them that they are wrong and we are right? That probably will not work, but we tend to do it all the time nowadays. There is a lack of respectful dialogue where people are treated with dignity and valued. When there is a lack of respect, no one will ever care to change their minds, and all we end up with is just resentment, anger, and people being childish, defensive, and yelling at each other trying to prove that they are right. If you do not believe me, this seems to be the general trajectory and weapon that we use on one another on many of our popular and social media outlets. It gets sad to see people simply attacking one another without truly being considerate, mindful, or caring in their words and actions. What have we done or could do to restore civility and respectful discourse back to our society and normal human interactions?

I guess the first and foremost invitation would be to pray, taking the time to reflect on our words and actions before we say or do something. Second, to also pray, but this time, not only for ourselves but also for the other person, especially lifting up those who are challenging to love at this moment. We have to pray for ourselves so that the love of God permeates our heart and lift our souls up to the matters that are of His eternal, transcendental, and loving values instead of things that are easily manipulated, agitated and controlled by popular and typical politics, opinions, trends, and thoughts. Second, we have to let our prayer to God lead us to deeper patience and understanding of our brothers and sisters who are in need of grace and prayers just as we do.

While it is easy to focus on the things that we do not like or disagree with them, there is much more we have in common as human beings, sinners, and people who are in need of grace more than we could ever imagine or comprehend. It simply requires us to open our eyes to see the bigger reality and depth of our humanity! None of us are perfect and without faults, and all of us are works in progress by the grace of God. Therefore, we should be patient with ourselves and with others in our speech and deeds so we leave enough room for understanding, reconciliation, forgiveness, prayerful space, and time for His grace to be at work instead of leaving no room left for anything else except what we want for ourselves.

St. Paul in his letter to the Philippians (4:6-9) tells us to not let the things of this world overshadow God‘s goodness and His loving grace for us. We should not let the changing, worldly, or humanistic matters let us be anxious and myopic so as to shut out and close off His divine goodness in life. As a matter of fact, we should be able to come to God with genuine petition and prayer, thanking Him for His loving care. We can offer to Him all that is going on in life. We just have to remember that no one or nothing in this life has the power to steal the peace that was given to us by Christ Jesus! It is important, therefore, to guard our hearts and minds and let them be fixated on the loving promise of the Lord. Our hope is real because it is founded on the never-changing, everlasting, and eternal promise of Christ who told us that He will be with us at all times, until the end of the age. Our hope is real because His love for us is real! We are able to know what He did and continues to do in our very own lives if we become attentive to His loving presence.

While politics and the changing matters of this world will agitate, disturb, confuse, or deter us from what is truly life-giving, let us return and come back to the source of our peace, Christ Jesus, especially in being faithful to His teachings and commands. In the midst of many things that seem to bombard us, let us be focused on doing what is just, and seek what is loving, pure, and true by what He had given and taught us. We recognize how blessed we are by striving to be grateful, praising Him for His loving providence, and reflecting upon these things that give life and nourish us deep from within. Even though it will get hard at times, we continue to be faithful and put into practice what we have learned and received, living through our words and actions what we have seen in the life of the Lord and the lives of the saints. Peace is hard to attain at times, but no one can steal it away from us if we choose to seek it in Him who is our source of peace!

Life can get challenging, for sure, but we can choose to be grateful, seeking our joy by remaining cheerful and life-giving in the Lord. If we recognize that He is always near to us, we can allow our souls to soak and rest in His loving peace. By being thankful, our gratitude permeates and changes our mode of operations so that our thoughts and lives become ones of thanksgiving and prayer, lifting up and giving life to those who are around us. What makes us humans and believers is our consideration of one another, especially our care for each other through prayer and the willingness to embrace one another above our differences. Even though it is very tempting to shut off those we do not agree with, we can learn to grow in loving patience for them just as God is always has been for us. This is how we can be there for one another, to lift each other up and lead the other person to Christ Jesus without shunning them away, hurting them at will, or going toward the point of no longer feeling remorseful because we are no longer being considerate and caring of others. By our kindness and gratitude, we become more grounded in God because we recognized how blessed we are and how merciful He has been for us, We, then, can return the gift and put into practice what we have received from the Almighty.