The common life of cooperation and interaction between two believers, or between the bishop or priest and the layman cannot be founded but on confidence. The first assumption is that the person you are dealing with is honest and does not seek to hurt you. This enables you to deal with him properly. In the first place, you think no evil for “love thinks no evil”. Your confidence remains for a long time until you are unquestionably sure that the other behaved in a bad manner. Your wisdom shall guide you then so that you know how to deal with this new situation.
In our rural areas – some of which are characterized by narrow-mindedness – I have noticed a great deal of prudence among people. They conceive and stick to images of others based on a word of furor or negligence; and this explains the prevalence of distrust in our country, both rightly and wrongly. We ought to ask others about what we think are derelictions, mistakes or sins, and then forgive at once if the others blamed themselves. But, if there were no justification for interpreting others’ behaviors, our judgement would be unfair. To be deceived is a shock or prejudice for us. But, unfair judgments are spiritual disasters that disfigure the beauty of brotherhood in our souls. Injustice often comes along with gossiping and repression.
First and foremost, we tell our debtors frankly what they have done to us; and if they did not accept, we shall tell the church, that is, brothers who love us in Christ and have no interest. Most importantly, we shall not believe everything we hear. We need to prevent gossiping and defamation, verify what we hear and admonish the concerned person. Otherwise, the parish will be on fire and we will miss the chance to extinguish it.
The simplicity in Christ, as called by Paul, is to believe everything we hear until we are completely sure that it is a lie, and blame with humbleness. Humbleness is possible with pain. The spirit of the Christ does not imply getting furious if we were humiliated, but feeling sad for others because they have harmed themselves in the first place by their sins before harming us.
Just as we cannot judge a person based on our dreams, we also cannot judge him based on a bitter reality that appeared in us after many accumulated distresses. We shall not lose hope despite all our wounds. Each and every one is different, and one might not be like others who have treated us badly. We offer our confidence in the first place, and we welcome the person coming to us as if we were approaching a new dawn. He might be sent to us by God to confer consolations, kindness, or a tenderness that can do miracles.
Most of us conceive an erroneous image of the other. We think he is fierce, dishonest, avaricious, willing to weaken us; yet, he might not be. We are the prisoners of rumors spreading among us. If the bishop, for instance, abstained from attending a celebration; he might be sick or at another place. We ought to ask him about the reason rather than invent a myth that is likely to spread. The priest might not visit a new house during the Epiphany season, and we rule out the possibility of him not knowing about the new house or not knowing that we live there. Our communities are full of suspicions. We need to get rid of gossiping and erroneous assumptions nourished by one family about another and keeping us prisoners of mistaken suspicions. The sons of someone might be better than their father, so why would we treat them in an unjust manner and keep the gap between two families?
A new priest can be better than his predecessor, so why would we make him bear the burden of the latter? The parish board can also be better than the previous one, so why would the new members be responsible for the actions of the old ones? All this would change should we have deep love for the Lord.
Translated by Amani Haddad
Original Text: 09.02.92 – “الثقة والرجاء”Continue reading