Praying Mentis

A Laymen's Journey into the Catholic faith.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Dark Side

So today's topic is conflict resolution and Catholics or... The Dark Side! I want to discuss one method of conflict resolution that isn’t used enough, plain simple silence. Father Qui-Thac had a homily about its powerful effects a couple weeks ago, I just thought I would make a post on it because I was kinda forced into using it a few weeks ago. 

There are some people that are just more difficult to get along with in this world. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of good people too   but, there are people who are set in their ways. Seemingly unchangeable, annoying, punks, who are enchanted with -1 to forgiving, and would never show mercy. (See below)

These are people (or space aliens) that cannot be reasoned with-- the ones that no matter how much you do for them, they will eventually hate you forever based off some arbitrary reason. This arbitrary reason in their mind will be a violation of common sense. (I mean I am sure that everyone has done this sometime in their lifetime...This is not to say that Catholics don't do it too.) I think this eventually happens to people who don’t realize that in order to love someone, it is absolutely necessary for you to tolerate at least some parts of them that irritate you.

Some base this off of scriptures, saying we can judge others... But I have yet to have found scriptures that support that view. 

"But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister  will be subject to judgment." (Matthew 5:5-7)

You will be subject to judgement because in your heart you have put them on the level of a thing, an object to be mad at... Its just like what the United States did when we went to war with Germany. Hamburgers were named after a city in Germany, but that was suspended and named, for a time, Salisbury steak. Why? Dehumanization of an enemy. Last time I checked this is not (in most scenarios anyways) a virtue.

Jesus never responded to any conflict with an eye for an eye, or justice, solution. When Peter struck the guard and cut off his ear, Jesus stopped him. Why? When Peter said that he would not let anything happen to Jesus what happened? Jesus actually got angry with Peter. He was stopping him from saving the world! When Judas betrayed Jesus, did he even rebuke Judas? No, he rebuked Peter. Imagine that you are standing by Jesus and you are watching as the guards strike at him… wouldn’t you attack them? Wouldn’t you do all you could to protect Jesus? Isn’t that justice?

In order to answer why Jesus did this we only have to look at the scriptures, 
for God so loved the world, he gave his only son.”  (John 3:16)
He loved the world and so he made a sacrifice. Why was the sacrifice necessary? Because of Sin. What is sin? Sin is evil. This is the legendary question, why does evil exist? God does not want to destroy evil but save it:

While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”On hearing this, Jesus said to them,   “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”(Mark 2:15-17)
When you add yeast to bread, the yeast makes the entire loaf rise. Or for food that might taste bland you would add salt to increase the flavor of the entire meal. Evil exists because God loves the world so much that he doesn’t want to destroy it, but instead convert it. So, how should we go about conflict resolution?

There is something about watching a clear cut battle between good vs evil that sparks that "Aha!" moment within us where we can see good. We see a tyrant besides a humble, life giving servant, then we can then see which is right and which is wrong. But then there comes the question, how do we approach conflict when it comes our way? Many of us today see another performing a, “evil” deed and then, approach it with what some describe as righteous anger.

"Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God" (James 1:19–20, ESV)

If someone else hurts you, you shouldn’t try to hurt them back.  You should try to restore their soul, or have we learned at all from Jesus’ example on the cross? I am pretty sure, last time i checked anyways, that killing someone on a cross is something that should be punished by death… but… ironically the opposite happened. Assuming that others should receive justice for their sins and you should receive forgiveness for yours is a double standard. We need to love the person, accept them for who they are, and love them despite the fact that there are some issues we might have with them.

I just tried this hardcore, for the first time, because of my girlfriend. I am usually abit of a, "if you’re doing something wrong I should immediately point it out to the other person," type person. Abit judgemental I suppose. And, you know, it made me realize something. What would saying any words possibly do? Has anyone every persuaded another person with just words? No. Even Jesus taught by example, not just words. We need to provide an example to the secular, moral relativistic society today and show them how to fight fire! Which is not with fire-- I mean that doesn't even make sense-- but with water. =)


  1. Um, plenty of people have been convinced of things with just words...that's what every political campaign ever is about. I was convinced to become catholic based on logical, fact based argument. But you're right, we shouldn't judge blindly, especially since we're called to "remove the plank from our own eye" first!

    But you know, Jesus called the Pharisees vipers and sons of Hell, and threw the money-changers out of the temple. St. Paul criticized the Jews in their own synagogues. It's an intricate balance between truth and charity. Benedict XVI has a great encyclical on this, and all of St. Pius X's writings are great too.

    Jesus does want to destroy evil, but he wants to redeem mankind. Gotta remember that the two are different. :) Good blog!

  2. I agree with you that you shouldn't always be silent, and it shouldn't always be used, I just think its somewhat neglected. I think alot of times people want to have the last word in conflicts, or want to, "stick it to" the person they are talking with. But, I think Ephesians 4:29-32 puts it nicely:

    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

    "but only what is helpful for building others" Thats the thing, I think it takes alot of discernment in any given situation to find what is, "building for others." If that is your true motivation when you speak, I think that things should go well. I think the silence for me was more of a way to deal with someone who has alot of rage and anger with you in the moment, because it lets both parties to think through the situation. Silence is a way to get rid of bad emotion. Just to clarify, Silence should not be used for every situation lol... That would be horrible... And... it would make Catholics lose every political debate ever.

  3. I just realized something... How is destroying evil and redeeming mankind different? Isn't evil what makes mankind unredeemed? Oh, by the way thanks for the comment James! =)

  4. Yes, but you said, Jesus wants to "save evil". I think you can understand how that's a little awkwardly phrased. :P

    And while anger is an issue that I have to work through, we should never be scared to say what Church teaching is...even if it's something like "sorry but gay people shouldn't get 'married'".