When we are in conflict, what do we need to do? We can deduce an answer from the way Jesus deals with the woman who has sinned and her accusers.
First: pause (silence),
Second, think from your perspective,
Third, think from the other person's perspective,
Fourth, express yourself and embrace the conflict and look at the other person with loving compassion and forgiveness.
In today's gospel, when the woman who had been caught in adultery was brought to Jesus, He listened to the accusations, paused in silence, and invited them to look within their own hearts for their own sins. Then He asked the woman a question, listened to her answer, forgave her, and told her not to sin again. Jesus is always willing to forgive. He always gives a second chance to people who are humble and willing to start afresh. The only people with whom He gets angry are the self-righteous ones.
So, what can families today learn from this? Pope Francis says,
"There is no perfect family. We do not have perfect parents; we are not perfect; we do not marry a perfect person or have perfect children. We have complaints from each other. We disappoint each other. There is no healthy marriage or healthy family without the exercise of forgiveness. Forgiveness is vital to our emotional and spiritual health and spiritual survival. Without forgiveness, the family becomes an arena of conflict and a stronghold of hurt.”
We may choose to bring out the worst in one another. Or we may bring out the best in one another. We may forgive, even as we hope to be forgiven. We may put ourselves in the shoes of others and ask what we would wish to be done to us, and thought of us, were we in their place.
So next time when you are going through conflict and find it hard to forgive, I would invite you, to pause for a moment, think from your perspective, then try tothink from the other person's perspective, and finally embrace the conflict and think of the other person with compassion and forgiveness. Following these will help us to love whatever is lovable in those around us; love will flow back from them to us, and we shall become worthy followers of Him whose Name is Love.
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About Father Pinto Paul, C.S.C.
Father Pinto Paul C.S.C., ordained a priest in the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1999, worked with tribal populations in northeast India as a missionary for ten years. In 2010 he came to the US for further studies. While working as a campus minister at Stonehill College, he assisted pastors in local parishes, led seminars and workshops for teachers and students in the US and earned a master’s degree in Educational Administration from Boston College and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Lesley University, Cambridge. He is currently working as the International Director of the Boston-based Holy Cross Family Ministries with missions in 17 countries.