The recent hostage crisis still hogs the headlines, takes up a lot of the media time, and seems to be most everyone’s favorite topic of conversation, either for or against, with many unsolicited comments on what should or should not have been done, who is or is not guilty, citing logical or illogical reasons depending on whose side one is on. And as always in any tragedy the penchant for Filipino humor springs forth. The latest one that I just got via text (unknown sender) is this: Don’t you know that SWAT means “Sorry, walang akong training!” I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry at the truth in that text.
A crisis arises when there exists a conflict. And we must admit that conflicts seem to be norm in our society today. Just read the daily newspapers – even the Sports pages and the Entertainment pages abound with one kind or another conflict. With every conflict there are unlimited questions, rationalizations, finger-pointing, blame accusations – we see some or all of these whenever something doesn’t go the way we think it should.
Life happens all around us; we are part of life, conflicts are part of life. And in one’s life there can be many instances of being in a hostage-type situation. Being a hostage means relinquishing your control over the situation and/or over yourself and investing your time and resources in something or with someone else to the detriment of yourself and, many times, your loved ones.
For instance, one can be a hostage to power politics, to drugs or alcohol, or to a bad relationship, or to gluttony, greed, casino gambling, or to the dark whims of your barkada, to internet surfing, to pornography. One can be a hostage to fears, guilt, desire for revenge, shyness, chizmiz, work (as in workaholicism), laziness, prejudices, and the list can go on and on.
We are always faced with positives and negatives. Even nature thrives on conflict. Look at the smallest part of life, the atom, composed of positive and negative electrons that constantly repel one another. But nature has persevered throughout the ages due to its ability to achieve balance between its conflicting forces resulting in life-giving equilibrium, in life-enhancing peace.
Likewise, we need to bring nature’s sense of life-giving balance into our lives, working to attain a judicious balance between conflict and peace, between the positives and negatives, by letting the negatives stimulate us to better ourselves and the positives to dynamically encourage us to go on and progress in our life journey.
As Christians we espouse peace. Jesus often speaks of peace, while at the same time, telling us that, yes, there will be difficulties and conflicts. Are we ever really prepared for a conflict or tragedy to happen in our lives or the lives of our loved ones? How does one train and prepare for something like a family crisis, business failure, death of a loved one, a debilitating illness, loss of one’s hearing or eyesight, a kidnapping or hostage crisis?
This recent hostage incident thrusts to the forefront of our consciousness the need for a good foundation of Christian values, moral ethics and conflict preparedness implanted in the life of every person, from childhood through adulthood, to enable us to cope with whatever hostage situation or crisis we are confronted with. I believe we need to discipline and continually train ourselves to see the good in every situation (Romans 8:28) and to work for peace to offset any adverse effects that may result from our hostage situations.
Jesus tells us that we must actively work for peace (Matthew 5:9) if we want to be called children of God. But we cannot have true peace in our hearts and our lives by being mere bystanders, by just pointing fingers at others, by blaming others for what is happening in our lives. So, brothers and sisters, let’s not wait for a hostage conflict to attack us; we must take appropriate action now.