Violence and becoming a neighbor

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By Arnold Van Vugt

The Living Spirit

Sunday, May 18, 2014

OUR world today is full of violence. It is violence all over the place.

There is violence in the Central African Republic, in the Ukraine, in Syria and others. These are countries which are in chaos because of violence. People are victims of violence. The dead bodies of the victims are often counted but suffering of the survivors leaves deep scars in their lives but scars also remain in the relationships of the communities in which they live. Communities are torn apart.

Families which have been living together peacefully for ages become all of a sudden aware that they are different from each other and they become strangers to each other. All of a sudden there are many reasons that they start hating each other. Here in Mindanao we have experienced with our brothers and sisters in the mountains and also with our Moslem brothers and sisters in the South.


You need a lot of courage not to let yourself be drawn into these conflicts and not to go along with these trends of violence and hatred. As Christians we must be ingenious and find ways to continue cooperating with each other in community projects. Like Christ we must be peacemakers in the community. This, too, may create victims but these are martyrs for the cause of Christian peace like our Lord Jesus Christ became a martyr.

Many foreign missionaries have acted that way, in other countries like Africa and South America but also here in the Philippines like Father Tulio Favali and others.

I wish to end this column with a prayer.

Prayer of the neighbor
You came on my way
you came to sit beside me
you became my quest at table
you came to live beside me.

I did not choose you
you did not choose me
I was so different
different as a stranger
I was for you
a stranger and different.

I looked at you from my point of view
I kept my heart closed
as a stranger you came on my way
as a stranger I came on your way.

We became neighbors
more and more we got an open eye for each other
to become neighbor often starts in a strange way
and… unasked for.

Lord God teach us to be peacemakers like your Son Jesus Christ.



Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on May 18, 2014.


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