We have always approach consulting and teaching as a public life venture, and we have done so with an honest sense of hope. Thus, we have shared with many friends, students, colleagues and customers the need to overcome, in any context or reality, a very dangerous dilemma: The more we interpret public life as an arena for combat, the more combative and less compassionate the public life will be.
As a practicing Christian I have always made the case for a kind of compassionate public life psychology, and have always argue that one of the best attribute of a contemporary leader is that of breaking the vicious cycle of self-fulfilling prophecies such as fearing violence and preparing to engage into violence, thus increasing the livelihood that the worst will happen; Schools and universities while teaching of the need of creating a more cooperative society, educate youngsters to compete for rank and status, thus denying the vision of a peaceful environment or culture a chance. We should all see through this misleading logic of self-defeat.
The Christian calling for a better public life is to truly work for the possibility of compassion in the world of suffering and pain. Some clarifications are in order. Compassion is not offered in the expectation that it will be returned. Unfortunately, love is not always met with love. Nevertheless, the called is to love in the midst of hate, even knowing that sometimes hate seemed to conquer. But Christians also know that things are not always what they seem, and that God’s grace continues to act in and through the most difficult and destructive situations.
There is no way to experience joy until one has known the depths of sorrow. There is no way to find a place to stand until one has fallen through. We will never see the light until we have known darkness. Here is the beauty of this paradox: our LOVE can lead us into suffering, but that suffering can lead us into even greater LOVE…
This paradox is a great mystery of faith. Human love is often based on pragmatic calculations (bringing about some desired results) or on romantic assumptions (evoking love in return). As me learn that true love does not work that way, as we begin to understand the dialectic of love, crucifixion, and resurrection, we often experiences a “performance failure”… We lack the faith that suffering can be overcome by the love’s power given to us…
As we are willing to lose our lives for Christ sake, God’s love flows through us to turn any loss into gain, defeat into victory, death into life for ourselves and for others. Christianity did not invent suffering! With respect and humbleness, we can say that it is a kind of pathology to live as if pain did not exist. It is not so much a matter of taking on unnecessary pain, but to identify with the pain others feel.
It is more than humane to practice “soft” compassion in a “hard” world; it is divine.
Copyright 2007 QBS, Inc.