The art of gradualness

WE NEED to have a good understanding on this art of gradualness. With our times getting more complicated and the discussions and exchanges on several concerns getting more controversial and conflictive, we should truly learn the art of gradualness.

We should try our best to avoid getting too hardened in our views and opinions, too quick in making judgments and in finding fault in the views of others, and too strident in voicing our points. These would only lead us nowhere but to undesirable destructive effects and worse consequences.

Nowadays, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, we can easily follow discussions of several political, social, religious issues, etc. not only locally but also internationally. It’s indeed a great blessing to enjoy this development.

But it cannot be denied either that in this sphere the tone of the discussion is generally marked by dissonance and divisiveness. The air created is getting increasingly toxic and unbearable. We need to do something about it.

Why don’t we learn to slow down a bit, tone down our voices, listen more to others, and do some more study, reflection and amicable consultations before we proceed with our ideas?

The main problem, I think, is that many of us prefer to dominate others, to score points, to sound right and superior to others. We hardly give any regard to the need for understanding and compassion, asserting our views with restraint and utmost courtesy to everyone.

Let’s remember that where any trace of pride, arrogance, vanity, coercion is found in our statements, we can only elicit the same reactions from others. And from there, the slippery slope to vulgarity opens up.

Let’s learn the art of gradualness so we can better blend the requirements of truth and charity, justice and mercy, orthodoxy and tolerance. It enables us to better deal with the  realities of life where good and evil co-exist, where what is right and what is wrong will always be around.

It helps us to treat each other as persons, as friends, brethren, children of God even if we have different and even opposing positions. It would make us to be more accepting of everyone irrespective of who and how they are.

Of course, this art of gradualness does not mean that there is no right and wrong in our views, no fair and unfair treatment, or that what is true is false, what is authentic is fake, or that there are no absolute and relative things in life.

But it will surely involve discipline, effort, self-denial, patience, sacrifice, magnanimity. We have to be ready to face being misunderstood and even mistreated. We have to be ready to follow the example of Christ who in the words of St. Peter: “Did not retaliate when they heaped abuse on him, made no threats when he was made to suffer, but entrusted himself to his Father who judges justly.” (1 Pt 2, 23)

When we have to express our views, let us do it, of course, with clarity and some forcefulness but always in charity, in an amenable, meek and humble tone. We have to have a good grip on our emotions and passions. Anger should be avoided.

When things seem to lead to a flashpoint, it would be better to back off for a while. This may be humanly considered as a sign of weakness or capitulation even. But for sure in the eyes of God, who is the ultimate judge, it can only mean that we are following his will and way rather than those of ours and of the world.

This art of gradualness will certainly identify us more with Christ rather than to keep us to our own animal selves. That’s what happens when we detach ourselves from Christ. There may be some rationality involved, but in the end we become more an animal than a child of God./PN

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