WE have to see to it that in considering a particular issue or an opinion or position expressed by some people, we should look first into the different angles from which these things spring and we listen to all sides.
That way, we can be more assured of getting a better and fairer picture of things. We should be wary of making judgments, no matter how tentative, and worse when they are made quite final, before we consider those angles.
We need to know where those issues and the people expressing their opinions are coming from. We have to consider the context and the perspectives within which people’s views and position are made.
We cannot deny that a certain convergence of circumstances can produce issues, and the way people are somehow determines the kind of views and opinions that they have. We always have our preferences and biases, not to mention that we are always subjected to many conditionings in our life.
We have different temperaments and backgrounds—cultural, historical, social, professional, etc.—and these certainly are factors that get involved into the making of our views and opinions.
To be able to consider the different angles and to have a more or less stable standard for judging issues and opinions, we have to realize that it is our union with God that would constitute as our fundamental guide.
And since this union is at best tenuous, considering our human condition, we have to realize that our judgments can only be tentative at best. To counter that condition, we really need to spend time praying, getting in touch with God and trying to be knowledgeable about all his teachings, and spiritually united with him especially in the recourse to the sacraments, so we can approximate the way God would consider those issues and opinions.
If need be, we may have to consult another person whom we can trust and who we think has the competence to guide us in a particular issue. This is part of prudence which should mark our judgments.
Let’s remember that that only when we are with God, that is, when we are spiritual and supernatural in our outlook, can we judge things properly. St. Paul said something relevant in this regard:
“The spiritual man judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor 2,15-16)
Having the “mind of Christ” is, of course, possible if we also do our part. That means we have to study his life and teachings for, after all, he is the “way, the truth and the life” for us.
We should refrain from making judgments of such absoluteness and definitiveness that they cannot stand any more modification and enrichment, revision or even rejection. Such judgments can only bring us unnecessary troubles.
There has to be a certain openness in our judgments. In this, it would help if we practice some degree of restraint and moderation in our judgments, a certain detachment from our own personal views.
Especially these days when we are bombarded with many issues and the possibilities of having differences and conflicts with others are multiplying, we need to be most aware of the need for restraint and moderation.
Let’s remember that in our discourse, we are not only dealing with ideas and arguments. We are dealing, first of all, with persons who have to be understood and loved no matter how wrong he may be in a certain issue. The value and the virtue that has to be given priority is charity, and not who is right and who is wrong.
Let’s do everything to promote the practice of considering the different angles before making any pronouncements and judgments over an issue or an opinion.