BIZLINKS - Rey Gamboa - The Philippine Star

As the war in Ukraine enters its eighth week, more than 4.5 million of its citizens have fled to neighboring countries and about a quarter of its 41-million strong population have been displaced.

The attack by Russian forces on Ukraine on Feb 24 is now considered to date the biggest territorial conflict of the 21st century. A product of disagreement, conflict can be traced to almost all aspects of life. Conflicts can escalate from a mere exchange of harsh words to the use of weapons, which can lead to destruction of properties and even loss of lives.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his belief that Ukraine is part of a historical Soviet Union, has mounted an intrusive campaign to regain control of “lost lands” despite the fact that Ukraine now has its own Constitution and government, and where its population no longer recognizes the need to become a Russian satellite.

In similar cases, conflicts are deep seated, spanning centuries that involve territorial wars and aggressive maneuvers between countries, or involving generations of families when protecting wealth and property, and even in retaliation of the loss of human dignity and life.

Thus, we repeatedly hear the defeatist statement that we are only human, and accept that our frailties breed quarrels that, when not resolved peacefully, eventually leads to an escalation from mere grudges to more damaging actions.

Our better side

On the other hand, we take pride that we are humans whose very existence reflects dignity, compassion, generosity, and understanding. While we understand the inevitability of conflicts, we recognize that there are also ways to resolve them without losing the better side of our humanity.

While some conflicts, like that of the Ukraine war, may already prove to be beyond the scope of peaceful resolution, many instances in our daily lives still allow us to take the initiative in demonstrating that disagreements can be resolved peacefully.

During this Lenten week, let us take advantage of a long four-day weekend to hone our abilities to resolve conflicts that could pave the way for us to maintaining a harmonious relationship with others, and even our own self.

Taking stock of our own limitations is a good way to start. Do you have a short temper? Recognizing and acting on this weakness allows one to walk away from a situation where conflict may arise and to tackle it through other means.

Preparing oneself

Empathize. One of the best ways in avoiding conflict is to listen and genuinely understand what the other party is saying. Putting oneself in the other’s shoes gives one a better insight on what the other party is talking about or where he is coming from.

Facilitate. Ask questions that shed light to what is being discussed. Being genuinely seen as in search of the right answer puts everyone at ease and effectively sets the tone for a discussion of issues that seeks to find a solution.

Empower. Helping everyone to arrive at the right conclusions on their own rather than imposing on others your own views provides for a friendlier environment that leads to early resolution of a discussion.

Keep your dignity. You can agree to disagree without raising animosity in a discussion. At the end of the day, when all the arguments have been laid out even if an acceptable solution cannot be agreed on, everyone can walk away without losing an ounce of dignity.

Who knows, someone who was able to master the ability to douse conflict may have saved one country from being ravaged by bombs, artillery, and soldiers with a conscience.

Fervent prayers

Lent is also a time for fervent prayer, offering up those conflicts that have escalated to a point that seems humanly impossible to resolve. The communion of many calling for the Divine intercession is a soothing balm to anxieties and sufferings.

Such prayers are not only called on to intercede in conflicts like wars, but also personal demons like vanity, greed, self-righteousness, false pride, selfishness, bitterness, anger, and many other sins that eat at our dignity as human beings.

Just as we take a break to reinvigorate our health, we need time to purge our souls of the weeds that choke our will to live as Christians who believe in God and His goodness.

Elections are less than a month away, and for those who will vote, let us pray for our nation’s future. May we have wise leaders who will genuinely seek ways to improve the lives of our many impoverished countrymen.

Finally, prayers are in order for a world that is increasingly falling into strife, of countries attacked by external aggressors or suffering from internal conflicts.

Keep safe

After two Lenten seasons when the nation had to contend with online observances of masses, novenas, and devotions to the stations of the cross, the current pandemic’s low alert level, coupled with a high rate of vaccination has opened church doors to its devotees.

No doubt, churches will be full in the next few days. While the pandemic has not been declared over, Filipinos can no longer be contained to online reflections and prayers. Be that the case, some precautions must continue to be heeded.

Mask wearing is still regarded as the best foil when indoors where people congregate. Minding your distance from others who are strangers is also advisable. Let’s continue to be safe. Have a blessed and enlightening Holy Week.

Facebook and Twitter

We are actively using two social networking websites to reach out more often and even interact with and engage our readers, friends and colleagues in the various areas of interest that I tackle in my column. Please like us on www.facebook.com/ReyGamboa and follow us on www.twitter.com/ReyGamboa.

Should you wish to share any insights, write me at Link Edge, 25th Floor, 139 Corporate Center, Valero Street, Salcedo Village, 1227 Makati City. Or e-mail me at [email protected]. For a compilation of previous articles, visit www.BizlinksPhilippines.net.


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