Rebuilding on revolutionary love
Each of us experiences devastation and desperation at one point or another in our lives. Valued friendships disintegrate. Marriages fall apart. Homes are broken. Businesses get bankrupt. Typhoons ravage natural and built environments. Debilitating illnesses decimate dreams. Wars destroy flourishing towns and cities.
When everything seems lost, we reel. How can we rebuild with all these broken pieces? Is there life to rebuild, after all? Not a few even blame God for their misfortune.
Most ministers tell us that life’s troubles are either a test of our faith or a consequence of our misguided choices. God understands it when we grieve, feel bitter and angry. But He does not want us to wallow in negative emotions or seek revenge because these only lead to further destruction.
There is a time for everything, says the Book of Ecclesiastes: “a time to weep and a time to laugh … a time for war and a time for peace … a time to tear down and a time to build …”
Rebuilding from the ruins—whether the devastation is physical or emotional—can be a long and arduous process. It is also a time of survival, of learning and of growing. And no matter how trying it is, rebuilding can prove to be a gratifying process when it is done on a foundation called revolutionary love.
The first requirement of revolutionary love is forgiveness. It may sound unthinkable especially for those who have suffered untold oppression and injustice, but it frees them from a consuming and self-destructive need for revenge. When wrongdoers refuse to admit guilt and to ask for forgiveness, revolutionary love gives the victim the grace to pray for them—that in time they would repent and have a change of heart. By counting on divine justice, we can move on and work for positive changes—in ourselves, in our families, and in our communities.
“Souls reconstructed with faith transform agony into peace,” wrote the American poet Aberjhani (Jeffery J. Lloyd ) in “The River of Winged Dreams.” Since the 9/11 tragedy, Aberjhani has supported humanitarian causes and advocated creative and culture-oriented resolutions to conflicts brought about by warfare and terrorism.
How can we apply revolutionary love to rebuilding devastated communities?
From my own perspective as an ordinary citizen, the steps must involve guiding and helping the people live the best life available to them as they go through, and emerge from, suffering.
Along with physical rebuilding, there must be resolute and concerted effort among the government, schools, soldiers and policemen, entrepreneurs, developers and builders, church organizations, and all others who are concerned with peace-building to restore the dignity of the people and their trust in government and society. This will enable them to start fresh with renewed vision, perseverance, resilience and a capacity to adapt to radical changes.
Revolutionary love calls upon government leaders to set aside their political agenda and cooperate in providing the people not only with urgent health and psychosocial services, livelihood opportunities, basic infrastructure and rehabilitation facilities, but also with a calming sense of security and protection from repeated attacks both from without and from within.
The education of the children needs to be addressed with a keen awareness of the impact of devastation on their impressionable minds. Of crucial importance is peace education covering values formation, life skills in good human relations, respect for different cultures and religions, and responsible citizenship.
The media can do their share in building morale, mending relations and minimizing political conflicts by promoting peace journalism, which involves accurate and circumspect news reporting and positively transformative analysis.
In times of crisis and devastation, bringing revolutionary love with prayer power to the rebuilding process may sound wistful and religiose, but in time we may all realize that it is the only way to a new beginning. It can move us to align our rebuilding plans with the purpose of the Great Builder and accept that sometimes, we have to let go of the life we’ve wanted to discover a better life that God has planned for us.
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Prosy Badiola Torrechante once worked for a government corporation that offered livelihood skills training through schools-on-the-air.
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