Editor's Note: Bishop Pablo Virgilio David originally wrote this piece in December 2017. Rappler is republishing this, with his permission, as a reflection piece for Holy Week 2018.
In these very violent times, even as we might sympathize with victims who, out of desperation, are inclined to resort to violent means of redress, knowing how cruelty breeds cruelty, how aggression provokes aggression, how violence begets violence, let us stand our ground and work consistently for truth, justice, and human dignity – but always in a nonviolent way.
Let us never allow ourselves to be motivated by anger or hatred, resentment, revenge, or the instinct to retaliate or return evil for evil.
Let us believe in the innate nobility of the human spirit. Let us not give evil the pleasure of having the last say, by always putting on check our tendency to hit back when we are hurt. Let us not allow the enemy to mold us into his own image and likeness.
Let us never call any human being intrinsically evil even when they commit the most unspeakable forms of depravity. For to do so is to ascribe evil to the God who created them.
Let us rather fight the evil that has the power to infiltrate what is by nature good in the human soul, especially when the soul is weak and prone to possession, as when a human body succumbs to a bacterial or a viral infection.
Let us arrest the disease right at its very onset, going out of our way to interrupt violence before it escalates and triggers an unstoppable avalanche.
We can do it, by attending with care and compassion to the healing of the victims of violence, as well as the conversion of its perpetrators, including the seemingly uninvolved fence-sitters.
We've had enough of bloodshed; we are sick and tired of violence and war. They profit nobody except the enterprising arms dealers whose marketing strategies include conflict-instigation and war-mongering.
Let us go for active nonviolence! Let us be ready to look at a violent person in the eye, always ready to reach out to the bruised and scared child underneath the armor and aggression of a stunted adolescent.
Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler
Let our only model be Jesus on the cross, who took the blows of his tormentors while praying to his Father to forgive them "for they know not what they do." Let our only exemplar be the God-man who chose to suffer and die than wish the suffering and death of his persecutors.
Let his resurrection be our weapon and shield, our guarantee of victory, our basis for faith in the God who alone can conquer evil with good. – Rappler.com