COMMON decency tells us not to gloat over the misfortunes of other people. In no uncertain terms, the book of Proverbs teaches the same: “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls. And don’t let your heart be glad when he stumbles.”
That was not the case lately. When former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was arrested last week at her hospital bed (that was rude), people were quick with their contempt, reproach, derision, and even ridicule. An online Manila publication even went ahead with a photoshop-done picture of Mrs. Arroyo in neck brace behind the slammer.
I still have to hear anybody, among Filipino-Americans in Los Angeles express sympathy with Mrs. Arroyo, who is widely perceived as the lead orchestrator in the alleged election irregularities in 2004 and 2007.
I understand that people make poor choices, but I can’t figure out why most people cannot empathize with the mistakes of others. It blows my mind when I hear people, who claim to be ministers of the Gospel, delight in cutting down other people. I am not self-pontificating, but this I say: I don’t gain satisfaction gloating at the failures of other people. That explains why I enjoy the sports pages of the newspapers much more than the front-page headline news. The front page of the newspaper usually carries the failures of people; while the sports page chronicles the triumphs of men.
It makes a lot of sense that we should pray for rather than condemn people who make mistakes. The reason is that if we point our finger at anybody, three of those fingers point directly back to us. My point is that, we are erratic human beings temporarily living in an imperfect world. Verily, I say, anybody of us can be in that ugly fix where Mrs. Arroyo is at right now. The circumstances may be different, but the humiliation, shame and disgrace will be essentially the same. No matter how we want to live a perfect, stress-free life, it is not just going to happen. Not even the most privileged person can do away with unpleasant realities. Always, we will run into institutions, bureaucracy, and other situations that can make life and living unsettling, if downright miserable…
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