Michelle: Luis, who works as a call center agent, shared that his father abandoned them when he was just seven years old. His brother was only three at that time. Technically, his mother is still married to his father. But she is currently living in with a very kind man who truly loves them. He took over the role of dad and head of the family like they are his own. And it bothers him how society still seems to frown on such a set-up. Since he was a kid, nuns and priests have told him that his mother and step-dad are living in sin. He is asking us what our view on this is.
DJ: Cohabitation, as commonly defined, is an arrangement where two people who are not married live together. No contract binds such set-up, thus the notion that it’s only temporary and risky to a family’s well-being. While Luis did not exactly share the reason why his folks are not married, I assume it’s because of his mother’s wedlock to his biological dad. Yes, I do believe that marriage is the ideal form of relationship to raise a family. But I also think it is only God who truly knows what’s inside people’s hearts. I have my own brokenness just as Luis’ folks and am therefore in no position to pass judgment.
M: I would like to believe that in this case, it is not just the Church that is judgmental but society as a whole. And the reason why this is so is the set of rules that governs not just our civil rights but also religious rights and obligations. Luis’ stepfather’s kindness notwithstanding, the fact remains that he is cohabiting with a married woman. While it is true that there was abandonment by a spouse, nothing has been done to cure the legal impediment that stops Luis’ mother and his stepfather from getting married. So my view on this is to try to be more kind and understanding on each of our circumstances.
DJ: It is easy to criticize others when we forget that we have weaknesses, too, just as everyone has strengths. Being too busy keeping score of the flaws of others only blinds us to our own. Of course, it won’t hurt if he’ll encourage his folks to present a case for annulment and then take it from there. But I think it’s best for him not to dwell so much on what people think and invest more of his time and energy on becoming a loving person not only to his family but also to his workmates and to those whose paths he’ll cross.
M: Lent is a good time to reflect on many things that have been going on in our lives that we have taken for granted. That is why it is good to remember to look into ourselves first before we start judging others. We do not have a right to comment on the problems happening to others when we have not fixed our own yet. If we ask for forgiveness, we have to learn first to be forgiving.
DJ: The world is already getting more complex each day. And if we zoom in on our efforts on bringing more smiles to others, then we’re part of the solution instead of adding more to the problem. Easter is about newness. It’s cool if we make loving others as our focus today and moving forward, and to leave the judging to someone who loves us and who truly knows what’s best for us.