Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Working for a Win/Win Situation

Recently much has been made of the Gap-Eul culture (see May 26 blog).  Even comedians are finding ways of getting the words into their routines, says the Catholic Times writer in his View from the Ark. The current understanding, seen as natural,  of the words ascribes being strong (having an advantage others don't have) with the word Gap, and being weak (lacking an advantage in any confrontational situation) with the word Eul, our writer believes this understanding to be woefully misleading.

No one is questioning, he says, that society is made up of individuals who are often described as weak and strong participants in our society, but we should not forget the win-win possibilities, one of the ways to build a healthy society. Otherwise, the weak tend to be oppressed by the  strong, and the law of the jungle prevails.

Recent incidents where the Gap (the strong) have oppressed the Eul (the weak) have angered many, leading to demands to remedy the situation. But law is not the answer for this type of abuse, says the columnist. We should rather look at ourselves and see where we have played the part of the Gap and used others to our advantage. He points out the example of Jesus, who was the Gap of Gaps and yet he accepted the role of the Eul.  Guided by this example, the writer suggests six ways for persons who are in a Gap position to overcome the temptation to take advantage of their position.

First: When someone asks for help, I can give it or not. This is my Gap position, but since as a Christian I have the duty to love, which is a debt I can't fully repay, this makes me a Eul.

Second: When people ask for my opinion or advice, I can consider myself Gap because of the trust they place in me. But remembering that wisdom comes from God makes me a Eul. 

Third: If I have a position in society with some authority, receiving respect that comes with the position, that makes me a Gap. But realizing that as a Christian I'm obligated to love my neighbor as myself, I know that when another is suffering I too am suffering, this makes me a Eul. Fourth: When I have received help and have paid out money for the help, the work done, I am a Gap, but to remember that without that help it would have been difficult to live the way I do, making me thankful and respectful to those who have helped me, this makes me a Eul.

Fifth: When I have money at my disposal to use the way I want, I am a Gap, but when I remember those who have difficulty living well, often not getting enough to eat, this makes me a Eul. Sixth: Thinking I can use what I have in the way I want makes me a Gap; when I realize all is a gift, this makes me a Eul.

Above all, when I remember I am God's child and friend and the temple of the Holy Spirit, I'm teaching what it is to have the blessings of a Gap. And when I live as a Eul, admonishing myself, lowering and behaving circumspectly, and asking especially from  the Holy Spirit for the gift of awe, I'm teaching what it is to have the blessings of a Eul. Both qualities are needed, both blessings help us to become the whole persons we were meant to be.