Live and let live

This verse encourages all of us to seek peace and live in harmony with others. While we can’t control everything, we can control our own words, actions, and conduct to encourage peace. It is important to be at peace with everyone, even if it is difficult.

Jun 30, 2023

Romans 12:18
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone

This verse encourages all of us to seek peace and live in harmony with others. While we can’t control everything, we can control our own words, actions, and conduct to encourage peace. It is important to be at peace with everyone, even if it is difficult. True Christian love means blessing others always and not cursing them.

These days, it is so disturbing to see that all it takes is a tiny spark to create controversy especially in matters related to race, creed, political beliefs and religion.

Scrolling through postings on social media, it is scary to read some of the comments posted in response, always bordering along racial and religious lines, even if it is just a discussion on politics.

While we always blame politicians for playing the divide and rule game to suit their own ends, I can say that most of us are equally guilty of stereotyping people according to their ethnicity or religious beliefs.

We have seen many families breakup over political and religious differences.

When one of my siblings married a Muslim 30 years ago, I was surprised when it was my mom who first accepted my sister’s choice to marry outside our ethnicity and religion. Coming from a very Catholic background, my mom’s words still ring in my ears until today.

“How can I deny her choice of a life partner when I allowed all of you to choose your own? Whatever happens, it is her choice and not for us to deny her that right,” was my mom’s response.

My mom’s foresight has indeed been a blessing as today we are a truly multi-racial and multi- religious family. We have family members who celebrate Hari Raya, Chinese New Year, Deepavali and Christmas and it has been a learning curve for all of us, including our children and grandchildren to respect and learn more about each other’s cultural, traditional and religious beliefs.

Hence, my topic for today “Live and let live”, promoting tolerance, acceptance, and peaceful coexistence. It suggests that individuals should respect and allow others to live their lives according to their own choices and beliefs, as long as they are not harming or infringing upon the rights of others.

This phrase is often used to encourage people to adopt a non-judgmental and open-minded attitude towards others, recognising that diversity and individual differences are natural and should be embraced rather than criticised or suppressed. It implies that people should focus on their own lives and well-being rather than interfering with or trying to control the lives of others.

It is a call for tolerance, understanding, and the celebration of diversity in all its forms.

The Catholic Church, like many religious traditions, has its own teachings and principles regarding how individuals should live their lives. While the phrase “live and let live” is not explicitly used in Catholic doctrine, the Church promotes principles such as respect for human dignity, social justice, and the common good, which can be related to the idea of allowing others to live according to their own choices and beliefs.

Catholic social teaching emphasises the importance of recognising and respecting the rights and freedoms of others, as well as promoting a just and harmonious society. It encourages individuals to live virtuous lives, guided by the principles of love, compassion, and charity towards others.

At the same time, the Catholic Church also upholds certain moral and ethical teachings based on its understanding of natural law and divine revelation. These teachings provide guidance on various aspects of life, including issues such as human sexuality, the sanctity of life, and social justice concerns.

While the Church may have specific moral teachings, it also recognises the freedom of individuals to make their own choices and decisions. The Catholic perspective emphasises the importance of dialogue, understanding, and respect for diverse viewpoints, even when there are differences of opinion or disagreement on certain moral issues.

Ultimately, the Catholic approach encourages individuals to live their own lives in accordance with their conscience while striving to promote the well-being of others and contribute to a just and loving society.

The Church also acknowledges and respects the existence of other religions and their followers. Over the years, the Church has developed its teachings on interreligious dialogue, understanding, and cooperation.

The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) brought significant changes to the Church’s approach towards other religions. The document Nostra Aetate (In Our Time) specifically addresses the Church’s relation to non-Christian religions. It promotes dialogue and mutual respect between Catholics and followers of other religious traditions.

According to Nostra Aetate, the Church recognises the truth and goodness present in other religions. It acknowledges that different religious traditions often strive for a deeper understanding of life's meaning, the mystery of God, and the ethical values that guide human behaviour.

The Catholic Church encourages its members to engage in dialogue with followers of other religions, with the aim of promoting mutual understanding, peace, and cooperation for the common good. Interreligious dialogue is seen as an opportunity to learn from one another, build bridges, and work together to address shared challenges such as poverty, injustice, and environmental issues.

At the same time, the Catholic Church maintains its belief in the uniqueness and fullness of revelation in Jesus Christ. It teaches that Christ is the ultimate source of salvation and that the Church has a mission to proclaim the Gospel to all nations. However, this does not imply a rejection or disregard for the spiritual and ethical values found in other religious traditions.

In summary, the Catholic Church encourages respect for other religions, promotes interreligious dialogue, and recognises the importance of cooperation and understanding among different religious communities while upholding its own faith and teachings.

My fervent hope and prayer is that the politicians in Malaysia will wise up, and stop using religious and ethnic lines to score brownie points with voters.

(Regina William is an ex journalist turned head of communications, now full-time grandmother to three, criss crossing the globe to play the role. She can be reached at

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