Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Posts tagged ‘judgement’

The Test of Love In A Speeding Taxi

It started from a promotion. It was followed by a debate.

It became a night of testing to our hearts.

As the taxi sped in the streets of EDSA, my friend Heidy was challenged when the taxi driver questioned our pastor’s principles. He questioned the idea of the unity of the trinity, yet he claims he believes in the Trinity of God.

Maan and I were then giggling at the back gushing on the play we watched that night. We then fell silent when the man began to discuss his distrust with various leaders of the church from different religions because of their “faultiness”.

The man, who questioned church leaders by saying that they should be judged, gave us a series of verses from the Bible. He did got them quite accurately except for a few. I was checking my YouVersion app in my phone.

But he insisted that everyone should be “judged” and the “judgement” “inside the church” is different from the kind of judgement to “those outside the church“. It was like saying that those who are “inside” their church are the ones to be saved. He is knowledgeable that Jesus died for our sin and claimed that he gave his life to God. But I don’t see any enlightenment as he insisted on the “judgement” given differently from those “inside” their church to the “outside”, summing up that to be “inside” their church is the way to be saved.

But he kept on saying “I am the way, the truth, and the life”. Maan asked him pointblank who said these words. He knew it was Jesus, but then still pointed again on the judgement of those inside and outside.

It was a tense moment in that taxi. I felt our journey was endless as I looked at the window to see where we were. Our hearts were challenged in speaking the truth to this taxi driver.

But most of all, it was challenge to our character.

One girl questioned him after another. We explained that Jesus died for us because of His love for us. And so, if we follow Him, we must love others as He did (and still does). But his argument always go back to the point of giving “judgement”. At some points, especially on the “love” portion, he would stop, but still try to bring up the “judgement” part.

Yes, there is judgement, but only the Lord has the right to judge rightly. The taxi driver was barely looking at himself as he points out that everyone should be judged. He obviously memorized some verses in the Word, but sadly, he has no revelation from the Holy Spirit. He knew them as legally and as contextually as they are.

But let me tell you that the Word and the Spirit go together. To memorize the Bible without the truth and wisdom of the Holy Spirit is futile. The Bible is one way to commune with the Father and the Son through His Spirit, not to be used for debates.

The discussion ended when we alighted at Ortigas. Maan was shaking, I was wearied, but Heidy spoke of parting words filled with a blessing.

Then the driver, despite all the religions he “judged”, admitted that he belonged to one religion that he did not mention in his earlier “judging”.

I contemplated on this as my bus sped the dark streets of EDSA. Then I realized that that moment was not only to challenge the taxi driver. It was a challenge for the three of us. I was blessed when Heidy told me later though a social website, “Praise God for His wisdom and gentle spirit…” Without it, we might have become a reason for the man to look more at the faults of his fellow man than the Lord Himself. What if I’ve shown the driver my rolling eyes through the rear mirror before alighting the car or I’ve banged the door just to show my disagreement to his “principles”. That’s not love. To react without a gentle spirit is pride.

We cannot force our enlightenment to another if we don’t love. Jesus loved unconditionally…and I’m sure He’s telling us to love this taxi driver even if we have parted ways. We three could have debated with him severely, but God is not calling us to force our principles into others. It is the Lord who will give the enlightenment. It is for us to be the light of the world by reacting righteously with unconditional love. We will always be challenged, but it is a testing on how to react with humility and love. When we do, this is a testimony of God’s love to the world and a way for His glory to be seen to those who had not known Him yet.

I was tempted to say to my friends, “This is the end of him, that taxi driver.” But, no! In such a way I was condemning him. I laid down myself to the Lord. “Oh, God, forgive me”, I whispered in the bus. I had been in the dark before. Who am I to completely condemn those in the dark?

So, how should we love? We already did our part that night, I believe. But I believe it made us see how these people need to be prayed for. Perhaps, it’s time that we get on our knees again and pray, not only for this man, but for those who have not seen the Lord Himself. Truth is, we can only do so much…but it is the Lord who will make the way if we seek His face, pray, and ask Him to intervene and touch every lives that we have encountered. 🙂

And indeed…I have been tested again. More tests to come. I pray, that I and my friends will just submit to the Lord at such moments. We are never perfect yet, let us love…and through this love may more see Your love to them, Lord…

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Casting the First Stone (and a bit of a movie reflection from “The Mistress”)

I find that my movie night out with a friend last Friday was so unusual. I’m no cheezy romantic, but for the sake of destressing from our normal reality, we watched “The Mistress”. Believe me, this is the first time I watched a Pinoy romance in cinemas. 🙂

The story begins with the pretty tailor Sari meeting the architect JD. And in order not to spoil the rest of the story, I’ll just run through to say there was an attraction, a pursuit, a surprise, a conflict and an ending (haha…because the point of this writing is not the John Llyod-Bea pair up).

The movie though, reflects one slice of reality. It made me think a lot on judging others and ourselves.

Bea Alonzo’s character, Sari, is not the typical selfish, villainous-type of mistress that was usually portrayed in traditional media. Her family’s breadwinner, she makes sure she could provide everything they need to survive. Despite of her simple and giving nature, no one would think of her as a mistress of Rico Torres, a rich, old tycoon and CEO of a huge telecom company…this one, of course, disappointed John Lloyd Cruz’s character, JD. Yet, after five years of being the other woman, she did not abuse the old man’s kindness, more so being spoiled.

So, who the victim here? Actually, all of us can be like Sari. It’s surprising how good people can hide some dark secrets. Shocking, but true. It’s easy to condemn the bearer of the closet when the skeleton inside jumps out. In this world though, we’re all prone to fall into deep sin…even the most “righteous” of people.

When JD asks Sari what if she had never met Rico Torres, and everything on earth is OK. When they close their eyes, it made them see themselves ending together. But then, Sari asks, “Pwede bang magkatotoo ang kunyari lang? (Can something we have pretended become a reality?)” That one choice she made turned her away from that one thing that she could have been hoping at that point in time.

We all have choices and no law stops us from picking the path we take. However, the consequence arrives at the end of the road. We can’t judge Sari for choosing to be a mistress just because she wanted to gain something. But she was trapped in the choice she had made. In the end, after all the conflict, she had to let go…as her affair ended in a tragic turn.

I find that there’s a little of Sari inside of us. We might be seen as good people and yet there are bits of secrets so dark that can turn off anybody when found out. We can be trapped in the choices that we make, no matter how we are taught to obey these rules and laws. One fatal attraction can become a deadly blow, if not to us, to the people around us. We can all be victims of our choices. And yet, who are we to judge others who try to keep their skeletons in their closets?

When the Pharisees brought an adulterous woman before Jesus (John 8:2-11), He did not decide just like the rest of the crowd. As he was challenged to answer on what to do on her since the Law of Moses says that such a person be stone, He gave them an equally challenging answer instead, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

I wonder how this present day society would react when the Lord Himself would tell us the same. We’re used to social media bashing, vengeful reactions, and negative speculations when we have not seen the other side of the story, at all. Are we that “righteous” to think that we are above the rest of the condemned? Aren’t we condemned along with the rest of the sinful society, too?

And yet, in His grace, Jesus told the woman “Go, and sin no more”. That’s grace. She did not deserve it and yet He gave it.

In all of us, there is both goodness and wickedness. We are all victims to a fallen world and to our condemned selves. Yet, we can’t just point a finger to a fellow brother who is just as filthy as we are. And yet, here’s a God who gives His grace to wretched man. It’s just up to us to go for it and to give up our wretchedness. And yet, our fellow man needs help, too. Who, then, would be willing to cast the first stone?

Esther’s Cry

Now, I know what it means to stand for what you believe it. To go against the tide is going against the normalities of life. To stand up for God’s beloved and for His Word is queer for many. Such is utter foolishness to the eyes of the world and its governments. Yet, not to the eyes of the King of kings.

I once thought that being a Malacañang beat reporter was easy. But I began to sense fear when I began associating with the other known personalities, mostly with some of the presidential speakers. I’m fully aware that adding connections means risk – a risk that takes me out of my comfort zone of being neutrally complacent from any side of the issue.

And so comes my side to be with Israel in the Palestinian statehood appeal at UN.

I have to speak and yet I was afraid. Not everybody’s interested in this issue. When I asked it in the Daily Press Briefing, the other journalists laughed at me because it was so off to our usual national concerns. What does the Philippines benefit from Israel, they might think. It’s obvious that siding with bigger Arab countries give us more advantage as there are more OFWs risiding there compared to Israel.

Yet, they do not see the consequences of taking sides against Israel.

Biblically, Israel is a blessed nation. The promise that the Lord gave to Abraham, the statement that said “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you”, is still in effect today. Now, who says that it is null and void? Some claim that the Bible says so because the blessings are now in the Gentiles and not in the Jews anymore. But, that doesn’t mean that God has forgotten His promise to His people for He said that He will come back and forever He is their God. They may have been very stubborn, but still they are a promised people and it is in their land that Jesus will establish His kingdom when He comes back.

I’ve seen how our country suffered in 2009 when we voted against Israel in the Goldstone report. Right after we agreed to accuse Israel on her allegedly war crimes at the Gaza strip, the typhoon Ondoy came and after that was the Maguindanao massacre. Coincidence? There’s no such thing. God had marked His Word. Judgement to those who will go against His apple of the eye. (Zechariah 2:8)

When I took my stand to pursue the issue at the Daily Press Briefing, it sounded to be foolish to many. Still, I pray that the person I’ve spoken to will look at the information and appeal I’ve sent to her. Just then, I remembered Esther, who was told that she might be there in the king’s palace in such a time that God’s people are in danger of Haman. For such a time as this…my heart wailed…there is a purpose into where I am…

A seed has been planted. I may not see results if the appeal has gone to the president, but let God bless those who stood up for His beloved.

May the Lord spare His beloved. Until now, I can’t believe why have I been placed here in Malacañang. Perhaps, just perhaps, this is how it means to stand in the gap…

…and should I perish, I perish. May the Lord justify the seed He had let me planted in this place.

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