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…