i’m currently teaching the younger brother of my previous student, it gets a little busy.
it is hard to pay for a misunderstanding not of your doing,
to be a ransom for many.
it is service all the way, paid in full.
note: along the road to publishing this short blog post some fleeting thought escaped me, this is what i managed capture of that fleet-footed thought fox, as described by Hughes.
somewhere it is writ in the Bible, i can’t remember where, that it is desirable for a man to be kind–i read it with the shades of meaning: if a man should be anything, let him be kind. it was in the old testament poetry; i think it probably was in the wisdom books or one of the books of the prophets.
a kind heart: you cannot teach it, you can encourage it. yet you cannot force it. kindness is a state of being. more accurately described, it is the state of the heart, a natural bent of character, an innate inclination. we can do good deeds, things reckoned as kind to our neighbour, but kindness is not just a deed. feelings and emotions are quite imperceptibly attached to deeds, but a good deed may not always be done out of kindness. i don’t know why this suddenly popped into my mind. perhaps, somewhere in my unconscious self i must have been thinking about the kindness some persons have shown to me in my short life.
we can endeavour to be kind, to be sincerely considerate of others.
we can endeavour to be kind, and the only way is to simply be.
i realise now that when i stopped looking for the solutions in my life that i started to look at the Lord.
He himself is the answer.
this is how much I know I am loved; this is His grace towards me.
not by way of knowledge or great understanding, the fact is simple — i felt it. and i know i lack nothing else.
when we are hardpressed to defend ourselves, when we are hurt beyond measure and there is no mediator, it is human nature to demand and clamour for justice, for vindication. actually, it stems from a human need to be cared for, but in a fallen world, souls become jaded with the rulers and governing authorities that, however good, are still imperfect institutions which often fall short and neglect the welfare of some groups of people under its jurisdiction.
yet i have no desire to talk about politics.
when we are hardpressed by situations and circumstances, it may seem absolutely preposterous — completely crazy to suggest that one could consider things from the point of view of the one being overbearing towards us, and we long for fairness, whether through speaking up for ourselves or for litigation. it is hard, completely hard, to take a step back and then consider it along this thread.
yet our God reminds us in Micah —
He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?
mercy is empathy. to me it is. when someone does us this great wrong we want justice executed, and swiftly.
mercy stems from love. it considers the humanity of the other person and does good to that one, even though you don’t have to.
it is harder to love with mercy than without, but that is how we have been loved from the beginning of time.
indeed, our Maker has hidden many solutions for the problems of the world in humble things. the only thing we need to ask is, are we willing?
The Christian Bible and our God teach that the summary of the law and the prophets lies in loving God and loving man. Of the latter, it encompasses loving our enemies. No other religion in the world teaches something quite as radical, or difficult to do. But as believers, we know that our God has not left us as orphans and He gives us His Holy Spirit evidenced by the speaking of tongues which indwells in each Christian, as proof of His abidance with those who truly believe in Him. It is the Spirit of God that helps us in our weakness, and helps us conform to His will in perfection, though that is a gradual process of growth.
I know all these, and have been taught these precepts since my early youth as I pursued after His truth and sought after His way. Through many life lessons I have learnt that there are many things we can forgive, and there is literally nothing we cannot forgive unless that person has sinned a mortal sin against God or has renounced the biblical truth that was passed down from the apostles. In fact, in the gospel books (Mtt-Mk-Lk-Jn) Jesus taught His disciples that when we pray to God and we realise that someone still has some grudge against us (rather than we being unable to forgive that person), we ought to first make peace with that person and reconcile, so that we can pray our due prayers to God. For if we do not, God also will not answer our prayers or forgive us our sins. Jesus also taught that when someone trespasses against us, we ought to forgive that person as much as seventy times seven, which represents a limitless and full number of times, which means – as many times as needed. These were what the Lord Jesus taught during the days when He was in the flesh on earth.
Yet I find a small distinction–not another teaching that disproves the commandments of Jesus, but something I found necessary or effective in my experience. We ought always to forgive our brethren (from the same spiritual family, brothers and sisters) unconditionally, and as soon as we can. Yet, I find it almost equally important that we do not simply sweep things under the carpet and pretend a sin is a virtue, or an offence an inconsequential thing when it is not. And I believe that this distinction will help others to recognise as well as appreciate what is not right and come before Jesus’ feet. Forgiveness is from the heart, yet, we ought not mix or combine the godly things with the ungodly things. Therefore, we should not pretend — when someone has done something grievously wrong or if someone has offended us — that it is ok or say it is right in the eyes of God when it obviously contravenes God’s laws.
Forgiving someone else is always hard work not to mention painful stuff, and God commands every Christian to obey Him by forgiving brothers and sisters who sometimes trespass against us. While taking time can seem like an imperfection, I see it as a natural course of things that can help both parties — the offended and the offender — to yield to God.
In the beginning I entitled this post, “Say ‘No.'” I was indeed upset with someone and had refused to be a doormat. But then, forgiving someone isn’t being a doormat; it is keeping the words of Christ. So even as I deal with the not-so good feelings, even after having said ‘I will not yield’ I know I will eventually forgive that person. Most of the time we have already forgiven while in prayer — when we are most upset and pour our hearts out to God — and find relief/release there in prayer, but for the want of ‘face’ (pride), we just haven’t shown that we have. One of the quirks of being a human, I guess.
when the pain presses on me again, I find my pen to write.
human beings are strange creatures indeed that often defy comprehension. I doubt even many good, pious men truly understand what it is they do sometimes, or why they do it. Great men know this, human beings are not always able to be extremely honest with themselves; sometimes, all of us do things without thinking.
I’m not here to exonerate anyone. there is no subject more difficult than the human subject, yet there is no being more filled with undetermined potential than a living person. Evil men cause us to be jaded or disappoint their families, yet men who are reckoned by others to be good make grievous mistakes. I was observing the relations between two good men, and I did not understand why two perfectly good-hearted men would be offended with and not talking to each other. I came to this conclusion – human beings have innate needs, and even when they are good and upright and honest people, their need sometimes become their blindspot. These blindspots cause trouble between people and relationships between them.
Many a time we think we know a lot. But I find it is only when we throw aside what we think we know/already know that we can begin to live clear… like a crystal stream — pure, unadulterated… and begin to have faith. When we shut our eyes from seeing cruel reality played out in front of us, dictating our future choices. we have to stop analysing or trying to predict the outcome; yes, shut out the cacophony. We may not know ourselves that well, and we cannot. No one can have a total picture of himself. But God has a perfect knowledge of man. That fact is strangely comforting.
Amongst the many works that God has done in His manifold wisdom, one of the most beautiful institutions created, in my opinion, is the Lord’s institution of marriage for mankind. I know that this may not be the practical ideal that every person has in mind for himself/herself– fair enough, but we can look to the Bible on how marriage was instituted, what principles of God it embodies, and what it should ideally represent, especially for a genuine Christian. I am not a preacher, just an ordinary believer wanting to put some thoughts together regarding this subject. This is not meant to be doctrinal or even exhortation, but it constitutes a rough sketch of my thoughts and impressions as a tjc Christian.
I think many of us began with a pleasant concept/ideal of marriage when we were young especially if you grew up in a loving home where your parents modelled good marital values — until society and perhaps negative events marred the originally good concept. I do not speak for everyone. From Genesis in the bible we know that God created man in His own image, “male and female He created them” (Gen 1:27) and that when He made Eve, the woman, it was as a provision for Adam, as a companion ‘comparable to him’ (Gen 2:20) in his existence on earth so that He should not feel lonely. While Adam was formed of the dust of the ground (2:7), Eve was formed from one of Adam’s ribs and made into Woman (2:23-24). Thus God brought her to the man (2:22) and married them, and blessed their marriage in His presence. It was in Genesis that God instituted marriage. And if you believe the words of the Bible, then it is fact and also part of the history of man. [Of course trouble came after the temptation and fall of man when they disobeyed God to eat the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil which God had clearly instructed them not to do, and then through their sin came the curse and trouble and inequity between the genders that resulted, but that is not the point of my writing right now. You can always consult the bible and do a close reading if you are interested. I only advise that you try to read things in context, best, inductively first if you can rather than consult opinions (for the purpose that the scripture might speak to you) and with prayerful heart and mind, and not quickly jump to conclusions about what the Bible is saying. For one, His word is not easy to read, and it never says what it doesn’t intend to say, but we also ought to be careful about not putting words into its mouth, if that makes sense. Secondly, try to experience God’s Word for yourself rather than see it through the eyes of others…a church that puts His truth first will be able to expound the biblical meaning of what you read, and should not divert from what you yourself can read in the bible. Of course there’s the problem of interpretation and hermeneutics (the art of interpretation), but generally you should be safe and on the right side of God if you also couple your reading with sincere prayer. His Spirit will open your heart and mind to His words. Lastly, let scripture interpret scripture. You will then be able to get the gist of what is being said.]
Thus marriage is ordained by God and not by man.
So my student got a B. I am elated for him. Thank God!
What i posted on FB today:
It has been a year of joy and sorrow and everything in between, the intense pressure-cooker kind. It was here that I sought to prove and disprove, encourage and admonish, opine, recommend, debate and also make sense of things. But i realise i’m not always wise or clearheaded or strong or prudent. I regret that you’ve occasionally had to witness my assertions and sometimes uncool acts of gracelessness as i struggled to find my strength and balance between the need for expression and self-restraint in words. While placing so much emphasis on pithiness i realise sometimes it’s just better to let go a little and cut back on compulsive editing, or priming the pump. Maybe it’s time for this clavier to be tempered. So deliberating for a bit i thought i would take a short hiatus from fb. I will still occasionally check-in in the meantime though that will be minimal and i may not be so up to date as to what’s happening in your life. More importantly I would like to thank you for being with me throughout all of this. Your supportive arm that I leaned upon. Your gracious, comforting words, presence and prayer that helped me while i navigated the unknown bend, it is something i remember—and for it i will always be indebted. :) God bless.
What a crazy year and a half i’ve had.
These are some confessional quotes excerpted from my daily writings. Writing is evocative in that it reaches deep in to parts of yourself you never thought you had. :)
I did what I could in the best manner that I could. I did my best, and if I still failed, I couldn’t have done any better…and in the midst of making a choice, a clear thought shone through, “I’m crazy, yes, but I am crazy about my God. Not anyone else.”
When we learn not to see the things that don’t matter, when Jesus comes to the forefront of the picture, when we look at Him only, life can become sweet once more.
…the clarity prefigures the clearness that He will enable me to see when I come face to face with Him. For now we see as through a glass dimly, but then we shall know just as we are known.
The past and present and our thoughts toward the future make us, make who we are, and we should not paint over things about ourselves which we wish to be gone from our lives. Because that makes the record real, and it makes our existence genuine, flawed, us. Perhaps that is why I write, to clear my thoughts, to rally thoughts and strength, to pick myself up, to find strength that God has ordained to give me through His Holy Spirit.
The sword may be stuck to the hand, but we cannot slacken, because help will soon come and the battle continues, it must be fought.