Friday, November 11, 2011

11/11/11: Overrated

While I do agree that 11/11/11 is a pretty special date, it is also, I believe, overrated.


Yes, it happens only once every 100 years. Whoop-de-doo.


FB is plastered with "111111" or "11.11.11" or "11/11/11" statuses everywhere. And I imagined there was a flood of status updates at 11.11 am, maybe even at 11:11:11 am (by the kiasu fellas! xD)


Everyone keeps saying that we should make today memorable. Go out with friends, hang out with family, do "awesome" things that you wouldn't otherwise do. Drinking, partying, having fun! Wow. Sounds exciting.


If only we made as much effort to make each day in our life count as much as we do for this particular day.


We should make every single day memorable. Make every single day count. Spend time with family, friends, loved ones, every day. Not just on those days with repeated digits. Not just once every 100 years, eh?


Live your life to the fullest, EVERY DAY.


Then dates with repeated digits just won't be that big a deal :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Perfection

I used to think that I was a pretty good person.


I mean, I knew nobody is perfect. But I used to think that if anyone was close to perfect, I'd be it.


I didn't lie, or cheat. I was kind, helpful, generous. I was considerate, I followed the rules. I was a good student, had many friends, and was well-liked by all who knew me.


In church, we talk about sin, about our sinful nature as humans. I disliked that term. I hated thinking that I was sinful, or of sin. It was a dirty word, and I didn't want to associate myself with it. I was different, I thought. I was doing pretty well, so far. Doing pretty good, in fact.


Little did I know, then, that my biggest, largest flaw, was pride.




I continued to think that I was an almost-perfect person, an almost-perfect friend. Oh, what a wonderful person I am! What a wonderful testimony I must be as a Christian! I never said any of this out loud, of course. I mean, people would think I'm some egotistical self-praising obnoxious prick! I am only admitting this now, many many manyyyy years later, that these thoughts were there, somewhere, deep within me. Just because nobody else knew, I thought, again, that I was almost-perfect.


In retrospect, I believe that is why my spiritual life never really grew. I believe that is why I never really had a relationship with this God I call Father. It was because I believed I was almost-perfect, that I never really saw the need for Him. Why should I, when I was already this close to perfect? I was doing fine on my own. Did I really have to depend on Him?




Until, of course, this recent incident that I talked about in the previous post.


He showed me who I was, at that moment. I guess not so much who I was, but who I could be, or who I could turn into. It wasn't pretty. In fact, it was horrible, and ugly.


I was ashamed of myself. My almost-perfect illusion of myself was finally shattered, but honestly, what a liberating feeling it is, now! I can see myself maybe a little clearer now. I can see my pride. I can see my wrong.


It was painful, yes. And I broke down that evening, tasting regret and shame in my salty tears. But it was only then that I knew, I really knew, that I needed God. Who else could make me realize this about myself? Who else could touch me in this way? Who else could give me the strength to make things better? Who else could ultimately change me?




Today, I realized something else.


Sometimes, we are not the best testimonies for Christ when we live perfect lives, as perfect people who can do no wrong. That is not the goal of this life on earth. Yes, we strive to be like Jesus, but not in living the perfectly blameless life that He did when He was here. No, even God knows it's impossible.


On the contrary, I think we are the best testimonies when we fail, when we fall, and then we pick ourselves up with God-given strength and make things right with Him, and with whomever we have hurt. It is only then that people can see that as Christians, we struggle with the same things everyone else does--we're only human; but it is because we have Christ in us that we have the power to fight our sinful nature and rise above it.


I am sure you have heard the saying, "Courage is not the absence of fear. Rather, courage is facing your fears head-on despite it."


So let us have a new definition for "perfection", one that is attainable: 


"Perfection is not the absence of faults. Rather, perfection is acknowledging your faults and making things right, despite them."






With God's hand holding mine, I believe I can achieve perfection. :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Doing the Right Thing is Never Easy

Doing the right thing is never easy.

We can tell ourselves lies, justify our actions with reasonable logic, ignore the prickly feeling of guilt.

But let's face it. That's the easy way out. The coward's way.


I doubt there is a single person in this world who is innocent of gossiping.

Gossiping? you ask. Pfft. That's nothing. Everybody does it. Nothing wrong about that.

Nothing wrong? Nothing wrong?

Gossiping is seldom just, "Hey, you know what so and so did?" It is almost always accompanied by, "Ya lor, so teruk la she. Such a b****!" Think back to all those nasty things you said about someone else. All the jokes you made at the person's expense.

Now imagine if someone said those things about you.

Like you said, nothing wrong, isn't it?


How do you look that person in the eye anymore? How do go day after day acting like everything's fine and dandy? How do you go about pretending you never said the nasty things you did about the person just last night at dinner? The good laugh you had over it?

If you could do all that without even blinking, you're a plain hypocrite. That's what you are. A big 'ol hypocrite who doesn't have the guts to say all the things you can say behind a person's back right to their face. Who has no balls to confront the person, like you should.


It is so easy to be angry. It is so easy to get upset over every little thing. And every little thing becomes a big thing. Every single thing the person does annoys you, upsets you, has wronged you.

And in response to that, it is so easy to badmouth someone else. It is so easy to let that anger fester within you, to let it grow and consume you. You would not even know it. And all this is so much easier when you find others who share your sentiments or strong feelings towards this same person.

You think, "He deserves it! He's a jerk! He's selfish!" Whatever.


But don't you realize what this gossiping and hatred is doing to you? Sapping you of your energy, your time, your soul. You become so engulfed in it, so obsessed by it, you don't even realize it! You talk of nothing else, think of nothing else, with anyone you're with!

I came across this phrase, describing badmouthing: character assassination. All that bitterness, wrath, anger and evil-speaking. You're basically murdering someone's character, someone's reputation.

How can you live with yourself? How can you go on knowing what you are doing, what you have been doing behind someone's back?

If you just deny it, you're a coward. If you ignore it, you're a coward. If you do nothing about it, you're also a coward.


Proverbs 15:1 says, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." And in verse 4, "The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit."

Whose spirit?

I believe it is both the person you speak evilly about, as well as your own.

It took me a concerned outside-friend, and a Bible verse to knock me to my senses, leave me reeling. Reeling in shock, in shameful realization, in repentance.

I begged God to forgive me, to give me the wisdom and the courage to make things right. God reminded me that he has asked us to love every one, most of all the ones who are not so easy to love. He reminded me that every word that comes out of our mouth should be "wholesome and uplifting". Not those that tear down, destroy and hurt.

You may think that gossiping, badmouthing is harmless. As long the person you are talking about never hears of it.

But trust me, it takes a toll. Not on the person you are talking about (if they never hear of it). But on you.


Do something about it. Talk to the person. Tell him how you really feel about the things he does, or has done. But not in a "I'm right and you're wrong" kind of way. And not with the expectation that the other person will change overnight, cos that it impossible. Do it in order to clear the air between you, to be honest in love, to let go.

Only then can you move on, with less a burden on your shoulders, a lighter heart.


Doing the right thing is never easy.

But let's face it. That's the easy way out. The coward's way.

It takes courage to confront someone. More than you may possess. But all things are possible with God. Ask Him, and He will bless you. He will give you the courage you need to do what is right.

And knowing that you are doing what is right should provide you with enough courage to make that first step.

Always, do it out of love. Not necessarily for the person. But do it out of love for our Father in heaven. For He has loved us, even as we are so unlovable.


To the person I have wronged, I ask for forgiveness. I am glad we talked, I am glad we have put everything out there. I hope that we can move past this, and that it helps us both grow, as people.


I have made things right. Have you?