Everywhere in the world, especially in developed countries, wealth and what we call human progress are making people believe that God is nowhere to be found—that God is not real. People are believing the lie of self-reliance.
Everywhere, people are broken. They are seeking to fill their deepest desires with material things, unhealthy relationships, and achievements that do not stand the test of time.
Everywhere, people are doing what is right in their own eyes. Corrupt leaders are everywhere (not just in government institutions). There’s a growing gap between the rich and the poor. People don’t understand the long-term implications, let alone the spiritual ones, of what they are fighting for such as divorce, contraception, and same sex marriage. (For my views on these issues, please see the end of this blog post.)
Now, more than ever, people need God. There are so many people in the world who are broken, desperate, and about to give up. There are so many people trying to hide their brokenness through wealth, achievements, and power. Worse, some even abuse their power. People need God to fill their deepest needs for love.
There are also so much divisions in families, relationships, communities, and nations. People need God not to further divide the people, but to heal wounds and unite them in love.
There are so many people who are shackled by the chains of sin, despair, unforgiveness, hopelessness, poverty, and sickness. People need God to set them free.
There are so many people who are losing their way. People need God and His perfect commands to give them direction and true freedom.
Now, more than ever, people need God and it’s up to us to bring Him to them and them to Him. We need a sense of urgency in doing our missions as Christian, in making disciples, in loving God and loving others. Because it is only then can there be heaven here on earth, especially now when so many people are going through hell.
We also need a sense of urgency in standing up for Him and our faith. Many of our sufferings today are brought upon by man’s abuse of his freedom. And now, more than ever, we also need to stand up for the truth—as difficult as it may be. Because only then can the world experience true freedom.
Today, I believe God is looking for people to send out into the world and to proclaim His love. Today, I believe God is asking in this troubled times, "Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?”
I hope and pray that just like in the words of the great prophet Isaiah we will say, “Here I am, Lord. Send me.”
P.S. This is why starting tomorrow, I will be writing at least two blog posts everyday: my usual blog posts about Life, Work, and Art, and my reflections about God’s word in the hope of fulfilling my mission to proclaim God's love to others. We all have a role to play in establishing God’s kingdom here on earth.
P.P.S. For my email subscribers, you’ll only receive my usual blog posts from The Daily Email. But, there will always be a link to my reflections in the email.
On divorce, contraception, and same sex marriage
Since I mentioned them earlier, please allow me to briefly share my views on these topics. I’m not, in any way, an expert on these topics and I’m not here to judge or condemn anyone. After all, in the words of Pope Francis, “Who am I to judge?” Finally, as someone who doesn’t like conflicts and who has utmost respect for others, I wrote this with all the courage and love that I can muster:
On divorce: Family is the basic unit of community. As an old proverb says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” The family is where children learn their values, develop their character, and know more about God. It is also where children first experience love (especially God’s love). What happens when parents get separated? From whom do the children learn their values? From whom do they get the love they need? From whom do they first experience the love of God? Children of divorced parents generally feel a sense of brokenness and inadequateness that they bring well into their adulthood. According to some statistics, daughters of divorced parents are 60 percent more likely to be divorced themselves than daughters of non-divorced parents. For sons of divorced parents, their divorce rate is 35 percent higher than sons of non-divorced parents. Then, it becomes a cycle that goes on for generations. Staying married is a decision that couples should make everyday. And many times, it’s not an easy one to make. Divorce gives couples an easy way out of making the difficult decision of staying married. It also gives them an easy way out of making other difficult decisions that married couples ought to make—to accept their partners’ brokenness and weaknesses, to communicate and be open to each other, and to share their own vulnerabilities. The feeling of love will fade. Real love is a decision. Marriage is a decision.
On contraception: Governments have passed reproductive health laws that promote the use of contraceptives for married couples to control child birth. But tell me, honestly, are married couples really the only ones who have access to contraceptives? No. Unmarried couples, those not in formal relationships, and even teenagers have access to contraceptives. The widespread use of contraceptives has led people, especially the younger generation, to believe that sexual intercourse is no longer sacred and holy. Today, sex seems to have become just an ordinary activity without the purpose of conceiving a child or expressing love and intimacy to your spouse. It’s even treated as an accomplishment for some—a passage rite to adulthood of some sort. Twenty years ago (when I was eight years old), there were very few movies with kissing scenes. Our parents would even cover our eyes whenever there’s one. But today, there are sex scenes and explicit nudity in the TV shows we watch today which children can also see. Pope Paul VI said it best in his encyclical letter in 1968 that the use of contraceptives "could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards.” And 48 years later, it seems like it has. There’s more to say about the topic, but as I’ve said, I’m no expert in this. I can only share my opinions and observations, especially on the youth’s early exposure to sex. For now, I’ll leave you with a link to Pope Paul VI’s encyclical letter. It lovingly explains the Church’s stand on contraception (see specifically paragraphs 13 to 17).
On same sex marriage: This is the most difficult for me to write about. I have friends who are homosexuals and I love them. I accept them for who they are. I don’t judge or condemn them, but I don’t encourage them. I also want them to be happy in the deepest sense of the word. But more than experiencing happiness, I want them to experience the full joy they can find only in Christ. But apart from the biblical or spiritual aspect of it, I can only imagine what it’s like for children to grow up with homosexual parents. I’m not saying that homosexual parents cannot be good ones. They can be great parents like any other couples. It’s just that, it’s already difficult enough to grow up with heterosexual parents. I can only imagine how much more difficult it probably is to grow up without a real mother or father. No matter what other people might say, growing up with homosexual parents, for me, feels like an unnatural way of being raised in a family. When same-sex marriage was legalized in the United States last year, I read some articles written by homosexuals who were opposed to it. At the heart of those articles, they said that even though they were homosexuals, they still wished for children to grow up in more natural families, that is, with a mother and a father. (I cannot find the exact articles I read. But, here’s one that’s pretty close to what I read a year ago.)
Again, I’m not here to judge, condemn, or discriminate. Besides, who am I to do so? Firstly, I’m not yet married in order to become an authority in divorce and contraception (although I will be married next year). Secondly, I have my own struggles with sin especially when it comes to pornography, which oppresses those involved in it and robs them of their dignity. (With all my heart, I’m sorry for contributing to this oppression. But, please know that I’ve been trying so hard not to contribute to it any longer and amend my ways.) And finally, I believe God loves all of us the same way.
I won’t even argue or debate with others who own different views and beliefs. I prefer to listen to them, respect them, understand where they are coming from, cry with them, laugh with them, and love them in the hope that they too can experience the fullness of God’s love. Now is not the time for division. I love what Pope Francis said when he talked about homosexuals. He said that what people need is a Church that will "heal the wounds and warm the hearts of the faithful.” And I think a lot of people have already been wounded by the issues of divorce, contraception, and same sex marriage.
But, I shared my views to ask people to put themselves in the shoes of a young child whenever they’re making decisions. It hurts me deeply whenever I try to do so. Given his or her limited understanding, I feel it’s difficult for a child to understand divorce (and the consequences thereof) and growing up with homosexual parents no matter how hard we explain or affirm him or her with love. Also, seeing children nowadays exposed to sex at an early age, I also feel we are robbing them not only of the wonders of married sex, but also of their innocence. I believe there’s a right time for everything and that includes learning about sex. I believe that a child’s purity is important growing up in order for him or her to learn how to respect the opposite sex.