Tag Archives: Christian

Of Christianity and voicing opinions

speak up

Of my parents, the one who seems to understand how my mind works more is mom, not because she always gives me time to explain myself, but because when we’re not arguing we have a tight relationship. Even when I’m being purely hormonal she’ll even try to pacify me so I don’t throw a fit; but that’s mostly when she knows she’s the one at fault. Don’t mistake me for a brat though; I’m many things but that ain’t one of them.

I don’t get to spend much time with dad, even when we’re both home he’ll probably be in the living room reading the paper and I’ll be in a different part of the house doing something else. Most of the time we get to ‘converse’ is when he’s drunk and we’re arguing, our voices raised, because that’s just how it is. The only difference is that it’s more of a monologue because he doesn’t let anyone else speak when he’s ‘airing his grievances’.

Naturally, I have this policy, ‘If I’m not getting a chance to talk, I won’t listen either’. I don’t always practice it in every occasion because sometimes the best option is to just listen, but when it’s about matters of voicing opinions, I just find it unfair if I have to listen to someone going on and on about what they feel about something yet they deny me the chance to share my opinion. I believe it’s called a dialogue because it consists of atleast two people. If it’s a monologue, I won’t be a party to it.

If one was to ask my dad, he’d say I’m a very opinionated person. I find that ironic, given that he hardly gives me the chance to talk. I’m guessing he knows that because he finds the most trouble trying to shut me up.

One thing I particularly find trouble with is a statement he’s repeated severally, “Yet you go to church every Sunday.” He gives me the impression that just because I’m religious, I should be submissive, letting him get away with things anyone would consider repulsive. I’m a Christian, true, and my faith is something I take very seriously because that’s what my life is founded on; nonetheless, I feel there’s one thing people misconstrue. Being a Christian doesn’t mean one doesn’t get offended; being a Christian doesn’t mean one should be denied the chance to voice their opinion; my faith doesn’t automatically gag me; it only means, by being a Christian I should practice more self-control, which is a gift of the Holy Spirit, when dealing with people.

My faith in God doesn’t mean I should be submissive, watching wrong things happen stoically because I don’t want to step on people’s toes; it just means I should be more understanding; I should learn to tell the difference-when to remain silent and when to act, but by no means should I let people walk all over me just because I’m a Christian. I would even feel like I’m letting God down, because I believe He, in His mercy, has given me the wisdom to discern when something is wrong or right.

Faith is…

faith can move mountains

Faith is like a seed; you water it, nourish it, and wait for it to grow. Things that pertain to faith shouldn’t be rushed. Like the seed; one doesn’t plant and wait for it to grow overnight. Sometimes, in unfortunate circumstances, the seed will be infested by pests and at times it could die undeveloped.

What is faith really?

A certain man found he was suffering from cancer. He was so bitter about it, because he felt God had disappointed him; He had let him down. This man said he was a believer; there’s not a Sunday that he failed to go to church; he took part in all church activities, when he married the first thing he did was to take his wife to church. Basically, he had been living a life most Christians would consider the perfect life of a true believer. Did he believe in God? Many would say he did. Did he have faith in God? Some would argue he had, but that would be debatable; he had little faith.

So what is faith? True faith is believing in God, even when one feels like things couldn’t get worse. True faith is seeing God’s hand in everything; seeing God’s hand in that illness, in that poverty, in the mistreatment at work by honchos. True faith is not just about believing in God when things are all hunky dory, but even in those instances we feel miserable and weary.

True faith is believing that God is the master and we are the servants; allowing His will to reign; accepting that all that happens, happens because He wills it, and believing that He does it for a greater purpose. Loving God and trusting in Him, even when our prayers go unanswered. Embracing that cancer (literally or figuratively), and believing that God allowed it. That is faith.

Christians from all walks of life learn to recite “Our Lord’s prayer” at some point:

Our Father, who art in heaven,

Hallowed be Thy name,

Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven…

When we say, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” it means we’re allowing God to do whatever He pleases. True faith means accepting His will; being at peace with whatever He lets happen to us. It sounds like such a task right? Accepting things we don’t feel okay with and stuff? But that’s the true definition of faith; accepting it, good or bad; embracing it all, because we understand that He only intends for us to be happy.

Strength comes from faith; if you’ve been praying incessantly, asking God to grant you the strength to accomplish something, now you have the answer. Just believe in God; nourish your faith, and the strength will come.

 

Love changes people

love changes

The term ‘Christian’ is so common. Basically it refers to someone who is a follower of Christ; someone who is Christ-like; but it so happens that many call themselves Christians, yet they hardly act like it. Personally I’m a Christian and I feel that sometimes we are so quick to condemn others; we judge them, take them to hell before they’re even dead. We shun people who we deem sinners; we refuse to mingle with them:

“She’s a prostitute,” one says. “I can’t be associated with her.”

“He’s gay,” another one says. “I can’t let people see us together.”

“She goes partying in clubs,” another one says, “That’s a sin.” These are some of the conversations I’ve heard. Once there’s this friend who posted on his fb page how he had felt extremely shaken when a guy he’d been hanging out with confessed he was gay. He was seeking public opinion via his page, if he should continue his association with the said gay guy. Out of curiosity, I read the comments, and I must say the things people said were awful. In my head I was like, “Christianity preaches against gayism, but this ain’t right.”

Then in another instance, which was more personal, I was chatting with a guy. The conversation got to a point where he asked if I ‘drink’. I didn’t think there was anything to lie about so I told him, “Yeah, sometimes I do.” Before I knew it he was calling me a sinner; saying how much I was shaming the church…by the time I decided to end that conversation he had told me some pretty nasty stuff. I felt offended that he would presume to judge me, but I laughed so hard, he got offended.

He thought I was mocking him, but I explained to him why I found his criticism hilarious: to start with, I rarely drink, and when I do, I keep it to a maximum of two glasses of wine (except for this one time I took more, but I only got tipsy; by the time my friends and I left the club, after lots of dancing and taking plenty of water, my head was clear). So I wouldn’t be lying if I said I’ve never been drunk my entire life… with that in mind, I found it hilarious when he called me a sinner…and not to mention that I know very many Christians who take alcohol and are wonderful people.

I did a little ‘digging’ about partaking in alcohol being considered a sin; I asked a priest to shed light on the matter. He told me the mere act of drinking isn’t really a sin; what comes out is what matters; you know people acting crazy and stuff because they’re inebriated…

I found it unbelievable that he would blatantly call me a sinner; last I checked, we’re all sinners, but somehow some people end up feeling like they’re lesser sinners than others. Nowadays I choose not to take alcohol, but for me it’s a personal choice; it has nothing to do with being branded a sinner.

Such instances leave me wondering why someone would want to judge others when they call themselves a Christian. The term is derived from ‘Christ’; those who follow Him. If I was to refer to bible verses where Jesus mingles with ‘sinners’, I would be basically making reference to the larger part of the New Testament.

Jesus taught us to love our neighbours without judging: when people wanted to stone the woman who had been accused of prostitution (John 8:7), He said, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

In another instance He condemned judging, talking about people seeing specks in other people’s eyes when they had logs in their own eyes (Matthew 7). With respect to this, I know I’ve got huge logs in my eyes, so I prefer to let God be the judge in everything.

Hypothetically, these people we call sinners are indeed sinners; but question is, if we treat them like outcasts, who will change them? Jesus loved everyone; He didn’t look at their occupations, at their sexual orientation…He just loved them. When He visited Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10) for instance, He didn’t condemn him because he was a thief. He said, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” That’s how we as Christians are called to act; without discrimination. He set the precedent; to love others. I don’t recall verses where He shooed someone off because they were sinners; if we call ourselves His followers, why would we judge? Why would we discriminate?

It’s not our place to judge. We should love even those we feel are straying; because it’s only by showing them love that we can pull them back on track. In my opinion, the only time a person should stay away from someone they consider ‘a sinner’ (pardon the choice of word), would be if one is afraid they’re not strong enough; that they could be negatively influenced by the other person into straying, because it makes no sense if one ends up stealing because they were trying to get a thief to ‘see the light’…

Speaking from experience, it’s easier to change a person by showing them love as opposed to criticizing and condemning them. Personally, I feel more inclined to take someone’s advice if they seem compassionate; if they come off as harsh I get all defensive, and I have reason to believe that’s how a vast majority ‘functions’. No one likes to be judged.

‘What would Jesus do?’ That’s a question I use as my reference when faced with a situation where I’m not sure what I should do…and based on the scriptures, the answer would revolve around love; it’s the greatest of all virtues.

love

Choosing Vocations: What are you called to do?

choosing vocations

A young man went to see a priest, to seek guidance because he wanted to become a lawyer. The priest asked him, “Why do you want to become a lawyer?”

The young man replied, “Because I want to be rich.”

“And after that?” the priest asked.

“Then I’ll marry a beautiful woman and start my own family.”

“After that?” the priest persisted.

“I’ll enjoy my success.”

“After that?”

“I’ll die,” the man answered.

“And after that?”

“I’ll go to heaven and meet Jesus.”

“And after that?”

The man looked at the priest confused; he had given his entire life/after life plan and he still wanted more. He went back home and reorganized his plans (this short story was told by a priest in church).

When choosing a vocation one should address two principal aspects: How does my vocation help others? And how does it relate to God? (Speaking from a Christian’s perspective).

Whatever one wants to do, they must really be so passionate about it, to an extent where they can’t explain fully why they love it. That profound ardor one has for something that they just feel it’s what they want to do; even if it meant doing it for free.

If after evaluating one’s interest they feel it helps others and still honours God, then maybe it’s the right calling. What everyone should bear in mind is that no one was put on this earth just to occupy space. We were all given a purpose to fulfill…now the million dollar question is, ‘what is that purpose?’