Monday, June 2, 2014

Rebellion and Rebels part 1

If you are a church attender and a fair enough listener, I am very sure that the teachers, preachers, and pastors mentioned Absalom, King David’s son. If you are indeed a church attender, you’ll encounter one singular idea: that Absalom is the one who rebelled against King David, and at the process, was killed because of his rebellion.  Aside from Lucifer, Korah, Miriam, and Aaron, Absalom was one of the characters illustrated on what rebels do and the consequences that fall into them.  However, in order to understand how rebels are being groomed, let us try to read this character’s back story.



Let us try to summarize Absalom’s life before rebellion.  The first mention of the Bible of Absalom happened in third chapter of the second book of Samuel. 10 chapters later, thirteenth chapter to be exact, he was mentioned again.  He was described as long haired and blameless, meaning, in contemporary terms, he was smooth skinned and is very handsome.  According to some Hebrew scholars, Absalom have big eyes, maybe to emphasize that he has strong personality.  Prior to this description though, we can see in this chapter, that a family scandal happened: Tamar, Absalom’s brother, was raped by Amnon, their half-brother.  In the twenty-first verse of that very same chapter, we can see that King David was “very wroth” when he heard the news, as described by the King James Version of the Bible.  This means he was very, very angry, as wroth means “very angry”.  As for Absalom, he just mentioned to Tamar to keep calm because Amnon is their brother.  In other words, he mentioned let it go, but deep down, I assumed he is awaiting his father give justice for Tamar’s rape.  However, no action was given.  Yes, the Bible never mentioned that there was no action, but it never also mentioned that actions were made.  Besides, Absalom even invited Amnon, which led to Amnon’s death.  This means, not only injustice was made, but also Amnon has no shadow of guilt or remorse.  After all, it was not mentioned that he is scared to be with Absalom, having been drunk.  The rest is history; he rebelled to King David, and eventually killed by Joab in the process.



Let us notice these words: injustice and unapologetic attitude.  These two breed rebellion.  When injustice was made, and no actions were done against injustice, rebellion will definitely take place.  A person whose anger is already in his heart due to feelings of injustice becomes angrier than before if the person or a group who did him wronged are scot-free.  Well, we cannot blame wrong doers on that one somehow.  No, I am not justifying rebellion.  Let us call a spade a spade, the illegal or criminal actions of a rebel must be brought to justice.  After all, law must never be put in our hands.  Instead, I understand rebels where they are coming from.  Inaction against injustices breeds rebellion on institutions.  Sadly, these institutions rather focus on executing justice against rebels for their rebellious acts, and stop there.  That is right, but what is missing is their concern.  Rebels maybe wrong in their means, but they have their reasons why.   Not because the approach is uncalled for doesn’t mean the content and reasons behind that are.  We are no different from people witnessing a guy physically dragging his nagging wife or girlfriend out of the public scene, to the point of hurting her arm/s.  True, guys must never do that.  However, haven’t we considered that the guy just don’t want any more scandal?  Haven’t we considered that the girl is wrong in her accusations to begin with (girls: intuitions are not right all the time)?  Worse than that: haven’t we considered that the nagging girl is just making a scene, and, out of love, the guy felt the need to do that in order to drag her out from their embarrassment AND in order to bring her home?  Yes, we shall never consider those angles plainly because the guy hurt the girl by dragging her out of the public scene. PERIOD.  That is the same mindset on how we treat rebels, we give them tooth and nail treatment because their actions are wrong, and yet, we never made any actions on the basis of their complaints.     


By the way, rebellion requires action.  Hence, if a person complaining is not making an action against institutional leaders or organizations, that is not a rebellion.  Even online dictionaries will tell you that rebellion requires effort, open opposition, and refusal to obey.  These three requires actions (refusal is an act).  Hence, when a person laid down his grievances to leaders, leaders must never feel that this person is automatically a rebel.  By definition, this person is not yet a rebel. 


In Christian churches, we abused the verse, “looking unto Jesus…” or we use words, which are really theologically questionable, like “let go, let God”.  Most of the time, when we hear such words, the next move is inaction.  After all, an action is somewhat deemed as hateful and unforgiving once you mentioned this verse from the book of Hebrews.  Yes, there is no such thing as a perfect church. However, why mention these lines when rebels and sympathizers themselves no that there is no perfect person to begin with?  Mentioning to a disgruntled person that there is no person church or perfect person is like saying, “shut up!”  For crying out loud, we may even justify actions that even in millennial reign, a perfect God-administered government will still have rebels, so rebels are what they are, rebels.  It is spine chilling because, if you are an institutional leader or part of that institutional leadership, you are comparing yourself and your institution to God Himself when you did just that.



When this behavioral system continues in an institution, never ever wonder why rebellion eventually happened in your institution.  Never ever wonder.  Inaction was made towards injustice.  Worse than that, the one who received injustice.  Frankly, my tendency when I encounter such is that I will never defend nor attack a person who becomes part of inaction towards injustice, regardless of his or her position in the institution.  I will never be a part of further injustice called cover ups.    


In my personal opinion, the leadership must take action against rebels when their prior complaints were already addressed, and yet they still did the same.  In cases where rebellion or insurgency happens without knowing the reason or source of rebellion and insurgency, actions must still be made, but their root reasons must be determined.  Yes, not all of them maybe legitimate, but we shall definitely learn from them.  Put rebels to jail if they really did something criminal, BUT let their legitimate concerns be addressed.  However, like I said, when the concern is already addressed and yet they want to do further, then, that act will solely be on their hands, no longer the leadership.  (forgive me for illustrating church rules and policies very much.  It’s because I can give more examples on something that I am near into).    


I don’t write this because I am initiating rebellion.  No I am not, and will never be.  Instead, I am addressing those who were given the chance to lead.  Not only them, I also address those who were the opportunity to serve and execute real justice.  This is to remember social responsibility.  This is to understand rebels, not to the level of justifying their actions, but to the level of having a broken hearted attitude that “something must be done”.  Especially in the church setting, whenever you are in charge of the disciplinary action, do what must be done, but with a broken heart, not because you enjoy doing the action.  You’re no different from sadist when you did just that. 


Rebels and so called rebels have hearts too.  I know leaders are too. 


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Missing Link on Forgiveness

To tell you honestly, I don't know if most fellow Christians share this view that I will share.  Forgiveness is only full, in my opinion, when both forgiving and asking forgiveness are there. However, oftentimes, being Christians, we use as an example one of the seven last words of Jesus Christ: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Sounds awesome to hear that. So heart touching to feel.  Forgiveness at its finest.  After all, Jesus Christ said it.  Stephen said, "Lord, lay not their sin to their charge.", right?  Okay, let us check I John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Let us remember that Scripture cannot truly contradict Scripture. In my opinion, the process of forgiveness is only full when forgiveness is extended to the person AND if that person who needs forgiveness admits his mistakes or asks for an apology. Then, how about Jesus Christ and Stephen? They have extended their hand of forgiveness, but without repentance or asking forgiveness they will remain in that state of not being forgiven, even if the offended party had forbear the offender's shortcoming. In case of salvation, if a person remained unrepentant or not wanting to ask forgiveness leading to him not wanting to have the real salvation experience, he is condemned already to hell as John 3:18 said.  In case of every day life experiences, if a person is not asking forgiveness if he needs it, it is both hurtful on both sides.

This is the very reason why we felt bad when wrong doers are unrepentant and unaffected.  It's not merely because we are bitter, but mainly because something is amiss. Something's not complete, so to speak. No wonder "Pride goeth before destruction..." as Proverbs 16:18 said. It may not automatically mean literal and physical destruction, since it is the book of Proverbs. However, it somehow gives us a reminder that pride, on both part of the offender and the offended, indeed destroys us within and left us hurt.

Clear and point blank: someone must forgive and someone must ask forgiveness. In other cases, the offender and the offended must both ask forgiveness and forgive each other at the same time.  Maybe we shall raise our eyebrows on that previous sentence, but sometimes, as offended ones, we do things to our offenders that are more than what the offenders did, or just plainly, we did them wrong in the process because we are hurt or pride kicked in.  I am saying this because it is a very wrong thing to justify acts like revenge or not forgiving to make the offender suffer more and call it "by-product of the offender's action or consequences of the offender's sin to the offended".  I heard and saw people with no appropriate authority give consequences to the offenders.  I also heard one minister mentioned that the treatment of the people to the offender is a consequence in itself.  However, because of sowing-and-reaping and cause-and-effect principles, we have forgotten that the offended will have their own consequences if they did the offenders something that is not right to be in their own hands. Only God and people who are in appropriate authority to execute consequences have the right to give consequences to the offenders.  [When I said appropriate authority, it means, for example, that if an act is criminal, then you should call the police or any law enforcing people to do it.  If the act is more of offense to your church only and it is not criminal, then have the church (not only the pastor, not only the chosen few) decide on the matter.  I hope you understood the picture.]. By the way, about that one, yes, it maybe a consequence to the offender itself, but the offended ones will have his own share of consequences when he took matters in his or her own hands.      

In the above paragraph, we may say that this is also one of the reasons why some offended ones are more miserable than the offenders.  Why? As a by-product of pride, they did actions or have imparted proud, painful words to the offender, making them an offender themselves.  No wonder we heard somewhere that forgiveness is a gift not only to the people that hurt you, but it is also a gift to our own selves as well.

What if the offended or the offender is already dead or missing in your network or abroad or out of town or intentionally disconnected from you for one reason or another?  Maybe you have better answers for this as this article is not error-proof or journalism or writer-friendly especially if I am at your "I don't feel you" or "I don't like you" side, but based on my experience and also my present perception of things, I think it is time to move on and consider this as your thorn in the flesh just like Apostle Paul have his.  Just like Apostle Paul, in his ministry, maybe we are being bothered by feeling of hatred or bitterness because someone didn't ask your forgiveness or someone didn't forgive you, which can be considered our own messenger of Satan.  Some will make fun or personally preach to you on this one, but one thing is sure: God's grace is sufficient as 2 Corinthians 12:9 stated, just like God's grace is sufficient for Apostle Paul.  After all, as Hebrews 4:16 said, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Ultimately, it takes God's grace for us to forgive and to ask forgiveness, and I consider it more grace for both to happen at the same time.

May you have an emotionally clear and enlightening day.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Unsolicited Advice’s BASHERS

Disclaimer: this is not an unsolicited advice.  There is a thin line between unsolicited advice and an opinion article.  That thin line is crossed from the latter to the former when you talked to the people themselves, be it on chat or in person, said this article yourself, and they’re not asking you for one.  Besides, granting that you felt this is an unsolicited advice, it is your option not to read things further, just like switching channels or turning off your TV. 


Unsolicited advice, basically, is an advice that was given to a person who is not asking for it in the first place.  No, I’ll not merely enumerate the reasons why people give unsolicited advice, although I read some (i.e, start a conversation, just being friendly, feeling of expertise).  You can read numerous articles on the internet.  I’ll also not bash or criticize people who give unsolicited advice.   After all, there are so many bashers and critics of this especially nowadays.  Just this morning, I browsed on the topic “unsolicited advice”, I clicked on one of the articles in that search engine.  That article alone produces, in one glance, around 7 more articles regarding the topic, and all of them shows dislike.  Cannot blame them, but at the same time, I sometimes empathize with people who give one.  Call me creepy or edgy or unpopular, but that is how I felt it.  


People who give unsolicited advice can be dealt with smoothly, and not IMMEDIATELY resorting to shutting someone up, blocking him or her from your list.  Unsolicited advice bashers, as I call it, are so many these days.  Maybe part of it is because their parents, guardians, people around them gave them so many advices, and they got fed up with being given one.  Because of this, I guess, when they had the chance and confidence to finally express themselves, they will cry “unsolicited advice”.  


Here are some of my scattered thoughts.  It’s up to you to take it or leave it or bash it.     

1)      If the unsolicited advice is light, it never hurts to say “thank you”.  Yeah, I know, especially smart ones don’t want to feed narcissistic people with compliments.  However, haven’t you thought that maybe lack of compliment and appreciation can also be the reason for certain narcissistic tendencies?  If the person is a true friend, he’ll like you more.  If the person is just your ardent critic, either you’ll win him or you gave him a pain in the neck because you’re not into his game.  Remember, if someone’s motives are shady, they’ll hate you for saying “thank you”.  If someone’s motives are noble or to the very least sincere, you earned a friend.  My point?  It’s not really all-you, it’s half-you and half-them if you know what I mean.              

2)      Not all people who give unsolicited advice perceived themselves as experts.  Yes, not all.  Sometimes, they just mentioned life as they learned it.  Now, if you are a truly smart person, you’ll discern unsolicited-advice-giving people who are just sharing, or just proving his dominance.

3)      If the unsolicited advice was given online or in a social networking site, you have the choice to ignore it.  People, if you have around 200+ friends in your social networking account, believe me, it will just be covered with one post after another.  You can also hide it.  If you have friends that really matter in your social network account, you’ll live the day not even seeing the post of your “unsolicited advice person”.  During the time that my wife and I are active in this social networking site, she never saw one of my posts.  She said that I was not hidden from her or blocked, and yet she never saw my posts.  Why?  Because she has thousands of friends in that account.     

4)      The truth shall set you free as they say it, but better be truthful to our own selves first why we felt irritated by unsolicited advice.  I never said that we must tell this admittance to them; it will make you vulnerable to manipulations by other people if you did just that.  My point here is that we should be honest in our selves WHY we hated certain unsolicited advice.  If we have identified the “why”, we can easily deal with the “how”.  If we keep on rationalizing our dislike and not admitting the real reason within ourselves, chances are, you’ll wrongfully deal with these kinds of people.  Unsolicited advice usually comes from people that you don’t endorse to give you one.

5)      Finally, be honest right from the start.  If you don’t like advice, say it ASAP.  If you’ll just be honest when you are irritated or angry, you’ll make a step that you will either regret.         


Maybe I am wrong in all points when I mentioned this.  However, what I am trying to say is that, annoying as these types of people are, there are other things we must be more angry, irritated than these annoyances.  In addition to that, what happened to the words “benefit of the doubt”?


This article is made as an alternate perspective.  Unpopular, but I hope it somehow made sense.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Open for Closure

When you’re given the chance to close something from your past (which needs to be closed), DO IT.


I don’t know about you, but I have noticed folks finding it hard to accept this practical thinking.  After all, the opportunity is there.  Nowadays, people are talking about “good vibes”, “moving on”, “looking forward”.  People are even mean on people perceived as bitter, in which the bottom line is not really because it is not good for your own soul, BUT because it is a waste of time and energy.  I agree in principle.   Nowadays, essays, short stories, novels, and even quotes are either downgraded or taken lightly despite of its potential plainly because the inspiration is personal.  In Tagalog, “may pinaghuhugutan”, and when a write-up is deemed “may pinaghuhugutan”, it somehow demeans the depth of a write-up, dismissing it as rants or just some bitter remarks.  The last sentence is a different topic which I promise to write the next time, but the point is this: people are shouting “move on” more than ever.  With these conjectures, another variable comes into mind: CLOSURE on certain things. 


Name it. Why did you need to break up?  Why did he/she have to leave?  Why did your parents get separated?  In case you’re an organization or church member, why did leaders need to decide that way?  Let us not be mean by saying the article is becoming personal (hence “not valid so shut up”), BUT I’m just giving you a more human, normal questions like pulling this stuff from the hat.  Closure is one of the elements that are needed in order for moving on to be smoother than the usual.     


When the answers were given to you, even if didn’t satisfy you, be open enough to accept their side of the story.  Take it as a closure on your part.  After all, there are other people who were not given that chance.  If they are telling the truth, it is good.  If they are telling half of the story, it is no longer you that needs closure; it’s them, and it’s their choice to live with it or do something about it.  Not all are given the chance to hear the other side of the story.


There are times that we were not given the chance of closure due to distance, circumstances, further conflict et al.  There are also times that people around us, whom we consider as authority or parental figures, are not allowing the closure even if the opportunity is already there.  Then, if there is really no chance for closure, take their words as wisdom: move on.  Well, we cannot quickly conclude something is a NO CLOSURE thing unless it is already there.  People around us, whether we admit it or not, influenced our feeling of necessity for closure.  Some people who imply their being strong will advise people to just move on without closing things.  Again, it is applicable when the opportunity is not there, but if there’s the opportunity.


By the way, your life or your loved ones’ lives being at stake for the sake of closure, in my opinion, is not an opportunity.  By its reason alone, it is a statement why closure is not meant to be.  For example, in case of relationship went wrong, if a person will endure further insults from the other party, he may extend his apology AND forgiveness, BUT must stop there when the other party is taking advantage negatively of your quest for closure by barraging you with insults.  Maybe it’s not the closure that we wanted, BUT it is still closure.  If someone or a group of people will just further insult you for your past, then looks like the closure begins by closing your doors to these people; these people are your first closure if that’s the case (unless the ask for forgiveness for being dense).  This is not unforgiving spirit by the way; this is you forgiving yourself by not being hard on yourself (by surrounding yourself with people who just keeps on digging your pasts with no genuine concern for closure). If the person insulting you is the person you felt the need for closure, then take his or her insults and unforgiving-spirit inspired attitude towards you as closure.  Unforgiving spirit must not consume people who genuinely asked for closure and forgiveness; frankly, it must consume unforgiving people themselves.  Afterwards, close your connections and ties with them, unless a genuine change of heart happens to them.


Now, like I said, NOT ALL were given the chance for an actual personal closure.  Hence, whenever we encounter one, if our or our loved ones’ lives will not be at stake, please put down our pride on moments like that.  Grab the opportunity.  To the people who imply strength or act or is really a guidance counselor, psychologists etc., let us not be mean.  Moving on is more effective when there is closure, especially closures that are just within reach.  Your job begins if actual, personal closure are not visibly there.


If this opportunity was not given to you or was deprived from you, this is not a perfect world.  Let us move on with our life.  After all, the word “closure” implies “moving on” if you read it carefully.      



Thursday, January 30, 2014

WHO will say if a thing is a big deal?

In organizations, if I may call it, there are really people who call the shots.  We call them CEO, the leader, the Big Boss, or the Boss.  Whether we admit it or not, even in peers or circle of friends, there are really particular people in these circles who call the shots.  Where shall we go or not go?  Which out-of-town places will it be the next time around?  Shall we ignore this person or not?  Shall we make friends with this particular group of people or not?  Now, I’ll go specifically to this question: is this situation, event, social dynamics big deal or not?  The answers to these questions normally lie on a person that is unofficially their leader.


Is this wrong per se?  I feel that I am not in authority to answer that question in a larger picture.  However, what I know is that it is normal for some people to be blessed with charisma and leadership qualities that will make even their very own friends follow them.  This is a gift actually, hence the word “charisma”.  Having that gift of calling the shots do wonders, unite organizations, and even bind families to organize family or clan reunions.  Well, by personal implication, it is not wrong per se.  The problem lies when certain people intentionally or unintentionally began to feel they have the monopoly on what is a big deal or not.     


A theology professor once shared to me a situation in which man has an ability to put a positive impression of his own self when he did a certain act, and a negative impression if other people did that very same act.  For example, we see ourselves as a competitive person as manifested in certain actions, but if another person manifested those same actions, we, for some reason, consider that person as a sore loser or too proud to affect defeat or other terms.  This is similar on what we are trying to mention: we tend to make what we feel and our negative reaction as big deal, and yet consider other’s rationale of their own negative reaction as just being either “sensitive” or “just a SMALL thing”.  THIS, by the way, is still not wrong per se.  There are really people who were trained either by experience or by education to view things almost clearly that they have the credibility in specific areas, including certain life experiences.  Now, here is the negative tendency will come in: if these people already consider themselves, either intentionally or unintentionally, as that proverbial authority and others are just proverbial small timers.  When that happens, it is PRIDE. Plain and simple.  And pride goes before destruction, as the Bible says. 


However, we must understand that we must not use imprecatory statement or prayer on people who act this way.  Instead, as Christians, we must pray for these people…and our own selves as well. Why include our own selves?  Maybe what they said is indeed a big deal, and we are saying are really just petty things.  And circumstances and events will prove these things whether it is your words or his.  If it is them, it’s up to them if they will remain in their stubbornness or finally realize things.  If it is you, we must raise our hands in surrender and say, “we’re wrong”.  In addition, this is easier said than done, but a good reminder: these things must be mentioned when you are deadlocked in this situation.  However, this must be done with respect, regardless if he is your boss, your mother or father, your big sibling, or of the same level. 


One’s “big deal” will only be considered a “big deal” when God’s Word (through the Bible), the events, and circumstances that God had given are crying out loud, saying, “it is a big deal”.  When it’s not yet happening, let us just sit back and relax, and do the things that we ought to do as a responsible human being. 


Besides, making a big deal out of those people who feel they have the say which one is a big deal makes you a person trying to make a big deal out of those people who feel they have the say which is a big deal.  You’re borderline pathetic if you stick too much on that.