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.