PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Friday, March 22, 2013

 

Lenten retreat reflection: Day 39 – Revisiting (my days of slavery in) Egypt

Since this retreat is about deep conversion through deep prayer, I thought it is but fair that I stop flogging myself for my sins, for a change, and start celebrating past victories, to remind myself that deep conversion is possible indeed.  Today, I choose to commemorate how God delivered me from the sin of judging or making rash and harsh judgments against people.

I remember a time when I was so careless with speech, having come from negative influencers, personalities who are quick-witted when it comes to making fun of others and mocking anyone who offends them. Their tongues cut like lances, to the delight of their listeners, young impressionable me included. Thankfully God showed me how this brand of speech, often laced with humor, is against His ways.

I can’t forget how, in grade school, I got my first taste of what non-Christians love to refer to as karma. My arch-rival in academics, V., one day came to school with a swollen lower lip, which was apparently bitten by an ant. Behind her back, I made fun of her lip together with another classmate I was close to who harbored animosity with V. like I did (out of academic rivalry). When I got home, I greeted my mother with, “Guess what, V.’s lips got punished today.” The next day, guess what happened to my lower lip?

A similar incident happened, again in grade school, when I made fun of another classmate who came to school with a swollen eyelid. Most probably, it was bitten by a mosquito, and her whole face really looked funny. Naturally, I laughed at her misfortune in her face. But what do you know,  the very next day, I got the exact same ‘punishment.’

The great turning point in my life came when I received a letter from my uncle all the way from the States scolding me for making a negative remark about my cousin who’s dangerously close to becoming an old maid. It was the first time I’d ever receive such a letter, which accused me of saying an objectionable comment against my cousin who was at the time having her first boyfriend. I admitted I made such a comment, and it was told as a joke, and the joke reached my uncle and is family on the other side of the world, but apparently the joke struck such a sensitive chord that it hurt so much. In fact, the whole family described my words as like a bomb dropping off the whole household. I was so humiliated and ashamed, though in my pride, a bit defensive, that I wrote them back a letter asking apology, although I had to add how regretful it was to exchange letters for the first time and the subject had to be that.

It was such a wringer I don’t want to go through ever again, although I am much too prone to commit it again and again because of my chosen profession of writing.
In my anguish/agony during those times, I kept on asking, Does God punish, is He a punishing God? Does he love exacting revenge? Or could it just be that the consequences of sin are inevitable? Could it be that it’s the law of the universe that, for every action, there’s a corresponding reaction?

At this point, I am bound to believe the latter more. If we extend the statement, it should also be true that the consequences of other people’s actions are likewise inevitable. If we are sinned against, then it follows that we will suffer from the sins/mistakes of others. This Old Testament statement therefore makes sense: “The sins of the father are visited/vested upon the son.” Notice that it is not even God who vests the sin on the son, for God is incapable of sin. What we perceive as our own punishment is, therefore, our own judgment on ourselves.

I came to this conclusion on my own, after considering how the Bible also contains a passage that says that the act of baptism effectively erases the sins of our fathers in us, which means the newly baptized Christian starts from scratch, as far as sinning is concerned. Nonetheless, the aftereffects of our forefathers' sins in us remain.

Meanwhile, where did my great compulsion to be rash and harsh and judgmental come from, apart from any inherited flaws? Learning from basic psychology, I know it could only come from what inside of me, projections of what I hate about myself, actions to make myself feel better because other people look far worse than I was.

These thoughts congealed when someone I treated as an intimate friend verbally abused me anew by berating me and describing my current situation as a "dead-end," and for me to "get a life," and so on. His rant came a time when I was feeling so low about my situation, so I got hurt. But I also saw my old self in him. The three stories above replayed in my head, and after that, I felt afraid for my ‘friend,’ afraid for what’s waiting for him because of his rash and harsh words. I was glad to have done my duty of fraternal correction, but I could only pray he might not get to the hellish place I had been through for committing the exact same mistakes in the past. 

Finally, it's good to realize that God has been dealing with me for so long, like a son He loves and cares about so much. There is comfort in the thought that, if God indeed "punishes," then He remains a loving Father in that he punishes only those whom He considers as children because He desires their salvation (unlike the 'uncaring' He displays with those whom He doesn't love and thus allows to be deluded by themselves on the sure road to perdition). Nevertheless, I wish I'd have more victories like this to counter all my past and present defeats in this great warfare of life.

Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]



Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home

Archives

01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004   02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004   03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004   04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004   05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004   06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004   07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004   08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004   09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004   10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004   11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004   12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005   01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005   02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005   03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005   04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005   05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005   06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005   07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005   08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005   09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005   10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005   11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005   12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006   02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006   03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006   04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006   05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006   06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006   07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006   08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006   09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006   10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006   11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006   12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007   01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007   02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007   03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007   04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007   05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007   06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007   07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007   08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007   09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007   10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007   11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007   12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008   01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008   02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008   03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008   04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008   05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008   06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008   07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008   08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008   09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008   10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008   11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008   12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009   01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009   04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009   05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009   06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009   07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009   08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009   09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009   10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009   11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009   01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010   02/01/2010 - 03/01/2010   03/01/2010 - 04/01/2010   04/01/2010 - 05/01/2010   05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010   06/01/2010 - 07/01/2010   07/01/2010 - 08/01/2010   08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010   09/01/2010 - 10/01/2010   11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010   01/01/2011 - 02/01/2011   02/01/2011 - 03/01/2011   03/01/2011 - 04/01/2011   04/01/2011 - 05/01/2011   05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011   06/01/2011 - 07/01/2011   07/01/2011 - 08/01/2011   08/01/2011 - 09/01/2011   09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011   10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011   11/01/2011 - 12/01/2011   12/01/2011 - 01/01/2012   02/01/2012 - 03/01/2012   03/01/2012 - 04/01/2012   04/01/2012 - 05/01/2012   05/01/2012 - 06/01/2012   06/01/2012 - 07/01/2012   07/01/2012 - 08/01/2012   08/01/2012 - 09/01/2012   09/01/2012 - 10/01/2012   10/01/2012 - 11/01/2012   11/01/2012 - 12/01/2012   12/01/2012 - 01/01/2013   01/01/2013 - 02/01/2013   02/01/2013 - 03/01/2013   03/01/2013 - 04/01/2013   04/01/2013 - 05/01/2013   05/01/2013 - 06/01/2013   06/01/2013 - 07/01/2013   07/01/2013 - 08/01/2013   08/01/2013 - 09/01/2013   09/01/2013 - 10/01/2013   10/01/2013 - 11/01/2013   11/01/2013 - 12/01/2013   12/01/2013 - 01/01/2014   01/01/2014 - 02/01/2014   02/01/2014 - 03/01/2014   03/01/2014 - 04/01/2014   04/01/2014 - 05/01/2014   05/01/2014 - 06/01/2014   06/01/2014 - 07/01/2014   07/01/2014 - 08/01/2014   10/01/2014 - 11/01/2014   11/01/2014 - 12/01/2014   01/01/2015 - 02/01/2015   03/01/2015 - 04/01/2015   04/01/2015 - 05/01/2015   05/01/2016 - 06/01/2016   07/01/2016 - 08/01/2016   08/01/2016 - 09/01/2016  

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]