“...no temptation has overtaken us except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear. But when we are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. ”
Nowadays, we observe that moral values are deteriorating and among them is the value of godliness and holiness. Saint Paul, in his letter to Timothy said that there will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. This current pandemic is pressing us, tempting us to give in and participate in the situation depicted above. Will we strive to be holy or are we going to compromise the principles of godliness just to survive and ‘live’?
Whenever we reflect on the virtue of godliness and holiness, most of us must be thinking that, “it is hard to be holy, I can’t be one. All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away and like sheep, we have gone astray; each of us have turned to our own way.
There are two common statements that we usually say or hear to justify mistakes or sinful actions: “sorry, tao lang,” or “sorry, I am not perfect.” Selfish Interest Nature (SIN) has always been embedded in us as human beings – challenging us and tempting us. It is a nature that we must personally wage war against. We must not look at it as a curse to dive into but a victorious journey towards a godly and holy life. While we fall here and there, our humanity taking over once in a while, we must strive to rise back up stronger and wiser - with lessons learned and mistakes to not repeat.
Remember the instances that we get frustrated for being tempted and suffered some consequences? Paul of Tarsus urges us that no temptation has overtaken us except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear. But when we are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. We must hang in there and understand that what we are going through is a process and that we are a work in progress. Keep in mind that in the most difficult times, we can kneel and pray for God to give us the strength of will and character to say no to every temptation.
In these times of pandemic, are we being enticed to lie, cheat, steal and do something that is contrary to what is right? Are we tempted to falsify documents to gain more money and advantage for ourselves? Are we on the brink of doing something risky, such as, “kumapit sa patalim,” because of dire need? Are we going to compromise? To what lengths shall we go to satisfy our human needs? Will we fight with all our might to withstand all temptations and work our way towards holiness and godliness or the other way around? Fight will all our might to satisfy our flesh?
In our lifetime, there will always be opposing choices that we need to live through. The battle between good and evil is always present and only one will be victorious in the end. We have learned and heard more than enough to figure out which side is going to win. If we try to recall, in everything and in every circumstance, God has given us the freedom to choose. Where we are right now and the principles we uphold is a result of what we chose to do in the past. Let us choose to be godly and work our way towards holiness. My choice. Your choice. Our choice.
Finally, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. God has called us from darkness into His marvelous light. We are His chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation and His special possession. (MAT, CRFV)
Peter asked Jesus, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times."
According to John Hopkins Medicine, forgiveness has a significant benefit on our health: Studies have found that the act of forgiveness can reap huge rewards for our health, lowering the risk of a heart attack; improving cholesterol levels and sleep; and reducing pain, blood pressure, and levels of anxiety, depression, and stress. As we are concerned about our health, we have to render forgiveness to the offender and ask and receive forgiveness from the one we have offended.
In the scripture, Peter asked Jesus, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times." Jesus' response means forgiveness is not being numbered, and it has to be given when asked for it. Such teaching of Jesus is called counter-culture as it goes against the norm of most people in the society: Wherein three strikes and you are out, and two of the same offense by the same person is too much. However, obedience to Christ's teaching on forgiveness has to be live with as it paves the way to his abundant blessings. Apostle Paul also advised: "Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you"
Furthermore, in order to render forgiveness easily, we should not keep a grudge against a wrongdoer. Let us do ourselves a favor by setting it free from any added inner turmoil or stress due to offense caused by a friend, colleague, neighbor, or family member. Life is already full of challenges; we should not add it up by nursing a grudge against somebody. Truthfully, forgiveness is giving our right to hurt, for our good and well-being, though we have the power to do so.
The Council for the Restoration of Filipino Values espoused on the following four phrases in asking for someone's forgiveness, we say: "I am sorry; please, forgive me; I will not do it again; what can I do to make things right"; as such, has to be practiced sincerely. As a result, we will experience healing, peace, and freedom as we ask for forgiveness and forgive those who have wronged us. Finally, Joanna Fuchs' poem "Forgive" encourages each one to:
Forgive someone. Today forgive.
Turn from bitter to positive.
End frustration, anger, pain;
Wash the anguish from your brain.
“If My people who are called by My Name shall humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will heal their land”.
A known, motivational speaker once said, “The way to go up is to go down”. It sounds an absurd and unfathomable concept but there is a degree of truth in this statement. It conforms to the truth that he who humbles himself shall be exalted. Rather looking at it antithetically, we must look at it correspondently. The more we exercise humility, the more doors open for us for promotion. Promotion, in this manner, does not only refer to position, rank, or status. It also refers to better and improved state of life.
The resulting effects of humility as identified above is more than just a mere philosophical and logical pronouncement. It is a principle that we often experience in real life and was proven helpful in many instances. It is a key element for favor, forgiveness, restoration, reconciliation, guidance, and help. We have heard certain stories where people were confronted of their misconduct but instead of humbling themselves, they were even more arrogant and hostile. In effect, neither consideration nor compassionate justice were rendered to them, and instead, the corresponding punishment.
In like manner, a person who committed a sin cannot be restored unless he or she manifest humility and repent. Further, persons who are in conflict will hardly reconcile if none of them will humble and concede to one another regardless of rightful position. Guidance and help will not also be granted to those who are haughty. These adverse effects of being proud and insolent rather than being humble are axiomatic. The tragic fate of angel Lucifer is just an example.
Applying the value of humility in this time of adversity is very essential and needful. We have known of God’s promise which has been reminded to us throughout the land since the start of the pandemic. It is being flashed on television channels and is being broadcasted on radio stations. It is explicit: “If My people who are called by My Name shall humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will heal their land”.
God is specific on his requirements for the healing of our land. One of which is humility. Emphatically, there exists a clarion call for humility to all Filipinos. We must admit – we cannot do it alone. We need the aid of the Almighty God. We should implore it over and over again. As Saint Paul once said, “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, so that in due time He may exalt you.”
Consequently, if we learn how to humble ourselves before God as a nation, we can humble ourselves before men as a nation. With humility, we can strengthen our ties and diplomatic relationship with other countries without sacrificing our national sovereignty, territorial integrity, national interest, and our right to self-determination. As it was written in our Constitution, we adhere to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations. (NAS, CRFV)
The word faith is derived from the Latin term fides which means confidence or trust. To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see. During these trying times, faith is what we need most to go through the days. It holds us in one piece amidst the chaos, the turmoil left and right, and the hopelessness going round about. Faith gives us hope that all these will come to pass, and that there is a better tomorrow coming our way.
Faith can make a great impact on us if we allow it to be one of our virtues. No highs or lows could ever trouble us if we develop the gift of faith. Men and women of old have countless recounts on faith that we can also experience if we believe. We believe because God first believed in us. As we believe in Him, His faith will operate in our lives that can result in great and mighty things, far greater than we can think of or imagine.
What can faith do to us? Faith increases our understanding and revelation on the creation and the Creator Himself. It opens our eyes on the all-powerful, all-mighty attributes of God; Looking at the life of Abel, faith allows us to please God and it is an indispensable ingredient that makes our offering a better sacrifice; Just like Noah, faith lets us heed warnings that could save our lives and the lives of others. It makes us experience a better life, or can raise us back to life just like Lazarus. Through faith, we are protected from the destroyer as recounted from the Passover, we can shut the mouth of the lion, quench the fury of flames, and escape the edge of the sword just like Gideon, Samson, David and Samuel; Faith allows us to obey and receive our inheritance and promises. It enables us to have offspring as promised, and pass on the blessings to them just like Abraham and Sarah; Faith allows us to pass the test, trials, and difficult circumstance knowing that God is with us and that He is more than able to turn our weakness into strength. Faith allows us to be bold and courageous to stand on the truth, administer justice, and refuse temptations just like Moses, the judges, and Joseph. Faith allows us to have vision and see the future that enables us to cross-over by tearing-down walls that divide and barriers that hinder.
If all our people live by faith, we can see and welcome the new dawn – where sin age is at its end, and the age of righteousness ruling the nation. That is why we need the faith of Jesus Christ where he believed that you and I are worth dying for. We need the faith of God trusting us that we can overcome the world because He has given us all that we need.
Let us increase our faith by hearing and hearing the Word of God. Act on our faith by believing, obeying, and doing. Cast out every doubt, fear, and disbelief. Let us be of great faith. Let God’s faith live and manifest in and through us. Let us anchor ourselves on the faith of Christ! (CGLG, CRFV)
CRFV Winning Team
A company of men and women who have committed their lives to the cause of national transformation.