Earlier this week, I attended the memorial service of Dr. Lim Hock Siew. In the prime of his life, he was imprisoned for 20 years. Dr. Lim was rightly acknowledged as a freedom fighter of Singapore. He sacrificed his personal freedom to uphold his moral conscience in his fight for freedom and democracy for Singapore.
Though he was physically in prison, his spirit was free. In contrast, many of us may be physically free but we are emotionally, psychologically or spiritually, in the prisons of pride, anger, greed, lust, addiction to power and the desire for control.
We try to live in a world in freedom from our Creator but only to find ourselves enslaved by our primitive emotions. It is thus not surprising to read Chris Hedges’ most perceptive analysis of the current state of our world:
“We now live in a nation where
doctors destroy health,
lawyers destroy justice,
universities destroy knowledge,
governments destroy freedom,
the press destroys information,
religion destroys morals,
and our banks destroy the economy.”
All the bad news of political, religious, financial and sexual scandals reported in our mass media are but symptoms of our increasingly spiritually impoverished world. When we lose our faith in our Creator as our Heavenly Father, we live in a Fatherless world. We forget that we are creatures of a Creator of Love. Everyone seek to do what is right in their own sight and worship their own idol.
We have no answers to the devastating illnesses such as cancer, natural disasters like tsunanmis, horrific tragedies of war and the suffering of the innocents. But we can choose to respond to all the difficult situations we face in life as an invitation to draw us back to the embrace of our Heavenly Father or to use them as an excuse to draw away from God and to live our lives in our way.
We need to seek the Truth for it is the Truth that will set us free. Jesus told His disciples that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. But what does it mean to see Jesus as the Truth? During his trial before Pilate, Jesus responded to Pilate’s question, “so you are a king?” with the following answer:
“You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.”
Unfortunately, Pilate was unable to understand what Jesus was trying to tell him and asked, “What is truth?” Henry and Tom Blackaby made the point that in the presence of Christ, the truth of every situation differs from the purely human perspective. They noted that the world’s perspective on any situation is suspect because the world does not understand the truth. Furthermore, the world cannot understand our faith in Christ who is the Truth.
The cross of Christ echoes the lament of the prophet Jeremiah and shows us the heartbreaks of our Heavenly Father:
“I hurt with the hurt of my people.
I mourn and am overcome with grief.
Is there no medicine in Gilead?
Why is there no healing for the wounds of my people?”
At the same time the cross of Christ brings us the good news that we can be freed from the prisons of our egos. When we crucify our egos on the cross and enthrone Christ in our hearts we will live as new creations with Him as our King. We will then understand that to live is to love and to love is to lose but to lose is to live. Only then will we will be able to get our priorities and values right. Only then will we be able to get our priorities and values right. Only then will we be able to see God’s ways in the events of life that seem so unjust or does not make sense. Only then will we rise up to the challenge to be the light and the salt in a messy and decaying world.