Love Won? 

#LoveWins has been all over the net eversince the July 26 ruling of the US Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage in all states. Yet despite the “love” supposedly oozing out of the hashtag, what I got were criticisms for views I’ve long held. 

It’s true I do not agree with the ruling. My Christian upbringing and my faith and beliefs make me believe otherwise. I will not apologize for my faith. It is my stand. I believe it is wrong to turn marriage into something else it was not intended to be in the first place. 

But then does it mean I love my gay friends any less? Does it mean I disrespect them and will callously treat them refusing them my help if needed? By all means NO. My love and respect for them remains. I still hold on to my opinion that some of the best people I’ve worked with are gays. Being in Marketing, I’ve encountered a lot of creative, industrious and resourceful gay people and I’ve been blessed to have them as friends and be with their company. 

And if they need me, if their world crumbles, I won’t hesitate to lend a shoulder, a listening ear and any help I can give. 

But this doesn’t mean I agree or support same-sex marriage. The Bible is clear on its stand against homosexuality and as someone who believes in it completely I cannot and will not compromise beliefs just to fit the opinions of the majority or even just to fit in and be popular. 

I would rather endure persecution for my beliefs than live in comfort knowing I have sacrificed them.

So do I contradict my beliefs when I say I love and respect my gay friends but do not support same-sex marriage? 

No. I don’t. 

For just as the Bible gives clear lines against right and wrong so does it teaches me to love unconditionally. To love others as Jesus loves me. 

If Jesus could love and forgive a sinner like me then how much more should I love and forgive others? 

It’s hard to understand. Hard to comprehend. I know. In a world that advocates relativism of right and wrong, it becomes increasingly difficult to understand what love truly is. 

And as debates spring up across all corners of the globe over this ruling which can have numerous impact and repercussions for future rulings, I can see how love has really lost and not won. For when people start bashing each other over unpopular beliefs and for expressing seemingly contradicting opinions then it’s not love that’s displayed but hatred, narrowed-mindedness and disrespect. 

The Garden

The first instance where Jesus shed his precious blood for us was at the Garden of Gethsemane. This was where he went to pray on the night he was betrayed and captured. 
Read the account of Luke (Chapter 22:39-46). 

Luke, a medical doctor, recorded how Jesus shed drops of blood while he was praying in deep agony. If you think this is impossible, think again. There is a medical condition called hematohidrosis which is the sweating of blood in moments of deep pain and agony. 

Why was Jesus in pain? 

Jesus knew that he would soon be crucified. He knew the fulfilment of his mission on earth was drawing near. It’s like a convicted felon knowing that his death sentence would soon be carried out. 

But unlike any other criminal, Jesus was innocent. 

Jesus knew that before his crucifixion, he would be tortured, whipped and mocked. He knew he will suffer. 
And to top it off, he knew he would suffer alone. His disciples, whom he called friends would desert him. Even at the last hour, when his body is broken, his Father in heaven would turn His back on him. 

It was too much to bear for any man.  Jesus was both man and God. He can identify with human emotions. 

Jesus Prayer

When Jesus prayed, he said, “Father, if you are willing take this cup away from me. Yet not my will but your will be done.” 

Knowing all he knew, was Jesus looking for a way out? Certainly not!
Jesus was asking that God the Father took away fear from Him. He was asking that God strengthen him for the task that lays ahead. That’s why after the prayer an angel came to strengthen him. 

Jesus acknowledged that God was supreme and no matter how difficult it was, he still wanted to obey God’s will. 

The first shedding of blood at the garden was to free us from our disobedience. 

The first sin happened at the garden of Eden. Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit. They obeyed their own will and disobeyed God’s will. 

Now Jesus, who is also called the second Adam will correct that wrong. He obeyed God’s will and disregarded his own. 

What a fitting scene that it too shall happen in a garden! 

And now we are called to do the same. 

Having been freed from disobedience, we are called to obey God’s will for us. 
We need to resist temptation- the serpent who whispers in our ears to stop believing; to disobey. 

In Matthew 27, Jesus told his disciples to pray so that they won’t fall prey to temptation. 

Oftentimes it is hard to obey God because we cannot believe His plans. We have difficulties believing He can prosper us. We find it hard to let go of certain things because our trust in Him fails us. 

Yet we know we need to increase our faith. How do we  do it? We start killing our fears. We need to let go of our fear of not being able to survive or let go of our doubts if indeed the impossible is possible. 

Fear terminated  is faith activated.

And when we feel as if the burden is too heavy for us; when we feel we are weak and struggling; then it’s simply time we cast it all upon God.

A practical way to do this is by becoming a true disciple. Read the Bible daily. Pray. Seek God. Glorify and worship Him. Honor Him with our time, money and talents. 

Jesus has saves us from the consequences of our disobedience. It’s time we live a life of obedience. 

The Unlikely Ascent to Presidency

Whenever I tell people I want to become President of the Philippines someday, they ask me – then why are you not in politics or any politically related career right now? They think that I ought to be running for barangay chairman at the very least or if not working as part of someone’s cabinet. 

But despite my ever nagging desire since childhood to serve at the topmost position in the country, I have also this predisposition that it won’t happen in a conventional way. 

It won’t be because I am born of a political family. It won’t be because I have demonstrated aptitude in political office for X number of years. It won’t be because I am a veteran at politics and all the traps that come with it. 

No. Rather, it will be because God says so. 

Pretty far fetch for the most pragmatic mind right? Many would argue to leave God out of it. That roots, connections and lots of money are what is needed to win a presidency. But I disagree. 

In fact, I wouldn’t want the position if I know for certain that God is not with me. For without Him, I would be walking into a death trap. I would probably be swallowed alive by a system so corrupt many have lost faith in it already. 

But I haven’t. I believe that the Philippines can be turned for good. That like her ASEAN neighbors she can also rise from the ashes and ascend to a glorified spot at the top. Already, we know we have one of the fastest rising GDP in the region. Shocking if we take a look at the seemingly non-improvement of the lives around us but economics tells us that we are on the rise. 

As I mull over how in 4 election cycles I will be qualified to vie for Presidency, I am struck at how the current Presidential 2016 elections is fanning out. 

A year ago many dreaded that the only vocal – and most likely to win candidate – was Binay. Those who opposed him dug up so much dirt to mar his image to the doting public  that many were disillusioned with him. The impact was made regardless of the many counter measures the Binay camp attempted. After carefully placing his pawns in place during the previous elections, he now threads on precarious waters. 

And yet, majority concur that his chances of winning remain high. The other candidates are equally marred and the public are also disillusioned of what they can do. 

However from this seemingly lose-lose situation comes a beacon of hope – Grace Poe. A quiet politician who ran for Senate and emerged at the top. She did her job well serving as MTRCB Chief and many recognized her silent fortitude. The fact that she was also fighting to clear the name of her deceased father, Fernando Poe aided to her cause. Despite the reservations if she will make a good lawmaker, she proved herself time and time again to be a brilliant and humble public servant. 

Now, as someone who has captured the public’s heart, she is eyed to be one of the contender for Presidency. And not just some contender but someone with the seal of trust of the current President as someone who can continue his projects. That endorsement would go a long way to securing Poe a seat in the Palace for despite criticisms against PNoy, many still contend that he has done more good than harm for the country. 

This is in stark contrast to her possible opponents – Binay and Mar Roxas to name a few. Both Binay and Roxas through years of political career and strategic planning have planted in various places people who will aid them to their cause of being president. They are your traditional politicians. Note: I am not using trapo here to mean a negative thing. It’s just that they are your typical politicians who slowly but surely rose up the ranks. They played by the book. And now they are eyeing the top spot. 

Grace Poe didn’t play by the book. She didn’t rise up the ranks of a political career. She has no people in strategic positions. She does not come from a political family. She’s not someone with an arsen of resources she can use to ensure she wins at all cost. She’s a wildcard entry. Yet being one, she is a welcome breath of fresh air. 

In the Bible, there are many stories of unlikely ascent to power. 

There’s Joseph from Genesis who despite being a slave and prisoner found himself to be the second most powerful man in Egypt second only to Pharaoh. There’s Saul, Israel’s first king who was simply looking for his father’s lost donkeys when Samuel saw him and made him king by the Lord’s prompting. And there was David who was a shepherd, faithfully guarding his flock from wild animals and showing bravery to fight the giant Goliath. He was soon selected as king by the Lord. 

As the Bible said, God doesn’t look at outward appearances. He doesn’t measure the same way we measure. God looks at the heart. He sees what is inside. He sees the desire. And if we take delight in Him then surely He gives us the desires of our heart.