Wednesday, June 21, 2006

God's Love (3)


Each time when I read the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Lk. 15: 11-32) and reflect upon the father's unconditional and faithful love towards the son, it never fails to impact and touch my heart.

When we read about what the son has done towards the father (demanding for his share of property and leaving his home and country), we could easily picture the father reacting (or overreacting) angrily when the son returned. Perhaps no one would have blame him if he refuses to accept his son's apology. But to everyone's surprise, the father was overjoyed when he saw his son returning. Even when the son was still far off, the father ran towards his son, putting his arms around him and kissed him. And when the son was reciting his prepared confession speech, the father was not even paying much attention to his speech! Rather, he was busy instructing the servants to dress his son and prepare a celebration feast for him. The father was more concern about the well being of his son rather than his wrongdoings.

Often times when we sin against God, we tend to picture an angry God who is very upset over us for violating his holy laws. Therefore, we keep repeating our prayers of confession hoping that God will eventually 'cool down' and accept our apologies. Yet, our heavenly father's love is like the love of the father in the parable. God's eyes are fixated on us rather than our wrongdoings. God is sad and angry when we sin against him simply because our wrongdoings fracture our relationship with him. Like the father in the parable, when we repent from our wrongdoings, God is overjoyed and excited. Rather than turning his back against us, we can be sure that he will 'run' towards us and put his arms around us.


Saturday, June 17, 2006

God's Love (2)


When a person who is a serial rapist or an ex-convict walks into your Christian community, how will you respond? Will you welcome him with open arms? Will you love him the same way you love your other fellow believers? Or will you treat him using a different standard because of what he has done?

If we truly believe that God's love is unconditional, that his love is not determined by our efforts; then it is logical to believe that God's love for everyone is equal. Whether the person is a faithful minister, a nominal believer or an unrepentant sinner, God's love for each one of them is the same. No one is being loved less or more than the rest.

As Christ bids us to love our neighbours with his love, we have to learn to love everyone unconditionally and equally. Our love towards the other person cannot be dependent on the person's performance or effort. This means that our love for those who irritate us must be equal as our love for those who love us. This also means that our love for our non-Christian friends must be equal as our love for our Christian friends, just as Christ's love for everyone of us is equal.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

God’s Love (1)


We often preach to others that God loves us and his love for us is unconditional (agape), that his love for us is not based on our performance or deed. We even appeal to the fact that he sacrificed his Son for us while we were still unrepentant sinners to prove that his love for us is not determined by our performance. Yet, further reflection caused me to realize that we actually find it hard to believe that God’s love is totally unconditional, that our actions do not affect the depth of his love for us at all.

Yes, God loves us. I believe that all Christians will agree with me. Yet, we tend to believe that God will love us more if we obey him and follow his ways. If we were to disobey and displease him, we tend to think that God would love us less compared to his love for us if we obey him. We find it difficult to believe that no matter how obedient or disobedient we are to him, the depth of his love for us is forever the same.

As a result, we feel good and safe when we are walking on the ‘right’ track, picturing God to show his approval as he looks at our performances. Yet, at times when we fall, we find ourselves struggling badly to pick ourselves up to resume our journey. We find it difficult to face God again for we assume that God must be very angry with us for violating his laws and must have turn away from us. Yet, let us remember the comforting truth that the depth of God’s love for us is the same before and after our falls and wrongdoings. If we fall, he does not turn away from us. Rather, he eagerly desires us to pick ourselves up from our fall and continue in our walk with him.

God’s love is never dependent on us. His love is unconditional.


Back to Business

After spending 6 days of learning and fellowship at the English Speaking Presbyterian (ESP) Discipleship Training School and another 5 days of further learning and fellowship with my community of friends at Cameron Highlands, I am back at my hometown (another 7 days before going back to STM, Seremban for the new semester). It has been a very fruitful and life-changing trip for me (Special thanks to Sherman, Ruth, Oliver, Ryan, Khaterine and Seem Yee for being contributors of my wonderful experience).

Also, after much 'struggling', I have decided to resume my blogging 'business' and will blog on a more regular basis ( I know, I know, some skeptical 'friends' are raising their eyebrows now). After much pondering, I realize that blogging is a very important and helpful exercise (for me) for several reasons:-
1. Blogging (Writing) helps me to solidify/concretize/crystalize my abstract thoughts and understanding about various issues.
2. Blogging helps to improve my English writing skill.
3. Blogging is a helpful spiritual discipline in nourishing my soul and refreshing my mind.

So, friends who call themselves my friends, feel free to encourage/persuade/threaten me if you see me M.I.A. in my blog.

I'm back to business!