“Our lives begin to end when we remain silent about the things that matter.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
It is our humanity that makes us human beings, when we lose that, we are no better than animals. I have tried to remain silent, to let the issue pass, to sit in my own bubble and stew in my opinions, but it’s just not me. I was taught to stand up for what is right, therefore, I will.
I am a Christian. I was born in a Christian family, practically raised inside the church. I know the Bible, I love God, and I love Jesus. I am also a Filipino–a wholehearted, full-blooded Filipino–a Filipino who cries for his country, whose heart bleeds for his people.
Manny Pacquiao is also a Filipino, he is a Filipino boxer, turned congressman, turned senatorial candidate. He has no background in law, aside from a Certificate Course in Development, Legislation and Governance (which if you ask me, is not enough to qualify you to run for ANY government positions). He is also a Christian.
A few days ago, when asked what he [Manny Pacquiao] thinks of gay marriage, he said gay people are “worse than animals”. He always clings to the Bible, to his faith, to the Scriptures, which I understand. The Bible is the truth by which we stand, the base of all we believe in. It is the irrefutable, immutable, and incontrovertible Word of God. It is truth, plain and simple. What I don’t understand is when “Christians” use it to hurt other people who do not believe in the same things they believe in. What I cannot stand for is when “Christians” twist Scripture to fit their own belief, and way of life. What I don’t understand is when “Christians” become bible-bashers and self-righteous. See, we Christians have a tendency to be so wrapped up in the law that we forget that Love [Jesus] was sent down so that He may bear the punishment of the law, and so that we might experience grace, and mercy, and forgiveness, and love.
Let me be a little theological here:
Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death.” So this means that we are all in the same boat, we are ALL sinners. We have ALL fallen short of the glory of God, therefore we ALL deserve death. But the second part of Romans 6:23 says that “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” God, who is love (1 John 4:8) by the way, sent His only Son to the WHOLE world (not just for a chosen few, not just for straight people, not just for Jews or Christians, but to EVERYONE), so that He [Jesus] might die in our place, because we are ALL SINNERS, so that He might bear the weight of our sin, of our punishment, of our judgement, and of our condemnation. We have all sinned. Therefore, we ALL receive the gift that is Jesus. Simple. The truth of Salvation is simple: Jesus was sent here to take our place on the Cross, so that we won’t be condemned, punished, or forsaken.
So, we’ve established that WE ARE ALL ON THE SAME BOAT. We are all sinners and therefore, we all deserve punishment. But Jesus stood in our place, He stood in the gap, and saved us. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8. Thus, there should be no issue, no separation of treatment for those who have accepted Christ as their Lord and those who have yet to know Him because as Christians, and I’m sure all Christians know this (because you should), it is our job to show them who Jesus is. And the best way to show people who Jesus is, is to love them like Jesus loves.
I can throw verse after verse after verse, parable after parable after parable, story after story after story, and encounter after encounter after encounter, of how Jesus showed people who He is by loving them and by forgiving them, but one story I have always loved in particular is the story of the woman caught in adultery (found in John 8:11).
The story goes that the teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in front of Jesus a woman caught in the act of adultery. The Pharisees are experts on the law (they were, after all, religious leaders) and so they said that the law of Moses states that any woman caught in adultery must be stoned to death. Jesus, being all-knowing, knew what the Pharisees were really trying to do. They were trying to trap Him, they wanted to see if Jesus would go against years of tradition and law, or if He would indeed stone the woman to death [and destroy his reputation of being loving and kind in the process]. Jesus in His wisdom and humility, started writing on the ground. He could’ve said to the Pharisees, “How dare you test ME, the Son of God?” But He didn’t, instead he wrote on the ground and stood up. And, the most surprising thing He said was this: “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7. And one by one, every Pharisee, every teacher of the law, every religious man, and every bystander left. Jesus, then, turns to the woman and asks: “Has no one condemned?” The woman, who must have been really shocked to see a Man of God, a teacher, talking to her, an adulterer. And, perhaps with all the strength she could muster, said, “No one.” And Jesus replied, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
See, the reason why I love this story is that it shows us who Jesus is. He is kind, and forgiving, and loving, but also very wise. He chose to win a soul rather than win an argument. And as Christians, I think that there is no better role model than Jesus; after all, we are His followers.
And so, to my passionate Christian friends, there is nothing wrong with being passionate, especially if it is for the Word of God, but remember the line between being lovers of Christ and teachers of the Law [Pharisees], understand the difference between grace and the law. Lovers of Christ are lovers of people. Teachers of the Law [Pharisees] only care about one thing, the law. You are either a lover of Christ–obeying Him, being a vessel of His grace, and a channel of His love–or you are a teacher of the Law–self-righteous, proud, and exercising judgement without consideration of grace. Whatever you choose to be, remember that the God you serve is love. And as His Word says: 1 Corinthians 13, “Love is patient. Love is kind.” Be patient. Be kind. You don’t always have to be right. For it is better to lose an argument and win a soul, than to win an argument and lose a soul.