Habang sinusulat ko ito, alam ko na marami na akong naging pagkakamali sa buhay. Mas madali rin kasing tandaan ang ating mga pagkakamali kaysa sa ating mga nagawang tama. Mas madaling bigyan ng pansin ang mga hindi natin nagawang tama kaysa sa mga nagawa nating mabuti.
Ang tanong ko ngayon ay: Bakit nga ba nagkakamali ang tao? Teka, Ano ba’ng mga pagkakamali ang ating tinutukoy? May mga mali tayo sa ating mga pagsusulit, hindi ba? Hindi naka-perfect sa exam kasi may mga maling sagot. Mayroon namang mali gaya ng maling paggamit ng isang bagay. Maraming klase ng pagkakamali ngunit ang nais kong bigyan ng pansin ay ang kasalanang moral. Ano nga ba ang mga dahilan bakit ang isang tao’y nagkakasala? Ilan lamang ang mga puntos na aking itataas.
May mga pagkakamali na ginawang tama ng ibang dibisyon o sekta. Iyon bang depende sa kanila kung ano’ng tama at mali. Mayroon tayong tinatawag na ‘black and white’ na pagkakamali – iyon bang alam mo na mali ito kahit hindi mo mabasa sa Bibliya. Isa rito ay ang pagpatay ng tao. May mga relihiyon na nagsasabing iyon ay hindi mali. Ngunit sa tingin niyo, kailan ba naging tama ang kumitil ng buhay ng tao? Pati ang pagkakaroon ng maraming asawa, kailan ba naging banal ang gawaing ito? May mga bagay kasi na mali na ginagawang tama ng iba.
May mga mali kang ginagawa na sasabihin mo na maliit lang naman kaya okay lang. Ang mga halimbawa nito ay ang pangongopya tuwing pagsusulit, pagkupit ng limang piso, pagmumura, paninigaw, pagsasabi ng mga ‘green jokes’, at marami pang iba. Ang isang klase ng depensa ay ang pagmumukhang tuwid sa halata namang mali. Halimbawa nito ay ang pakikipagtalik habang hindi pa kasal. Sinasabi ng iba na okay lang iyan dahil hindi ka naman nakakasakit ng iba o hindi kaya’y pakakasalan naman din o dahil iyon na raw ang uso. Kahit anuman ang gawing depensa, ang kasalanan ay kasalanan pa rin.
Para sa akin, ito na ang pinakamatinding dahilan bakit nagkakasala ang tao. Maraming nagsasabi na wala nang ‘choice’ kaya iyon na ang nagawa. Masakit man isipin, anuman ang ating sitwasyon, mayroon tayong kalayaan na mamili para sa ating sarili kung ano ang nararapat na gawin. Maaaring isang kahig isang tuka o hindi kaya’y may hinahabol na grado o malamang inutusan lang o maaaring natukso lamang, anuman ang iyong dahilan, mayroon kang pag-iisip kung tama ba o mali o pipiliin mo.
Tao lang ako, nagkakamali rin. Ito ay isang sikat na kasabihan nating mga Pilipino. Ngunit bilang isang tao, mayroon din tayong kaalaman sa anong tama sa mali at kalayaan upang piliin ang una. Anuman ang iyong dibisyon, depensa o desisyon, nawa ay matuto tayo sa ating mga nakalipas na pagkakamali. Tandaan natin na may katumbas na gantimpala o parusa ang bawat desisyon na ating gagawin sa buhay. Higit sa lahat, may Diyos tayo na pwede nating lapitan sa lahat ng oras — karunungan sa pagpili ng tama at kapatawaran sa nagawang kasalanan.
At kung inaakala ninyong masama na maglingkod sa Panginoon, ay piliin ninyo sa araw na ito kung sino ang inyong paglilingkuran; kung ang mga dios ng inyong mga magulang na pinaglingkuran sa dako roon ng Ilog, o ang dios ng mga Amorrheo na ang lupain nila ay inyong tinatahanan: nguni’t sa ganang akin at ng aking sangbahayan ay maglilingkod kami sa Panginoon. -Joshua 24:15
For lack of an immediate answer to this question at that time, I succumbed to the instinct of a true-blooded millennial and went to Mr. Google. What he gave me was a list of blogsites that feature psychologists trying to answer questions from concerned parents who are claiming that their children are getting addicted to social media. One sad story leads to the next, one question similar to the other. There were too many answers given but what I really got was an affirmation of the alarming exposure of our generation to social media, and how technology is being overused, if not misused by many. It happened too fast. I remember having a friendster account when I was in college, which I only get to access during my vacant time in school from a Windows 97 computer. Years later, smartphones were the next thing, people started editing photos using apps, and Yahoo Messenger had been forgotten. Facebook boomed like crazy, Instagram followed, not to mention Skype, Viber, Facebook Messenger and a whole lot more. All that is required is an iPhone or Android Phone and you’re good to go. Everybody “stays connected,” as Facebook puts it. It has always been technology’s role to make things easier people. Entertainment just comes next. These days, connecting with people is a must. This is probably why in a world that’s becoming bigger and more complicated, we run to technology to secure our own space in the circle. We want to be in the motions, right on top of the waves of changing trends and culture, trying to stay afloat for fear of being left out on the shore disconnected and alone. Or maybe we found a friend in technology itself, so dear a friend that we retreat to it for comfort after a bad day, we desperately search for it when we feel alone, and we plug a big part of our lives into it as if it has our ticket to the world. But could it be that we have made technology THE world and instead of getting connected through it, we get lost IN it? If you ask me, I’ve had many of those moments that made me realize I have gone too far and got lost.
The countless times when I bring my phone with me on the dining table, stealing precious moments that should have been for my parents.
Those times when I’m creating memories with friends but instead of conversing with them, my head’s busy thinking of a perfect status to post #AtTheMoment.
Those mornings when I give in to the urge of checking my Facebook account without realizing I’ve spent more time scrolling my newsfeed than praying.
And many more times when I missed precious moments, ignored many people, and dismissed more important things for some few–or many taps on the phone. Yes, I am guilty. Maybe in one way or another, we all are. Let me clear though that we might have different stories. This is not to say that everyone is a slave to technology, but I believe we are all prone to being one.
Now what is wrong with social media? I still don’t have a ready answer. It might even be acceptable to say that there is nothing wrong with social media or technology in general. “Acceptable” because it all depends on how we let technology work for us. After all, cellphones wouldn’t even function without batteries. Technology is a product of this modern world, but it will never be useful–or misused– without a user. So maybe the problem is not the phones or the stylish tablets in the market. It’s not a matter of whether we have social media accounts or not, or whether Mark Zuckerberg made a good decision of inventing Facebook. So where then lies the answer? Perhaps we can find it in a place Google can never reach–our hearts.
In one of his sermons, Pastor John Piper regarded the human heart as a thirst factory. We all thirst for many things: affirmation, attention, recognition, the need to feel accepted and loved. We thirst even for tangible things. With technology, we can share our lives to the whole world including our deepest longings and hurts, and find consolation in knowing that we are not alone. Sometimes we regard it as a space where we can create our own happiness or where we find short term entertainment. But in relying on something so temporary and perpetually changing as technology/ social media/ virtual friends to satisfy us, we might be losing sight of the true source of joy who promised to quench our thirst and satisfy our hunger. We might be forgetting that even if most of the time we feel alone in this world, Someone actually stays with us and will never abandon us and we can connect to Him anytime without getting rejected, ignored, seenzoned. We might be failing to see what He is giving us by grace each day because we’re busy measuring up our lives with bucket lists. We might not realize how the relationships He has blessed us with could suffer everytime we settle for virtual interaction than warm conversations in flesh. We might lose precious time with loved ones who would have known Jesus more if only we were more present in the real world and more sensitive of their needs. That person in front of us could have even brought us closer to His feet if we were just searching for joy at the right place. Somewhere between the real world and the world inside our phones we might be losing many things including our view of what is truly significant in light of eternity, and overlook to the point of ignoring the incomparable relationship we have (or could have) with Christ. We couldn’t afford to lose these things.
As God’s stewards, where we invest our resources–our time, talents, and possessions matter. It tells where our treasure truly is and where our heart goes. If I did a quick treasure check a few years back, I would probably not like where my heart followed. It would definitely not be on the things of God, at least not the whole of it. Yes, its not always easy to accept the truth about our tainted hearts. But in repentance, we can ask and trust God to create in us a pure one. We can ask Him to prune and cut off branches that do not bear fruit and to fill us in. For nothing and no one can satisfy more than Jesus. “I am the bread of life,” he says. He has given us–and we can take this literally–His all: He offered His own blood to redeem us from sin and gave us a new life and eternity. And that Day will come when all of us will stand before His judgement seat, each of us giving an account of ourselves to God. Believing in this truth, we find a more important question: Are we investing and making use of our time, energy, talents, wealth, possessions in light of that Day? Are we becoming good stewards of technology for the One who gave His all for us? What does our heart truly desire everytime we pick up our phones and gadgets?
Randy Alcorn, author of the book The Law of Rewards, points it well: “What you do with your resources in this life is your autobiography. The book you’ve written with the pen of faith and the ink of works will go into eternity unedited, to be seen and read as is by the angels, the redeemed, and God himself. When we view today in light of the long tomorrow, the little choices become tremendously important.”
As millennials today and reward bearers in the long tomorrow, may the choices we make in our lives and with our gadgets lead us, point us, and bring us always to Him.
For where our treasure is, there our heart will be also. (Matthew 9:21)
Carmela Ann Santos, TLW Volunteer Mel is a lover of written words, kids, and education. She values her faith, family, and her personal time. She dreams of writing a book, doing an interview with Mike Shinoda, and building her bookstore someday. Her favorite topics are faith, love, and others. She finds happiness seeing her loved ones happy. She wants to retire as a mobile teacher and spend the remaining days of her life in Batanes. Read more about her Writing Life at http://carmelameyla.wordpress.com
I want to ask you to prayerfully consider ways you might come alongside True Love Waits in the Philippines. You might sense a call to go yourself, or to send several core youth, or to cast the vision, to some adult groups in your church, or to place financial support before some believers with resources.
I place my full confidence in him. He will be a stellar partner with you. The TLW Team at LifeWay considers Derek one of the most strategic leaders for TLW in the world. You may contact him directly at [email protected]. If you have a heart for thenations, a heart for purity, and a heart for evangelism, all that can merge during a project with Derek.
Pray hard, then respond.
Richard Ross, PhD
Professor of Student Ministry
Box 22446 l Fort Worth, TX 76122
From Jimmy Hester –
True Love Waits Philippines is a vital part of the international focus of True Love Waits. From its beginning in the 1990’s, it has grown to become a voice for sexual abstinence in the Philippines and throughout the greater region of Southeast Asia. Underthe leadership of Derek Ross, God is using this gifted and committed staff of Filipino young adults in a mighty way to impact lives and model for other countries an effective approach to carrying God’s plan for sexuality to students.
Co-founder & Coordinator, True Love Waits
Retired Senior Director Student Ministry Publishing Lifeway Church Resources
From Randy Alcorn –
I’m happy to donate a copy of The Law of Rewards to supporters of the ministry of True Love Waits in the Philippines. True Love Waits is reaching out to the young and vulnerable with the message of sexual purity through the love of Christ. Jesus said in Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” May you look forward to your eternal reward as you place your treasure in the Lord’s work in the Philippines.
‘Sometimes, God redeems your story by surrounding you with people who need to hear your past, so it doesn’t become their future.’
WRITE THE SADDEST STORY YOU CAN USING ONLY FOUR WORDS.
Any average internet user (which according to most recent study on internet usage spends 13 hours online per week) must have come across this mini challenge that first landed on Twitter and soon adopted on Facebook and given it a shot. Ring a bell, folks?
I have read some responses online and some took it easy scrawling ‘Netflix account has expired.’ ‘The wifi doesn’t work.’ but some put their hearts on it and wrote ‘She loved, he left.’ ‘We are a mistake.’ ‘There was no us.’ among others. And these three sound sad to me.
If you have participated on this online exercise, do you mind sharing what story you have come up with? What writer have you turned yourself into? Have you written a sad, a really sad or a staggeringly sad story? I would love to hear them so feel free to keep them coming on our comments section.
Were this social media writing challenge given to 1800 poet John Greenleaf Whittier, he surely has something unbeatably sad to tell us. He wrote a poem called Maud Muller that tells about a young lady and a judge who are greatly attracted to each other to the extent of wishing to be together. Maud dreams of marrying the judge because of his gentleness and integrity and ultimately get rid of the impoverished job on the fields and be a wife of a rich and influential man. Same goes for the judge yet for totally opposite reason. He is exhausted of his career and simply wants to marry a simple and compassionate woman like Maud and live a prudent country life. But none of these happened. They do not speak up about their feelings- both unwilling to defy the extant social classing. Maud soon marries a man who does not make her happy and the judge gets into a loveless marriage. Both of them are miserable.
Two lines from final verse of the poem left us something to ruminate. No wonder this excerpt remains apparent generation after generation. Whittier wrote: “For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’” Take note, that is four words: IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN! Whittier got Twitter and Facebook instructions right.
‘It might have been!’ does not sound saddest to me right away. I keep on asking myself, pondering, listing reasons in my head. Believe me, it took me three countries before answers shine on me. I left Norway thinking about it, arrived in Denmark still asking God what made that statement painful. Left Denmark still clueless and arrived in France praying to figure it out soon. Coz I have a deadline to beat, not to mention, I am missing it.
Please do not get me wrong. I know exactly why the remark ‘It might have been!’ is saddest in the case of Maud and the judge. It is clearer than clear, it falls on the category of Love Unsaid. They did not try AT ALL. And forever, they would have to stand that unsettling voice in their head, ‘what if I tried?’
What I am fervently praying to God is to have me see how this four-worded story relevant to us-CHRISTians. And of course, He does answer prayers, in timing He knows best.
For you to see a vivid picture, there has to be a context. I got a message on Facebook in August from a dearly loved friend and it broke my heart. After just a week, there is another message from a church mate and it left me stunned. Then came the third message from a neighbor of mine who is six years younger than I am and this time, I am sobbing, pleading this is the last. The three messages seem to have been copied and pasted read: ‘I am pregnant Sads/Ate Sads. Please tell me, what will I do? I can’t go to church anymore’. Other details came, how things end up as they are, explaining here and there- in the atmosphere are remorse and confusion.
‘It might have been better if I didn’t enter in such premature relationship. ‘It might have been better if I held my guards and waited for marriage.’ ‘It might have been better if I didn’t disobey.’ Over and over, their hearts recite these with anguish.
‘It might have been’ may just be four words; but inside it are emptiness, shame, emotional torment and REGRETS. No one is novice to this feeling. At one point in this life, we found ourselves running away from God, taking over the captain’s seat and sailing on our own. There are nights of weeping, blaming oneself, feeling filthy and pathetic, regretting our disobedience repeatedly.
Committing pre-marital sex is just a single picture of disobedience; there are tons of ‘how’ we are disobedient to God. Yet, while there is nothing good about disobedience, God is always good. Undeniable how disobedience breeds only regrets and destructions but we should not overlook how disobedience magnifies God’s unfailing love and forgiveness. How amazing that God does not call us by how we disobeyed to Him rather by the holiness we have in Christ, all the time.
I see no other reason. I could find no other name for it. God’s GRACE is the sole thing that transforms our disobedience to happy endings. It is the only provision that turns our filthy stories to fresh beginnings. It’s love, mercy, hope and good future put altogether.
‘It might have been’ is not just a story of regret. It could be a story of repentance, of new walk in Jesus and a testimony of His glory. Our sins when kept in our hands are forever against us. They will forever taint us but when they are brought at the feet of the cross, our sins could speak of the greatest LOVE one could ever know, a love that forgives, saves and renews.
We do not encourage disobedience. This is to tell us that one disobedience could never turn right by committing another disobedience. It is what we do to our waywardness that would make a difference. We have to choose which direction to run. Shall we run away from God, carry the weight of our sins and self-destruct or shall we run towards God and let Him break and mold us? Every story in this universe can depict our triumph and His glory. It is never late to let God write your story. He awaits you to hand Him the pen.
Each one of us is a part of Christ’s body. We all have different functions. But we are called to be his hands and feet since we are all called to serve one another and to love one another.
TLW Stories are simply stories of volunteers and their experiences in helping Connecting Filipino Youth with God and His Plan for Absolute Purity. Each volunteer has a different story, different skills, different gifts and gifts. You were made for God’s Glory, you were made to tell your story.
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” ~ 1 Peter 4:10, NIV
My perception of love was once based with people, things or what had happened before. It made life complicated. I always had the feeling of something was missing. But by the time I knew the Author of Love and had a relationship with Him, the One who loved me unconditionally, I finally understood what real love was. Since then, I always had the desire to share this love with other people.
Just last July 15, I was given a privileged to join the Love Revolution Talk with that was held by True Love Waits PH at Marinduque State College. At first I’m kind of terrified since that would be my first time to talk and considering that we’re going to have at least 400 participants. But as how God promised that He will be with me all the time and He’ll strengthen me, by the grace of God, I did it. It’s also amazing how God provided beautiful people to support me and to encourage me, Ate Sugar, Je-an, Kuya Kim, Ate Krishna and Pastor Derek.
I admit that I’m so excited for the talk, I’m excited to share the real definition of love (since it was also my topic) and how love should be understood by people. I was also bothered before we started, because knowing the young people, I thought that they might get easily become bored. I was thinking how I can make it more interesting, but then again, God supplied all my needs, words came out and it was overwhelming how the students responded and participated during the talk. All throughout the talk, I saw how they became interested with all of the topics and how they enjoyed it. That was really an amazing experience. I saw God really move that day. We were kind of worried about lots of things; the weather, the sound system, the projector and even with the participants, but, Wow! Everything ran smoothly. Truly, God is good and always present.
We may find happiness with the love we received from around us, the students made us feel special but nothing is more perfect with the love that God Gives. Real love can only be found in Jesus and we need to proclaim and share how that LOVE can satisfy us all. ❤
Her story is like many, she was basically a good person. She did what she was supposed to do, most of the time. But like we’ve learned in True Love Waits, basically good people kind of need a savior. If we are relying on our good behavior to save us from our mistakes that God calls sin, then we might be in big trouble.
Natalie shared that her relationship with God was superficial. She wrote that when she entered college, she continued her pattern of how she was raised. She found a church to attend, joined a local ORG, and attended bible studies. For most people, Natalie looked like a pretty good Christian from the outside.
In August two of our True Love Waits Volunteers joined Natalie on FEBC DZAS Radio for an interview. Our two volunteers were Trish and Mel. Check the link below to hear DJ Dave Rutaquio go deeper into the lives of these three women. Dave’s program is Heartline Youth Edition and broadcast across the Philippines.
Natalie had some very uncomfortable challenges in her life including the death of her father, a career shattering physical accident and an encounter into some dark circumstances that were difficult to escape. Both Trish and Mel also experienced physical pain and the death of a family member.
Hear their stories here
Those of you who struggle with faith, we want to pass on some hope that especially in your darkest times when you don’t even want to believe God is there, He is with you and guiding you.
God will reward you and change your life forever, into one of great hope and joy and love.
Heartline Host Dave Rutaquio, Trish Santiago, Natalie Nation, Mel Santos and Sugar Pechardo