If you haven’t notice, each time our Christian faith is challenged, you do not see any angry rebuke. There is no NGO that crops up like mushroom, bearing weird names using races and religion to protest.
We do not see individuals screaming, with headbands running on the streets.
We do not see retaliation.
We do not see emotional outbursts.
You only see a few church leaders of major denominations speaking up.
You only see grace.
You see Jesus living in them.
We are trampled on. We are mocked. We are misunderstood. We are threatened.
But we shoulder on.
Yesterday, as part of my work, I was in this room with many, many church leaders. Some of them I know. Some know my name and had met me several times eventhough they are not from our Catholic church. Some look too young to be pastors.
But they have one thing in common. They came because they need to come together as followers of Christ to state they we have been misunderstood.
I prayed like I have never prayed before. We ask for God’s shelter and protection. We ask for peace and harmony. Is that too much to ask?
Why do we have to keep on giving, forgiving and accepting? Because that’s Jesus. His teachings said so.
Before the Sarawak election, Christians were treated like gold. They promised us no more problems with Bible in Bahasa Malaysia. Now that the election is over, that has been quickly forgotten.
Now, even a simple prayers in a closed door dinner can become national issue. Everyone must have their say in it. And what angers me is not only the lie spun by some unknown blogger whom the mainstream media Utusan took as gospel truth. What anger me is how even amongst Christians, they can doubt. Our church leaders have come together and if they said it is not true, we believe because they are led by God and Jesus doesn’t allow us and them to lie.
I find solace in this. Of course, I read the New International Version and Bahasa Melayu Bible but I love the King James version too because it makes me feel like I am so clever to read old English. For me, whether we like our church leaders as individuals or not, we have to trust they are the shepherds appointed by the Good Shepherd to take care of the flock. If we can’t believe them, and instead believe in politicians, then, you can stop calling Jesus My Lord. Instead, you can worship the politicians and call your religion politics instead of Catholic.
7Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
8All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.
9I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
10The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
11I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
Then again, don’t be naive and say that these church leaders shouldn’t be near politicians and be seen as leaning against any side of the big divide. Religion and politics somehow have to come together, whether we like it or not. After all, at the end of the day, the one who is going to care for the people are the people in government.
Bah! We Christians have taken lots of flaks. We rarely get any accolades for the good we have done. We get into headlines for the wrong reasons. We are portrayed as evil people practising cultish act of praying to become Prime Minister. Stupid enough? I suppose not yet. More accusations will be hurl at us simply because we always took it with grace and mercy.
Jesus never died as a hero. So, we Christians too shouldn’t expect too much. You will never ever see headlines on Utusan like ‘Penganut agama Kristian membantu mangsa (etc etc)’ or ‘Penganut agama Kristian menyumbang (etc etc etc)’. Forget it, not that we care for credits for our rewards are in Heaven.
So, bring it on, pile on us all the lies, misconceptions, suspicions and more because our Lord suffered more and nothing is too difficult for the people who walks in the light. In Romans :
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[j