Time may Heal, but Does it Undo a Wrong?

CSLEWIS

As we come into Passion Week, we face the poignant truth of Christ’s crucifixion and our salvation. Facing this truth at times can be bewildering for the people who are ignorant of their sins or wish to spend Lent and Passion Week like they always do, for who likes facing their weaknesses? It is much easier closing our eyes on our wrongdoings than having to confess them, repent, fix, and keep the promises we have made to God. It is always easier to justify our sins, and it does feel better to grow a thick-skin to that stomach-aching feeling of guilt and remorse.

I can only imagine how God must feel when we refuse to face our sins and repent. I imagine it through a human experience when one is hurt and the one who inflicts pain refuses to acknowledge what they have done. Some inflictors try to ignore the problem as long as they can, hoping time would solve it some way or the other.

But the ones who’ve been hurt know– time can heal the wounds, but it cannot undo a wrong. If there is such a thing as undoing a mistake, it is by doing everything to make up for that mistake. By continuing to rebuild trust and walking the process of regaining hope with that person, is there a chance of putting back broken pieces together.

Yet, so often than not, do people hope that time will cancel their wrongs- as if hoping the broken pieces magically come together was the same thing as getting the glue, sitting down, and trying to get it together.

There is also another usual response from the troublemakers. “It has already happened. What am I supposed to do?”

Such a childish response, I have to say. At least children put on a guilty face.

What happened, happened. But what comes after makes a big difference. Apologizing and acknowledging a wrong is a start. Hopefully, the apologizing stems from a deeper conscience called guilt. Guilt recognizes that the pain inflicted on others, matters. In another words, “they” matter, not just “me”. That’s a big step. Then, what can help the healing process is fixing up. You cannot fix what has happened, but you can prevent the same mistake from happening twice. A house can be destroyed by water, but when it is rebuilt keeping in mind the weakness it had before, it can be made to withstand the next storm around.

We are no divine beings, but we can imagine how God must feel at our brazen attitude towards our sins. C.S. Lewis, that truly wise man, once said: “We have a strange illusion that mere time cancels sin.”

Time does not cancel our sins. It will not undo what we have already done. It will not help God forget our shame, nor will it come to pass when God somehow ignorantly finds favor in His eyes. I imagine God sitting on His throne, looking down at each of us, His sight piercing right through our stubborn brick souls. God is a loving God, and He is waiting to forgive us- but do we seek it?

Though man has his whole lifetime to learn how to forgive, God forgives at the blink of an eye. He gives without remembering our past. Though between a man and a man, it requires a constant and proving to rebuild trust- between God and man, it is a different story.

The Bible teaches us about God’s grace, that ultimate grace that no man can give.

  • Isaiah 43:25-26 “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.  Review the past for me, let us argue the matter together; state the case for your innocence.

  • Acts 3:19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,

  • Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

This Lent season, why not take time to reflect yourself through the Bible? Though man cannot make us anew, nor self nor any other worldly teaching, the Lord can and will. He will wipe our sins like snow, and He will remember them no more. The only truly healing comes through repentance, and only by rebuilding your relationship with God can you find true peace in your life.

Negative Feedback: How are you at self-control?

Negative Feedback, or sometimes called Negative Feedback Loop (NFL), occurs when the final result of a system affects the operation of the process itself in a way that it reduces the overall change in the system.

Negative feedback is a self-regulating process, adjusting the parts of a system to maintain stability of the whole system. Regardless of the direction of the external force, negative feedback occurs in the opposite way to reduce the effect of fluctuations. The most important aspect of any negative feedback loop is that the loop reacts to counter-balance, rather than reinforce, any changes coming in from the ambient environment.

Negative feedback system is really common phenomenon in our daily lives. For instance, many public policies, such as counter-inflationary action of Fed Reserve, are designed to be homeostatic in that they system activate automatically in response to changes in the condition they are supposed to regulate.

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The importance of this self-control process is emphasized in many verses in the Bible. The fruit of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 stands out as characteristics all Christians must have. The Bible tells us that self-control is something can be taught, learned, acquired and practiced.

Peter urged the Christians in Asia to exercise self-control in addition to their faith (2 Peter 1:6). It is important to keep in mind that we, Christians, must grow in wisdom to the point that we can apply God’s words to the various situations we face daily; we acquire this self-control as we become more and more familiar with God’s words.

How are you at self-control? Are there things in your life that need immediate improvement?

Don’t just let the things go, nor merely say you wish you could change some time later in your life. Remember, as mentioned several times in the Bible, it is self-control that enables us to have other aspects of the fruit of the Holy Spirit to our lives. Jesus exemplified in His life and Paul strongly encourages us to exercise in ours throughout the Bible. If we are to be made in God’s image, we will yield to God in this matter to glorify Him with our temperance in all things and rigid resistance to sin.

– T.S.

Inside Every Block of Stone

“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”
― Mark Twain

photo (19)Wise words from Mr. Twain. There is no advantage over the ones who don’t have if the ones who do, do not make some use of what they have. I doubt there is a single person in this world who was born without a single gift to make themselves useful, not only for their own lives but for others. There is that common argument lazy students often give: “I’m not stupid. I’m probably smarter than all of you in this class, but the only reason why I’m failing is because I don’t try. Not because I’m stupid.” Wise words for a young child, but oh so wrong in several ways!

What probably frustrates a teacher more than anything isn’t the student who slowly but cautiously applies himself to the challenges of studying, but the student who pipes up about his intelligence yet shows no application of that so-called intelligence. It is also a trait that aggravates so many of our parents when a child refuses to work up to his capabilities.

There are no guarantees that any two people are built the same way: genetically, without a doubt, but also in factors of intelligence, personality, and capability. Yet what separates the doer from the observer is that one lives his life, and the other watches the doer living. The observer develops a sharp-tongue, a critiquing mind that parses the acts of the doer into multiple categories of good and bad. Yet, that is only a skill that has developed from spending time observing, comparing, and judging lives from the third person. Not to say we don’t need observers who put into study a comparative module of good and bad, but speaking solely of those who lay back and create nothing helpful or useful neither to themselves or those who they critique.

Yet, the doer, though slow in tongue he may be, lives his life. He changes, he develops, and he creates extensions of life by the works of his hands and mind.

In the Book of Isaiah, chapter 64, verse 8: “Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand”. This confession promises not only that we leave it up to our Father to shape us, but furthermore, that we are shapeable. Inside every block of stone, there is masterpiece. Likewise, by the hands of our LORD, we can be made like valuable. We can be made into a new creation from the clay that we are.

It is a complete transformation. We have been made new.

And like our Father, have we worked, have we molded anything into something valuable? Meaningful? We may not have all received the same amounts and qualities of talents and skills, but have we expressed our gratitude for what we have by working and molding what we have into something better?

In summary, first let us entrust God with our lives. There is no door God cannot open, and there is no open door God cannot close. If God chooses not to use your talents, then no effort or work invested into your talents will prosper into anything you hoped for. However, as long as you stand righteous before God and entrust Him, discover what God has given you. There may not be a hundred, fifty, or even ten. But take whatever you have and constantly work on it. Farm it, water it, and nurture it with prayer.

Just as you are molded by Christ, mold what you been given for Christ today.

What’s your New Year’s Resolution?

It’s the end of the year! At the same time, it is the time to look back the year that was and look forward to the year ahead of us. The feeling of a new year is always good; the resolutions, the new beginnings, and the “sense of change” around us.

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Some of you may want to lose weight, exercise more, get out of debt, stick to a budget, stop smoking, save for the future, and spend more time with family.

If you haven’t had time to ask questions to yourself, with only 1 day remaining until the last day of 2013, it is now the time to ask yourself “what you should change in the following year”. Even though a lot of us know what we want to change and why we want to change, these are different from knowing when to change no matter what the cost is.

 Then, does the Bible say anything about making New Year’s resolutions?

The answer is NO—the bible doesn’t specifically mention about making resolutions at the beginning of each year. However, it does urge us to regularly check our daily lives and to seek God’s help to become a better person every day (Lamentations 3:40).

Have you ever questioned yourself why sometimes it is really hard to keep the resolutions you made at the beginning of a year? One possible reason could be that sometimes our resolutions were not realistic—we had no clear New Year plan for reaching them. In addition, they may be self-centered, totally ignoring whether or not they are GOD’s will.

However, the main reason why we fail to keep our resolutions is because we always try to reach them without God’s help, but with our own strengths instead. As a human being, we are physically and spiritually weak and the Bible says “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2).

Before we start the New Year, 2014, Pray to God and ask Him to show you what He wants in your life during this upcoming year. With the help of Holy Spirit, you will be able to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11).

– T.S

Ready for the new year?

We are three days away from greeting 2014. Was your 2013 a good year? Are there any regrets? Any answered and unanswered prayers? Is there any unfulfilled wish or checklist? If there are, you can use them as a guidance while planning for the new year.

All of us are the servants of Christ and we have missions and works to carry on while we live in this world. God commands us to be diligent, faithful, and hard working while he blesses us to prosper, multiple, and dominate. Therefore we need to be on a constant guard to push ourselves and work hard to glorify God’s name.

I want to share the words of advice from Rev. Goshen Choi, who is often mentioned in our blog posts and who is a president of NYSKC World Mission Center, while we make reflections and preparations for the new year.

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Image from http://hishersq8.com/2013/12/new-year-resolution/

Based on the Word of [1 Corinthians 15:58], there are twelve pieces of advice that we can learn and use for our the new year’s resolution. These advice would greatly help us while we sought to live as the servants and workers for Christ.

1) Grow a habit of taking notes of our plans. Always take notes of your plans and thoughts. Having a habit of recording things is very important and helpful to organizing your life. If you are in prayer and God has given you His message, or while you are listening to a sermon and you get great ideas for your future, take them down on a piece of a paper or record it on an electronic device.

2) In order to begin your work, deconstruct the “big picture” to “smaller pieces”. You are given a job but where do you begin it? Having a big picture of your job is great, but you need to deconstruct the picture to smaller pieces so that you can have plans for immediate actions. You need to turn your dream or job into manageable plans for actions.

3) Know how to start. Knowing how to begin your work is important. Decide on what you will do to start your work. What would be the first step of fulfilling your task?

4) Check on the progress. Having a check point to see if the work is progressing well is crucial.

5) Distinguish between what you cannot do and what you do not want to do. If it is something you cannot do, then grow strong so you can do it. If it is something you do not want to do, know that persevering through hardship and unwanted task will make you grow and mature.

6) Remind yourself of the benefits of the result. Thinking about how the result of the work will benefit you at the end would provide motivation and passion for the hard work that you are enduring.

7) Start working from the small parts. Bible asks us to be faithful in small things. In Suzuki Method, children spend months learning and repeating small and basic postures and skills before they learn to play bigger pieces of music. (To read more about Suzuki Method, see my previous post about Dr. Suzuki and his method by clicking here)

8) Be positive.

9) Make a workable environment. Create a working environment that helps you focus on your work.

10) Avoid places of distraction. Stay away from places or things that can distract your concentration.

11) Know the time of the day when your working energy(biorhythm) is at its best. There are two kinds: morning kind or evening kind. Jesus and many workers such as Paul and Peter were all morning people who worked from the early morning.

12) Work for the good news.Work hard so that we may become inspirations and role models for others in Christ. Many Biblical figures such as Job lived in a way to win God’s favor and recognition. We don’t just live for ourselves but we live to become the light and the salt of the world. Always work to win God’s favor and ask yourselves, “would God like it if I do this?”

This is a long list but I hope you find them useful while you make new year’s resolutions and plans in Christ. I pray your new year be filled with God’s guidance, blessings, and graces.

Happy New Year!

K.P.

Be the Salt and Light of the World

“You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16)”

A title is a word added to someone’s name, signifying the person’s official position and sometimes socio/economic status in a society, also known as Socioeconomic Status. Although some titles are hereditary, meaning inherited from parents, most titles we have seen nowadays are given by society where the people belong to. Furthermore, sometimes those titles reveal one’s achievement in his/her life.

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For instance, J.D. (Doctor of Jurisprudence) and M.D. (Doctor of Medicine) are professional doctorate degrees or titles that are extremely competitive to achieve. The primary purpose of giving such titles to a person was to celebrate one’s achievement in his/her life. Today, however, many people live their lives to achieve that titles; this change in Value caused many problems in the modern society as well as in Christian community.

Christian is a title given to those who believe in Jesus Christ. However, sometimes we notice ourselves that forget about the primary purpose of being a Christian. In the Bible, Christians are depicted as those who are “the salt and the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-16). The commonality between the salt and light is that they are essential for the world to exist.

Why does the Bible describe Christians as being the salt and the light? If we think about it, both the salt and light are important to humans and, thus, Christians must influence others as the “salt and light.” Although the universal importance of salt is not as readily apparent in our modern society, the mandate that Jesus gave to his first 12 disciples is still relevant and applicable to Christians today.

Our lives are to be an on-going witness to the reality of Christ’s presence in our lives. When we worship God with pure hearts as salt and when we love others as ourselves, we are the light shining—however we should realize that the light shining is not from us, but from Jesus Christ Himself that people will see in us, Christians.

 – T.S

Limitations of the Court

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Lawyers will often try to explain to their clients that there are limitations to the relief they can get at law. Many laymen file petitions, hoping that for whatever inequity that have suffered, the Court will offer a complete relief of their burden even though the legal system just cannot offer the remedy sought. There are stories after stories of clients demanding lawyers to file a complaint that will probably be a futile attempt at what clients like to call “justice”.

Further yet, even when there is a relief at law, there are obvious limitations to what the Court can offer. Before discussing limitations, it is important to note that the Court system can do two things, very broadly speaking that is. First, the Court can act upon what has already happened. By doing so, it might either reward or punish a certain party for past actions. The Court may order damages or specific performance to compensate equity. The second thing the Court can do is stop or initiate future actions. The Court may order an Order of Protection, for example, to prevent a certain person from intruding on the petitioner’s premises. The Court can also incarcerate someone and forcibly prevent the criminal from committing further offenses.

However, the Court is limited to one thing. It cannot necessarily change an individual. It cannot make you whole from a broken marriage. Not necessarily, at least. The Court cannot change an individual to awaken them to their senses by incarcerating them. It may however, happen on the account of the individual’s own enlightenment. It is limited in that it can control a person’s actions, but as for what is within and without, the Court plays a truly limited role.

As Christians, the Word of God moves us. The Word is like a seed that plants into our hearts and from there the seeds sprout into leaves. Our hearts and minds become gardens of Christ, as by the daily dose of prayer and the Word, they are watered in the Holy Spirit. It is not a rare sight to see the unbelievable rebirth of a sinner shackled by death to his salvation by the Blood of Jesus. Like a man born again from the womb of his mother, a Christian is born again and again in Christ. Every time a sinner repents, you see regrowth and renewal in him.

The Word does not simply control our actions, though the Command of God is beyond prevalent in the entire Bible. Though an awaken individual may go to jail and come out as a “new” man, it is by the words of experienced judges who often say, “oh no, you’ll see that man again, in Court, very soon.” They simply say, “they do not learn”.

People all make mistakes. I cannot for a second doubt that all judges are great sinners themselves. Yet, people with ongoing and endless criminal counts, are almost residences of the Court or the jail. You clearly see, this is no mistake. Criminality to such degree in the all too many counts show that their actions are not mistakes. They are habits they cannot break.

There are weepers and moaners. There are the proud ones and the shouters. Sadly, too often than not, one cannot possible trust all that they “promise” before the judge. “Judge, thank you. I will never disappoint you again.” These words go in one ear and come out the next, as the same faces reappear year after year.

I often sit and see this frustrating cycle of sinful habit. Break it, I say! But how do they begin? Where do they begin? What if their entire lives were constructed by sin because their parents too, did not know any better? They may return home today with a legal remedy that they are happy of. But, will that change them from where they are now?

There seems to be two worlds facing each other in Court. There is the judge with authority, with wisdom and knowledge of the law. Then, there is the inferior one who stands before the bench, waiting for an invisible hand to force them to do something. I sit there in between the two worlds and feel stricken with grief.

How limited the legal remedies are! People fight and say “I’ll see you in Court!” as though, justice would be served and all would be well. But, what of the true offenders who have violated the law? What of the offenders who come back every now and then, and who cannot break away from their problem-infested lives?

I do not not for a second think it unnecessary for the Courts to exist. The relief that the parties gain through trial or hearings can amount to more than I can possibly imagine. Yet, when we downsize and look through a microscope into the individuals lives, it pains me that some do not know there is complete relief in Christ. 

Perhaps it is because I know that from death, Christ saves me day to day. Though we are all sinners, the Word breaks us into pieces day to day. The Word is like a mirror. It shows us our dirt, our conceit, our pride, and our crime. By seeing that reflection, we know the grace we have received! And though we can never stop sinning, at least we are given the blessing to know what we have done wrong, how to undo that wrong, and how to begin walking the right path.

Think what blessings you have that even today, this very moment, you can see your true reflection by His Word. Be thankful that this moment, when you kneel before His grace, you can be born again. Remember, nothing in this world can give to you exactly what you need. It is only Jesus Christ that gives complete relief.