Thursday, December 27, 2018

In order to make a difference you would have to somehow be different.

Since I started doing day shift, I've been needing help keeping myself awake while at work. It's seriously tough since I'm nocturnal, and I still often end up working night shift. Disadvantage of having complete freedom! For quite some time, I've been struggling with uncontrolled sleepiness. Understandably. This leads me to find helpful ways to keep me up and on my toes. My eyes kind of like live on their own, though, and want to drop whenever they feel like.

Playing movies on one corner of my screen has been somewhat helpful. Movies are not my frequent choice, however. Podcasts of Bible preachers and Virtual Bible have been my top preference. But, there are times when even my brain wants to shut off which makes me not understand anything. At certain times, I need something more intense to shake me awake. These are times I'd go for action movies. Or anything suspense. Never horror! Only, they distract me and get me jumping out of my seat every time. My dogs would usually get startled as I scream out of nowhere. Can't imagine how I actually look like reacting to fighting scenes. I should get cctv, maybe, to see myself. Hahaha

Then, I stumbled upon this Christian film, "I'm Not Ashamed". I'd not seen new ones since there aren't many of them until yesterday. I wasn't getting the plot at first since I was focused on what I was doing. So, I had to play it again. Twas the second time that I started understanding what it was presenting. And I'd say it's meaningful. The flick isn't really laudable like the mainstream ones. It does portray realities of this world and of each individuals and the challenges they face, though.

So, it's a story of a Christian teen, Rachel Joy Scott, who went to Columbine High School where she struggled with her faith trying to live in two worlds. She later realized it isn't possible. Indeed, a believer can only serve one master. She had to make a bold and firm choice to live her life for Jesus. It's not been easy for her. And it will never be easy for all those who truly want to serve Christ. There will always be this pull from the world. Humans have this innate need for acknowledgement and for being seen and accepted. To belong somewhere. However, when one chooses Christ, they are to embrace the fact that "they will be hated by the world." They can't be friends of God and friends with the world at the same time. The Bible already stated this truth.

Rachel's life moved me. She allowed God to use her. She didn't completely understand what God's purpose was but she willingly gave her remaining life (she was the first victim of the Columbine High School massacre and went to meet her maker on April 20, 1999) in obedience to Jesus' teachings. She walked the talk. She gave no excuse to herself not to obey what Jesus commanded. Particularly, the subjects of forgiveness and compassion. Her life is truly moving. At such young age (17), and having stayed shortly on Earth, she was able to touch lives. It's been her aim and goal and she fulfilled it. Of course, not without the help of God, I'd say. All she had to do was to obey. To live in step with the Spirit.

Such a worthwhile reminder for me. I still find myself hankering for approval and recognition from time to time. There is still this need shouting from within, "notice me", "appreciate me", "acknowledge me". And so I can undeniably relate to the struggle Rachel faced. To stand up for Christ is not trouble-free. It leads a believer and follower to deep heartache and distress. Not only because people will shut them out and ostracize them, but because a believer also has to do the same to their own selves as Jesus commanded, "deny yourself" (Matthew 16:24-26). If one is to say that they're a disciple of Christ, then they are to constantly counter their impulses. When it's easier to dislike another, a believer and follower has to give the red light to their feeling. They're not anymore living as slaves to the flesh's natural urges (see Galatians 5:17-21). Love and compassion becomes their trademark and moves them to serve others, even those who are unlovable. Especially the unlovable.

Her story could probably be not as inspiring to most except to the lives she touched personally. Those who she moved with her compassion and sincere concern. The society calls what she did martyrdom. Who will still do the same? Who wants to be excluded? To be treated like a nobody? To be taken advantage of and not retaliate? Secretly disliked and mocked? No one except those who Jesus called to Him. People He chose to represent Him to shine His light into this dark world. The world defines such choice (as what Rachel chose) as martyrdom, the Bible defines it as radical love. Unconditional, sacrificial, and selfless love. First for the Lord, and next for the neighbors. Christianity isn't about showing the world that one reads the Bible and speaks loudly about God and Jesus. It is living Jesus' commandments and following His ways. It's a lifestyle of denying self in order to conform to the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles no matter how difficult it gets. Even if it requires them to set their own selves and desires aside. Even if it means being abandoned by the ones we care for and love. Even if it means to be hated by people. Even if it means being enemy of the world.

Through Rachel's example, I am reminded that success and fulfillment can't be attained by being known and popular; or by doing what we love and gaining from it; or by being appreciated and loved by many; or by having more stuff; or by understanding why everything happens the way they do…or by however this world defines success and fulfillment. Living for the purposes of God and how He designed each one is the only way to experience real success and fulfillment without feeling empty and off course eventually. Following the ways of Jesus (and not the world's) is the means to have a meaningful life that never leads to futility. It protects people from disillusionment and disgruntlement by trying to chase after things and whatever in order to be happy. Everywhere we look, we see faces whose lives find no satisfaction even though they already have more than the basics. Even they seem to have it all together. Indeed, godliness with contentment is great gain. And this is attainable only when one receives Christ's peace which transcends all understanding. When one comes to abandonment of self and own understanding to completely trust, depend, and rely solely on the Lord. 

We don't need to be heroes to make a difference and to influence many. Just with the way we live our lives in love and in the ways of God on a daily already is the influence we can begin with to start a ripple effect. Every person around us have needs we can meet if only we give attention and time. One act of kindness can lead to some lasting impact. Don't aim to reach hundreds and thousands. Just reach one lost soul and plant hope in their heart. Trust that each individual reached will pay it forward, thus, keeping the ball running. That's the the only difference Jesus wants us to model.

And I know that each time God brings reminder and enlightenment, He is realigning His child to His methods and plans. What a way to prepare me for the year to come! 

Sharing some of the lines I like from the film (mostly by Rachel). Check them out if you will!

"Compassion is the greatest form of love that humans have to offer. I have this theory that if one person, can go out of their way to show compassion, it could start a chain reaction. How do you know that trust and beauty and compassion won't make the world a better place to be in? Tomorrow's not a promise... but it's a chance. You might just start a chain reaction. And what's behind all of this is my faith. I'm a Christian."

"There's no easy answer, but I don't think that God wastes anything." 

"I just want to live my life for Jesus and let people take whatever they want from that." 

"Well, people aren't gonna accept us for our faith. But it's okay. We have to love and serve them anyways. And I'm talking compassion, forgiveness. I mean if we don't, what's gonna attract them to God?" 

"Don't let your character change color with your environment. Find out who you are and let it say its true color."

“God does not waste anything, even if it’s hard.”

“Living for Jesus is not always easy but it’s always right.” 

“We seek truth in a world full of lies.” 

“Life’s going to be hard sometimes but He’s there.  As hard as that is to grasp, He’s in control.”


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A Love with a promise of permanence.

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