Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Bowl of Wisdom: From a Worrywart

There's no place that's safe anymore. When you walk outside, you risk the possibility of getting stabbed and robbed, or kidnapped and raped. When you're in a car, someone may stealthily get in the back seat, point a gun at your nape and force you to drive to the nearest ATM machine. He could get all the money you've saved up for years plus the car. Now you are probably thinking, "I'd spend more time at home then."

Well, guess what? Even your home is not as safe anymore.

A few days ago, something unthought of happened in a quiet neighborhood. When a maid was about to close the gate after the owner of the house had left for work, a hand suddenly crept in. It was from a man, in his forties, who was holding a gun. He forced himself in their house together with three other gunned men. They tied the son of the owner, TJ* (the only family member at home) and their maids up in the dining hall. These men punched the young 20-ish man all around. They asked him where their money, jewelry and other fortunes were kept. They sliced the locked cabinets open, tore the foam mattresses apart, unplugged all their electronics. When he heard them saying, "Abangan natin iyong pamilya niya." ("Let's wait for his family to arrive"), TJ was able to muster up the courage to run out to the backyard, climb a wall and land in the neighbor's house. The gang soon left with a great number of their belongings. TJ also got his share of souvenirs: purple bruises, a small cut in the stomach, a painful lump in the head, and a fractured arm.

I heard the whole story from TJ's mother yesterday. It gave me a quite a shock, a big doze of worries.. and a terrible nightmare this morning. I dreamt that there were some men in hats and bonets climbing up the wall, entering through our glass windows. Eek! This reminds me of Solomon's realization in Ecclesiastes 6:
I have seen another evil under the sun, and it weighs heavily on mankind: God gives some people wealth, possessions and honor, so that they lack nothing their hearts desire, but God does not grant them the ability to enjoy them, and strangers enjoy them instead. This is meaningless, a grievous evil.

We may opt to keep our properties in very safe places (i.e. banks) just to save them from those who do not seem to deserve them. As we make them untouchable to the robbers, we unknowingly make them untouchable to us as well. How could we enjoy the cars that have always been parked in the house, or the jewelries that have always been locked in the safe? Evil indeed! Of course, there are instances of thieves breaking in houses and banks. Another evil!

How should we avoid such evil sight? I found much wisdom in what my professor had shared in class a few years back. (I think this is the only thing I can remember from his class.) The reason why the poor steals is because the rich doesn't give enough to maintain equity in society. Sometimes the solution to security from crime is not to gain wealth and hire more protection, but to share God's blessings and eliminate criminal motivation. Hasn't feeding, helping or giving to the poor been stressed enough in the Bible?

Isn't Jesus asking for the same? Here's an excerpt from Matthew 19:20-21:

“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

The safest place is not to be behind walls or vaults, but to follow the Lord. Let me end here with one of my favorite quotations by Corrie Ten Boom: "There are no 'if's' in God's world. And no places that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety - let us pray that we may always know it!"

*Name has been disguised for security reasons.

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