Thoughts on Election Day 2013
The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. – from Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address Just wishing and hoping and thinking and praying and planing and dreaming his kisses will start… that won’t get you into his heart… so if your thinking how great true love is all you gotta do is… Hold him and kiss him and squeeze him and love him just do it and after you do, you will be his – Wishing & Hoping, Dusty Springfield Frustrated Filipino Many Filipinos go to vote today. I wish I could say ALL Filipinos of eligible age were going out but it seems many don’t think it’s worth the exercise. Some say it’s because it doesn’t matter who wins, our country will stay the same. And he could be right. It may just stay the same because of people like him. Others will say it doesn’t matter because my vote won’t really make a difference. And he’s also right. He didn’t make a difference – but not because he couldn’t – but he wouldn’t – so didn’t. Then there are those who haven’t made it a priority, they have more important things to do with their time than vote for the people who will govern them, safeguard their physical safety, the safety of their rights, and greatly influence the state of the lives of their children and children’s children. No wonder our country is the way it is. We keep complaining about everything from brownouts, to crime, to traffic, to taxes, to poverty, to injustice, but we do so little to contribute to the solution. When I am in a place, taking up space, using up resources, but do not gainfully give back, I am part of the problem. We are part of the problem. To make things worse, we are an entitled bunch. We think we deserve to be able to live the way we live without having to think about how others are affected – because we’re too busy thinking about ourselves. We hate it when people tell us not to be selfish. We hate it when people tell us to act, to serve, to quit being shallow. We accuse them for judging us. We’re like that teenage kid who lives off his parents goodness and cannot understand the value of the benefits he enjoys so is unable to appreciate their hard work, their sacrifice, their inconvenience, their effort, their loss of time (they could be spending their time on something for themselves but can’t to care for him), in short, their whole life is going to taking care of someone who doesn’t appreciate them enough to alter his life and not be a burden. The simple point is this: We do not care enough to value the greatest privilege of democracy because we don’t understand the significance of democracy: a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. We simply want the perks of freedom. Again, no wonder. Those who default on the right to vote default on their rights. You chose not to choose a leader now the mob will choose for you. As my friend in the US wrote me: “This past fall’s Presidential election was a prime example. Barack Obama only won by about 5 million votes but about 20 million evangelical Christians did not even take the time to vote.” No wonder. No wonder. No wonder. So don’t wonder. Now something on judgement. As we vote, I hope we vote people we believe have good judgment, not perfect judgement, no one has that, but good judgement. Don’t ever vote anyone who is unable to make good judgment calls. When we hire someone for our household and businesses, I hope one criterion is to hire someone with “good judgement”. I don’t want someone living in my house, taking care of my kids, and having access to my life who has bad judgment. When we raise our kids, and raising them means to prepare them for life, I hope we impart “good judgement” or else they’ll hurt themselves and/or hurt others. I hope that when we choose who we listen to, we choose to listen to people with “good judgement”. You and I will not trust someone with bad judgment. The very reason why people have trust issues is simply because they used faulty judgment in trusting a person they thought was worthy of trust and were let down. We need discernment – the ability to judge rightly. Why spread this idea that “judging is bad”? If it is, than you and I are guilty of it just as equally. If we judge the judge for judging, are we not guilty of the same? We are. We perpetuate the cycle. If someone tells me, “David, you’re so harsh and proud!” (which I get often), and I say “Don’t judge me! You act like you don’t do anything wrong!” What did I just do? 1. I prove his point. By responding that way and not even considering if there was any truth to what he said, I proved my own pride. What’s the end result, he’ll know I’m prouder than he first thought. 2. I deprive myself of a growth opportunity. Being criticized or corrected is an opportunity to grow in the area being pointed out, even better, it’s an opportunity to grow in humility, something we badly need – I most of all. So in this example, what’s the result? I stay harsh and proud. 3. I strain a relationship that was caring and honest enough to tell me what’s wrong with me. We live in a world today where we love the people who tell us what we want to hear and hate the people who tell us what we need to hear. In my experience, my best decisions, my greatest growth, did not come from the tickles of people who cared more about to their own comfort, but from the people who were concerned enough to help me fix a part of my life I was blind to. What’s the result? A strained relationship. More pride and less relationship. Simply because I can’t see past the initial offense, believe the best about the person, and humbly consider, “You know what, you’re right. I am proud. It’s really a bad attitude I’ve gotten used to. Thank you so much for pointing it out. You’re helping me break the curse of pride in my life.” What’s the end result? Less pride, gentleness, and a stronger relationship. Most of all, we end the cycle of mistakes, pride, so no change, more mistakes, more pride, still no change. Humility ends the downward spiral of pride and destruction, and gets us on the path to growth. The bottom line is we’re comfort freaks, cowards, and lazy. Too comfortable to be bothered for others, too cowardly to look at our true state, and too lazy to work on anything difficult. Humility gets our eyes off our comfort, fears, and difficulty, and leads us towards better versions of ourselves. I wish I learned this a long time ago. Our pride stems from loving ourselves too much. More important than the judgement of American Idol, The Voice, Binibining Pilipinas, Ms. Universe, or the annual business plans of the year contests, is the judgement of each of our hearts, for it is what God, the ultimate judge, looks at. More and more I see how important humility is to my life and to the world truly becoming a better place. I also see how lacking I am in it, and how I must be deliberate about going to Jesus to be overwhelmed daily by His beauty, His greatness, that less and less of me remains. More than ever we have proclaimed “Love thyself!” More than ever we are hostage to the opinions and selfishness to those who truly practice “love myself”. A husband who loves himself most will cheat on his wife. A wife who loves herself most will do the same. A father who loves himself most will not lay his life down for his kids, same with a mother. A preacher who loves himself most won’t tend to his flock. A businessman who loves himself most will try to profit no matter the cost. This “great advice” of “loving yourself” is a recipe for social ills that are hurting our generations. So I wrote my friend: “I can’t call myself an expert on governance, politics, particularly American politics, and I do agree with you that it seems American society in general is more hostile to the Bible than in the past. In the name of tolerance, society has become intolerant of anything and anyone who makes us uncomfortable. In a world that values power, recognition, respect, personal beauty, personal achievement, personal gain, amassing material things, comfort, speed, and the avoidance of pain, a person who believes in prudence, discipline, sacrifice, mercy, forgiveness, and making peace with Jesus will make people uncomfortable. Yet, from my little understanding of history, the greatest causes, particularly the most worthy of causes, are fuelled by the blood of martyrs – lives laid down, comforts removed, pain absorbed – to bring a cause forward. Citizens voted these policy makers into power and keep them in power. They vote them there, for better or worse, by the conviction of their hearts. Maybe the way forward for Biblical policy is the long road of every man going to his neighbour and once more truly being a martyr, laying their superior theology, entitlements, comforts, and lives in a hostile world, to bring them the Gospel. That’s the way hearts are changed, and that’s the way votes are changed, and that’s the way policy is changed in an admittedly inefficient democratic systems. I say this all with a maybe because I can’t say I’m an expert.” Wishing, Hoping, Praying… Isn’t Enough. Ready? Ok. One of the things I always tell people is this: Want to see your values thrive in your life? Invest. Invest what? Time, Energy, and Money. If you don’t have money, that’s fine. Time and Energy is good enough. Someday you’ll have the financial resources to complement your investments of time and energy. That’s the simple secret to success, and I don’t mean merely fame and fortune, I mean success in attaining your goal, which is the thriving of the values you have chosen to make important. Faith without works is dead. True faith is shown when we believe in something so so so so much that our actions reflect our commitment. We would never reward someone’s half-hearted commitment simply because we know that he will be most unreliable when the time of reliability arrives. Why do we think the world will reward our half-commitments? Consequence, not reward is what happens, when we hide behind superstitious religion instead of faith that is alive and acts. I truly want better lives for all Filipinos, including myself and my future children. It’s impossible to spend time in our communities without seeing the beauty of these lives waiting for someone to stop looking at himself and look at them and show them a model of selflessness. If we really love the Philippines and love others as we say we do, than we have to act. As Dusty Springfield puts it: So if your thinking how great true love is all you gotta do is… Hold him and kiss him and squeeze him and love him just do it and after you do, you will be his If you’re not acting, you not thinking of a great true love.