Two years ago, at this time, I was at a county jail waiting to be bailed out. I think of it as the lowest point of my life, not just because of the humiliation I experienced during and following the incident, but because God was far removed from my life at the time. However, now, the Holy Spirit reminds me that it was also the first time ever I responded to the call of Christ to proclaim the Gospel to the world. I did so by encouraging a fellow inmate, a Chinese man who never had the opportunity to know anything about Jesus or His Word, to read the Psalms.
After being arrested, his family abandoned him, and I found him laying on his bunk all day in total despair. Couple of days earlier when I found out that my family’s attempts to bail me out had hit a snag, another inmate gave me a Bible, and told me to read the Psalms to ease my worries. It helped. So I was simply passing that knowledge onto a distressed young man. The faith of an inmate provided me with the hope I needed to wait patiently. That hope prompted me to act with charity when I saw another human being in trouble.
So as I celebrate the second anniversary of my journey as a witness to the glory of God, here are three thoughts about Faith, Hope and Charity.
Trust Women / Respect Choice
It is hard to miss this tagline. I see them every day on the license plates all over Virginia. Apparently the people behind it are asking me to trust women – to have faith in them that they would make the right choice. I never cared much about the ‘this is a man’s world’ argument, so I have no reason not to trust the women and their choices. But the only problem I am having with this tagline is that the choice they are referring to also involves the fate of an unborn in many cases. Why is that a problem, you might ask? Because conception, as we all know, takes a woman and a man. So shouldn’t the decision about the fate of the fruit of their labor be a mutual one also? So having faith in a woman is not enough. I also need to have faith in that man who was responsible for her pregnancy, and expect him to make the right choice also. But, I am being told that this could be problematic, since majority of the women are forced into make a choice, because the men refuse to take responsibility.
How could I call it a choice when you are left alone to choose between a rock and a hard place?
As a man, I blame my fellow men for this predicament; for forcing a pregnant woman to make a life altering decision all by herself, for making her to fight over and suppress her natural maternal instincts, and for all the trauma and anguish she is expected to suffer at some point in her life after an abortion. I wish and pray that we men become more faith-ful and trustworthy so that women may not have to consider life a matter of choice.
Being Pregnant and Hope-less
During a teleconference organized by The Center for Reproductive Rights, the ACLU, and the Planned Parenthood to protest against a Texas law regarding patient admitting privileges, seven weeks pregnant Marni Evans had this to say: “I am still pregnant today, because that decision was taken away from me. This is not supposed to happen in this country.” After going through the mandatory transvaginal ultrasound prior to getting the abortion, Evans was disappointed to find out that her provider did not have admitting privileges, because of the new law. Her “hope” of ending a life in her womb went nowhere, and she is having trouble understanding why. She says that she is still pregnant, because that choice was taken away from her.
But is that really the truth? Was she really hoping to get pregnant and to end it seven weeks later?
The decision to end the pregnancy was taken away from her, but how about the decision to get pregnant in the first place. Was that taken away from her as well? I hope and pray that we respect life from the moment of conception, and never expose ourselves to situations which might lead to a pregnancy with the false “hope” of ending it later, if need be.
Charity vs. Accommodating
Now that I have made a decision to follow Jesus Christ and His Commandments, I am forced to answer this question several times every day: Am I getting better at loving others? I have been warned by many that love of God and His commandments can easily turn into contempt towards my less fortunate neighbors whose inner eyes haven’t been opened to the Truth yet. So I have my fair share of worries after writing the above two unorthodox thoughts on faith and hope.
I am sure that I would have never written such harsh things about my fellow men and women two years ago. Does that mean I was more charitable then than now? Though I can make no claims about my state of charity today, I can assure myself that I am no less charitable than I was two years ago. But I was more accommodating back then. I wouldn’t have dared to make comments against men who would shamelessly leave women after copulation, and women who would give it up knowing they could later fix the situation if it ever become a situation. I wouldn’t have said a word against them, because with them being chastised for their transgressions, I was given a free pass with my less obvious addictions and wretchedness. Today, I confess myself to be a sinner, and I no longer want to hide it from the world. Therefore, I refuse to adjust myself with a sinful world. As far as charity is concerned, it is a hard act to follow; that much I have learned.
So I pray to the Sacred Heart of Jesus: May the flames of His burning love pierce through the darkness in our hearts and help us to grow in faith, hope and charity. Amen.