I have a friend who does not read the news. His reason is simple. There is too much “bad news” in this world. Out of sight, out of mind. On the contrary, I am a voracious consumer of news. I subscribe to numerous newsfeeds via Facebook. Moreover, working as a helping professional requires me to be informed of socio-political developments in Singapore and around the world, and I am also exposed to issues that may be perceived as unfair and unjust. Over time, I have noticed that my intense reading and my work have impacted me emotionally. There were times my emotions ranged from irritation to frustration and anger. I have to guard against these emotions from seeping into my personal and social life. Similarly, I must protect my mind from spiralling into disillusionment and bitterness. One question that I have been contemplating is how should I live and respond in a world that is dark and troubling?
As part of my devotion time, I have been reading the book of Matthew. In chapter 13, Jesus was teaching about the kingdom of heaven using several parables. The parable of the weeds (Matthew 13: 24-30) highlighted that until the harvest comes there will continue to be evil in the present age. The world we are in is evil and dark because Man is sinful. The ongoing “civilization” of the world, and technological advancements will not eradicate sins but only manifest them in different and perhaps more depraved forms. Technology has also enabled the proliferation of misleading and fake news, leading Man to be doubters of Truth. However, there will be a day of reckoning, where the weeds will be separated from the wheat during harvest time and the weeds shall be thrown into the fire (Matt 13:30, 41-42). Till then before Christ comes again, what does it mean for the church, and I as a citizen of the kingdom of God? What should my aspirations be and how should I live differently when one has a kingdom perspective?
Today, we celebrate Singapore’s 55th birthday. There are heartfelt hopes and wishes for the nation and its people, particularly when Singapore and other parts of the world are currently experiencing tough times due to the Covid-19 pandemic and suffering from its painful consequences. During the circuit breaker, we have also observed the depth of social inequalities in this nation. While we may wish for prosperous, safe, and peaceful times ahead, it is my prayer that at the end of the day, may His will be done. What is His will? For me, it is the Great Commission (Matt 28: 16-20) and meeting the needs of the “orphans and widows in their distress” (James 1:27).
What should I do exactly? The response to a dimming world is not about going into hiding and minding my own business, but to be His salt and light. It was interesting that at the time of this writing, Pastor Rick preached on the two great commandments from Matthew 22:37-40 – to love God and our neighbours (others).
There are a few things that I need to pay attention to. The ability to love requires me to return to the source – God. I need to build up my prayer life, to constantly realign myself with His perspectives and be reassured that my hope in living comes from Him. Meanwhile, I need to seek His wisdom and discernment to navigate this compromising and ethically challenging world. Although there will be ongoing tribulation and persecution, God is sovereign, and He is in control. On a practical note, I have learnt that it is helpful to strive towards a simpler and less cluttered lifestyle, with lower financial expenses. This is one way of dealing with the cares of this world.
Demonstrating love need not be an overly complicated matter. Start small and begin from where we are. For instance, during this pandemic, there are relatives, friends and acquaintances whom we can reach out to. We can also serve at Bless Community Services or other platforms to support and befriend people in need such as people who are homeless or those struggling with legal issues. I personally also believe in doing whatever I can to actively advocate for social justice, especially for the weak and vulnerable, and to act and leverage on opportunities that present themselves in my daily life.
By Brother William Soh (YCKC Bulletin 9 August 2020)