Who would not be seething mad when maligned or unjustly accused? More so if a formal criminal case is filed just to harass you; and it has effectively destroyed your reputation and affected your source of livelihood. I can feel my blood boiling in anger as the fires of hatred heat up.
Even as I lift my predicament to God in prayer, I can see the cauldron of my anger boiling as the fire of hatred increases in intensity. But God helps me understand that it is my pride that fuels the fire of hatred, and the more inflated I am, the hotter the fire. It is in pride where sin lurks, when you do not control where it will lead you. This answers why the “Ampatuan Massacre” happened.
I am glad the BCBP way of life has made my concerns simpler and taught me how to put a handle onto my pride. I wonder: How will BCBP community react to having a member criminally charged? What will people say as my successful business goes into a tailspin? How about my faith in my God, whom I believe will always take care of me? I am sure these concerns are simple enough to answer and understand; and I am sure these will not lead me to commit murder.
But how about them who had to massacre the people who threatened their importance in this world? What kind of pride do they possess?
I have experienced numerous moments of anger in all shades of intensity. Those were indeed sad moments. Great rejoicing always comes once I realize and accept that I am also to blame, or I have forgiven those who have wronged me. I commit sin only when I hold on to the hurt feelings when my importance is threatened. I have found that the longer I hold on to that ugly feeling, the bigger I perceive myself to be, and I end up swell headed.
Leaders are most susceptible to this temptation and in the process are transformed from servant leaders to oppressors. The leader’s responsibility to serve degenerates into power to rule. The services that should have been freely rendered become favors that followers owe, and public servants become dictators or warlords.
But there are also moments when you have to stand up to correct injustice. Yes, anger boils as injustice is done, but as you lift this up in prayer, your intense fire of hatred turns into a slower, more manageable fire. Anger then just simmers like a delicious broth cooking. Anger turns to determination to correct errors or injustice; and hatred becomes obedience to God’s command to fight evil. This is more easily said than done for it is quite a difficult task, especially if those who have wronged you are your friends, biological close relations, and even BCBP members. My habitual communion with God has gradually developed in me a degree of spiritual maturity, which has helped me to discern and be strong enough to stand up to my rights. But it has never been easy!
The greatest of all temptations is to hold onto power. This is the downfall of many politicians, business tycoons, religious leaders, and even some BCBP servant leaders. The feeling of importance when your followers listen and jump to obey is intoxicating, and as the sphere of influence expands, you can easily get drunk with power. You will hate anyone whom you perceive as challenging your authority or position, even if you perceive wrongly. Then you start to amass wealth, influence, goons, guns, and fanatic followers to bolster your inflated ego. And when you resort to doing anything and everything necessary to protect your domain, even criminal acts, then you become evil. Just examine business empires, family clans, warlords and the like, and you will see how evil works its pervasive, powerful influence.
Hatred is the opposite of love. When you hate, you prevent anyone, whom you perceive as threatening your hold on power, to enter into your personal sphere; whereas when you love, you expand yourself to accommodate the one you love. Lack of love is the reason why we have ethnic wars in Mindanao, rent-seeking family dynasties, graft and corruption, and broken families. Why are we so selfcentered, so fanatic in our beliefs to the point of fighting tooth and nail those who are different from us? I believe lack of love is why we seldom trust our political leaders and even join them in the race of crabs to the top of the basket.
Are we Filipinos loveless? Instead of being so engrossed in population control, why can’t we focus on nurturing love in the family? Instead of creating noise in the streets and in media, why can’t we agree and join other forces in a less noisy but more effective war against graft and corruption? Why do we have to despise our leaders to the point of their hating us, resulting in unresolved issues? Why can’t political candidates and their followers banner love instead of mouthing destructive accusations so that the electorate may vote with their heart? Why? Why? Why?
We might say the Philippines is still a juvenile nation, but when will we stand up and stop the country from being “run like hell”? Perhaps BCBP should start marching and pray that many will join us in pursuing love, peace, honesty and unity! God bless the Philippines!