Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Revenge is sweet...?

Every morning, the high school students in the school I teach in have Morning Socratic Devotions (MSD), where they, divided into small multi-year level groups, open up a devotional and their Bibles (each has one of each) and dissect the entry for the day.  Led by a senior student, each small group discusses the topic at hand, with the senior using his/her facilitation skills to encourage participation and enhance learning.

The topic yesterday was about revenge, and the discussions that I observed went the distance (each teacher looks after--but doesn’t participate in--one group), as each student reminisced, with more than a tinge of regret, about times when they were wronged and then took the matters into their own hands…which resulted in nothing but making the situation a lot messier.



The MSD did a great job in bringing the message home into their hearts, as their journal entrees showed.  The lesson brings me back to an article I wrote several years ago about a friend who was about to lash out at someone from her past.

If you struggle with this, and I’m sure many of us do, then allow my article to speak volumes into your heart as well.  Enjoy!

For Those Who Have Been Wronged (made sometime in 2005)

I recently tried to calm down a friend who was very upset with an ex boyfriend.  He wronged her very badly (in her eyes, at least) and she was good and ready to lash out at him. As I’ve been saying in past articles, the Bible is the single best source of wisdom you can have, and I used it heavily in my efforts to stop her from doing things she might regret later.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” (2 Tim 3:16-17, NIV)

Were you in a similar situation where you wanted to lash out at someone who wronged you?  If so, try reading Romans 12: 17-21 and I’ll dissect the passage verse for verse for you.

v. 17:

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody”

The first part is lesson enough in itself.  Paying evil for evil doesn’t erase, it adds.  1 evil action + 1 evil action = 2 evil actions.

Now read the second part again.  When you have retaliation in your mind, do you take into account to “do what is right in the eyes of everybody”?  One villain is enough in this story, would hate to have two.

v. 18-19

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.”

First part is self-explanatory.  It doesn’t mean that you become a human doormat, but it means that when problems arise, you solve it in a way that peace is returned.  The second part will also come true if you allow it in faith.  Sometimes you just gotta step aside and let the Lord do His work in people’s hearts, especially if they’re a tough nut to crack.  You will not repay, the Lord will…if you let Him (keyword “if”).

v. 20:

“On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’”

I told my friend that if she turned around and used this tactic the Lord will make him so plagued with guilt that he would have to have a change of heart, which will transform him into a better person.  Killing someone with kindness, I guess.  Not only does it work, relationships are also restored.

And finally, v. 21:

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

It’s easy to be overcome by someone’s malevolent actions and “give him a taste of his own medicine”, but that’s not the right way to do it, according to the Bible.

So choose to “overcome evil with good”.  Evil + evil = more evil and a bitter aftertaste.  Evil + good = peace.

And don’t say you have no choice, you always have a choice.

I would like to give you another verse: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Eph 4:31-32, NIV).

So have you been wronged?  Just close your eyes for a moment and ask God to give you the grace to forgive that person and even wish him well…and mean it.  I bet you, all burdens will just fly away.  Woosh!

I’d like to get your thoughts and/or experiences on this matter.  Your comments are most welcome.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

An interesting BUY PINOY experiment

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a Literature and Humanities teacher in one of the private high schools in the area.  In the curriculum, the students read about 9 to 10 novels a year; but other than the usual classics that are covered in Literature programs, I have also included books that are designed to make them better individuals.

One such book is “12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country” by Alex Lacson.

Mr. Lacson noticed that we Pinoys are a rather unpatriotic lot.  We reject our local products in favor of imported ones; we don’t pay our taxes; we put down our country in jokes and in conversations with foreigners; the foreign embassies are always full; heck, the most popular course in college is one that gets us out of the country.

Long story short, he wrote a book in an effort to goad each of his countrymen into believing in his struggling country again and to take action to helping the Philippines out.  He split this effort into, you guessed it, twelve chapters, each one tackling a specific action that we can do to help the Philippines.

Chapter 3 of the book is about buying locally-made products.  I felt quite strongly for this one, as I grew up in America, where, when I lived there, there was a strong “Buy American!” campaign; and I’ve seen first hand how South Koreans will not patronize anything else but their own products.



It frustrates me to no end why we refuse be like that, and are quite the polar opposite of it.  In fact, for one of my introductory reflection assignments for that chapter, one student summed up what the whole class, and probably the whole nation, felt about our homegrown goods: “I don’t use Filipino products to the point that I don’t even know what they are.”  Wow.

So my assignment for this chapter went like this: for one week (which I now regret, I think it should be longer) they will buy and use only Filipino made products and replace the imported products they use everyday with them.  At the end of the experiment, they write an essay on how it went.  There were a few groans, but being good kids, they went through with it.

A week has passed and in come the essays.  I found some humor in what some of them said (“this was my first time eating a Champ”) but all in all I, with a very serious heart, really poured through them, hoping that the results would be something positive for the Philippines.

The more common product switches were: Hapee for Colgate; Magnolia butter for Anchor; Artwork, Penshoppe on any other local brand for Guess and its ilk; Piatos for Doritos; no McDonalds or any other international fast food chain, but Jollibee, Greenwich and the others instead; local jams/spreads instead of Smuckers; Nips for M&M’s; and many more.

The verdict?  For the vast majority of the products, there was very little to no noticeable difference in quality.  The students were a bit surprised by this, and as a result of this assignment they also wonder why we as a nation turn up our noses on the things we make, when the quality isn’t that bad.  Many are now very willing to make the switch for good and will encourage their parents to do so, too.

Well, I’m posting this news here because I’d like to challenge the readership of this site to do the same.  Why not make a conscious decision to replace the imports that we love so much with local equivalents?  You may be as surprised as my students were.

I my opinion, Swiss Miss has nothing on our native tsokolate drink.  I use Hapee for my toothpaste.  I use, and vastly prefer, Human Heart Nature instead of OFF! for mosquito protection.  I haven’t ordered from any fast food other than Jollibee and Chow King this year so far.  I buy local snacks for the kids (in fact, I prefer the barquillos and otap to the chips).  Heck, this has affected me to the point that I have sold my Nokia phone and bought myself a dual-sim model from the Philippines’ first mobile phone brand, My|Phone.

Yup, I’ve gone Pinoy…and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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