COPING WITH SLANDERS & TOXIC GOSSIPS

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MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU

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This is best season of the year. It is the best of time and also the worst of time. The best of time because this is the season that God wants all human beings to share and enjoy His unconditional love and compassion. No matter what your skin colour is… no matter what your belief is…. no matter what your gender is…. no matter what your social status is and no matter how much sin you have committed, this is the season to change from the caterpillar into a butterfly. Because  with His wonderful love and grace, all things are possible.

This Christmas season is a moment of infinite possibility in the midst of terrible darkness and brokenness all over the world. Our world is literally on the edge of self-destruction caused by massive pollution and climate change as well as massive homelessness in the Middle East caused by religious extremism and intolerance.

Christmas is a time to reflect on the state of humaneness, loving-kindness and compassion that one person shows to another. The transformation of the world has to start with one person at a time. Let me be the first humanitarian to take responsibility of my life. Let the change begins with me in my heart. Let me become a more loving person this Christmas. Let me do something to make a difference in the lives of my needy fellow human beings. Merry Christmas to all.

Submitted by David YKKok


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LET OUR TONGUES BE CHANNELS OF GOD’S UNCONDITIONAL LOVE AND COMPASSION FOR OUR NEIGHBORS.

God's love has healed the massive wound of this tree and He can do the same for your wounded self-esteem (Our gossips are like the scars inflicted on the bark of this tree.)

 

LET OUR TONGUES BE CHANNELS OF GOD’S UNCONDITIONAL LOVE AND COMPASSION FOR OUR NEIGHBORS.
“We all make mistakes in all kinds of ways, but the man who can claim that he never says the wrong thing  can consider himself perfect, for if he can control his tongue, he can control every other part of his personality!”

James 3:2
It is so hard control our tongues because most human beings love gossips.
The following poem provides lots of food for thought regarding the way we exercise our tongues. Dropping a careless hurtful word about someone’s life can have far-reaching ugly effects on that person’s life. But if we say something kind or encouraging about somebody, it will also have a positive impact of that person’s life. The choice is ours because only we ourselves can control our tongues! Ponder on the significance of this poem,
Drop a Pebble in the Water” by James W. Foley

Drop a pebble in the water: just a splash, and it is gone;
But there’s half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on.
Spreading, spreading from the centre,
Flowing to the sea
And there is no way of telling where the end is going to be.

Drop an unkind word, or careless: in a minute it is gone;
But there’s half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on.
They keep spreading, spreading, spreading from the centre as they go
And there is no way to stop them, once you’ve started them to flow.

Drop a word of cheer and kindness: in a minute you forget;
But there’s gladness still a-swelling, and there’s joy a-circling yet,
And you’ve rolled a wave of comfort whose sweet music can be heard.
Over miles and miles of water just by dropping one kind word.

(Adapted from “God’s Little Devotional Book”)

 


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JUST BE GRATEFUL FOR GOD’S GIFTS OF LOVE AND GRACE

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SPECIAL THANKS FOR THIS CHRISTMAS

Thank you, my Lord and my God

for your presence and your inspiration in my life.

When I am high, you are there. When I am low, you are present.

When I am in grace, you are here.  But when I am in disgrace, you don’t abandon me.

When I think I am pious, I believe you are near.

But when I am in deep shit, you are there to clean me up.

When I am abandoned by some friends,

you send other new friends into my world.

When I feel depressed and helpless,

You reach out and touch me with your comforting hand.

When I feel discouraged, you give me the strength to carry on.

You give me the wisdom to realize

that it is not the event that really matters,

that it is the response that means  everything in life.

Sometimes I just wonder  why I am so silly and foolish

to believe that the mere sight of my shadow can shatter me.

Gossips are nothing more than some restless mosquitoes that love to buzz to attract attention to their existence.

Why do I feel so disturbed and upset?

In our broken world where everything is changing so fast.

Everything passes before my eyes,

moment by moment, minute by minute,

day by day and month by month.

Only the wonderful presence of God is secure and permanent.

Solid as a rock.

Always here and now.

Always unchangeable.

Always loving without any condition.

Always compassionate and forgiving.

In season and out of season.

With the loving Lord, everyday is Christmas

that brings an abundance of grace.

What is the price for this wonderful divine gift?

Just be aware that God loves you as you are.

A love that is so profound that it boggles your imagination.

That you carry on being loving and forgiving to all people.

Because they are also the children of God.

We are all interconnected.

So live in peace and love in our broken world

Just as God is always loving.

Submitted by David YKK


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THE CRACKED POTS IN LIFE ARE PERFECTLY-HUMAN WITH THEIR BUILT-IN FLAWS

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LIFE IS FULL OF AMBIVALENCE & DISORDERS; CRACKS AND GAPS.

There is an interesting fable from India about a water bearer with two large pots. The two pots hung at both ends of the pole which he carried across his shoulder. One of the pots was perfectly made with no flaw and it never leaked.. But the other pot has several cracks caused by the accidental knocks and by the time the water bearer reached his master’s house, it had leaked much of its water. Thus the cracked pot could only carry a half-pot full of water when it reached its destination.

For a whole year, this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his master’s house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments but the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own ugly cracks that had inflicted a significant wound on its self-esteem.
This wounded self-esteem inevitably caused it to perform its task with only partial effectiveness, far below its intended capacity.

After a year of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, one day, the cracked pot spoke to the water bearer with lots of shame and guilt.
“I am ashamed off myself, and I want to apologize to you for my poor performance. I have been able, for the whole year, of delivering only half my load due to some visible cracks in my side. This has caused the leakage of a great amount of water onto the ground and you are not able to get the full credit for your work.”

The water bearer felt sincere empathy for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.”
Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot was mindful of the water bearer’s encouraging words and began to take notice of the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path. The sight of the beautiful flowers lifted the depressed moods of the cracked pot. But by the end of the trail, it began to feel bad again because it had leaked out half its load. Again the poor pot apologized to the bearer for its apparent failure.

In reply, the bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw and I took advantage of it. So I planted flower seeds on your side of the path and every day while we walk back from the stream, you actually water on the flower plants. For one whole year, I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”

Food For Reflection

Everyone of us is a cracked pot. This is the essence of being human. This is our common human condition.

However there are basically two types of cracked pots.
The majority of the cracked pots are not even aware that they are cracked and they simply don’t accept the fact of their cracked condition.
A small minority of the cracked pots are aware of their flawed condition and they are honest with themselves in taking realistic steps to repair their adverse conditions.
Self honesty is the key to finding out which category that you belong.

It is important to recognize the fact that God made us cracked pots with his divine intention. By making us partially cracked, God wants to share his job with us. He wants to make us his co-creators. He wants all his cracked pots to finish the task of co-creation by spending their lifetimes repairing and mending their broken lives until they become perfect.

Those cracked pots with lots of egos and self-denial will go about mending their cracks with flimsy glues such as acquisition of wealth and possessions, power-grabbing, winning social approval and admiration, etc. All these tools, however, complicate their jobs and make recovery much more difficult.

On the other hand, those cracked pots who are mindful of their flaws and human conditions, will first look for the divine clues to unravel the unique meaning of their lives. Once they know the life meanings assigned to them, they can see everything in perspective- their flaws and their disorders balanced with their strengths and their virtues. Then they can go about using the right glues to mend their lives.

The task of mending one’s cracked pot takes a life time. It is an ongoing assignment that only ends in death. If you use the flimsy temporary glues, your cracks will closed up for a short while and later on, the cracks will become more serious and more difficult to repair.

The cracks in your life need love and lots of it.
The cracks can only be repaired with God’s unconditional love.
A wounded self-esteem with lots of shame and guilt cannot be repaired by material possessions and wealth or power to control others etc.
Cracks caused by shame and slanders are often very deep and nothing can fill these gashes except God’s love. And the divine love will only be given in abundance to those who are repentant, humble and patient. Hence humility is an important prerequisite to pray for God’s compassion and love.

So don’t worry too much about your cracked conditions. All of us are in the same boat. The real hope is that we have a heavenly Father who is infinitely kind and loving towards us. In your prayer for your inner healing, be humble, be patient, and be compassionate towards His other needy children.
It is only when the students are ready that the teacher will appear.
So when you are ready to learn to unlearn and relearn that God will send a special teacher into your life to help you to repair your cracked pot.

Submitted by Alphonsus YKK

 

Take a few moments and ponder on this poem about gaps and cracks in our world-

THE GAPS

The gaps are the thing.

The gaps are the spirit’s one home, the altitudes and latitudes so dazzlingly spare

clean that the spirit can discover itself like a once-blinded man unbound.

The gaps are the clefts in the rock where you cower to see the back parts of God;

they are the fissures between mountains and cells the wind lances through,

the icy narrowing fiords splitting the cliffs of mystery.

Go up into the gaps. If you can find them; they shift and vanish too.

Stalk the gaps. Squeak into a gap in the soil, turn, and unlock- more than a maple-

A UNIVERSE.                            

                                                                                           (Poem by Annie Dillard)

 


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CHRISTMAS IS THE SEASON OF LOVE AND GRACE THAT JESUS BRINGS INTO OUR BROKEN WORLD TO SWEETEN THE HARSH REALITY OF THE TRUTH OF GOD’S JUSTICE AND COMMANDMENTS.

Our crosses are mysteriously interlinked...

 

(The cross of Jesus was embedded inside the template of his destiny and God’s divine will.)

Whenever I look around me, at me, and inside me, I am constantly bombarded by the awareness that we are all basically sinners living in the midst of other fellow sinners. Man, in spite of his intelligence and his progress in the quest of technological knowledge, seems to be deeply trapped by his human disorders and his obsessions with sensual pleasures, money, and worldly goods and power. Last week, I read the book, “Changes That Heal,” by Dr. Henry Cloud. In the  first chapter, the author tells us an interesting story that is relevant to our modern times.

This learned author starts his book with a story about an highly-advanced people living in a distant galaxy. They had everything they could ever desire- technology to solve every problem and more leisure that they could handle. But they were bored with their lives to the point of being bored to tears. They simply needed something new and exciting to enliven life in their planet.

So they decided to set up a special committee to brainstorm for new ideas to accomplish this task. They had pondered on many ideas such as coming up with a new sport or developing a new amusement park. Finally, it was an alien named Beezy that proposed the winning idea of creating a god. The novel concept was an instant hit. Everyone seemed to love the idea So they tried to invent a god. But it proved  to be an exercise in futility. Why? “Look, this is simply not working,” said Beezy. “What good is a god we can invent ourselves?  We’re smart enough to know that this is not a real god. Why don’t we find us a god instead- like the God the earthlings worship?”

The committee agreed   and supported the idea of sending Beezy to the Planet Earth to gather more information about the real God. Under his invisible cloak, Beezy visited uncountable churches and religious institutions. In his numerous interviews with people who managed these places, he obtained some interesting insights and jotted down copious notes for his report. When Beezy returned, he met with his committee and shared with them his observations and insights. “Fellow aliens,” he greeted them, “I have returned not with one god, but with two.”

Most of the committee members responded to his feedback with astonishment.

“The name of the first god , or should I say goddess, is Grace. Grace is an extremely attractive goddess. She talks about love often. She urges the people to love one another, forgive one another, and be nice to one another without any judgement. Then Beezy continued,  “What I like specially about the followers of Grace is the way they practised their religion such as feeding the poor and visiting the prisoners in jail. But what puzzles me is that these disciples of Grace seemed so lost.  They kept doing the same bad things over and over, and they never seemed to know where they were going.”

Beezy took another deep breath before he continued, “Then there is another god who is definitely a man. His name is Truth. Unlike Grace, Truth is mean and brutally honest. He kept telling his followers all sorts of things about them and made them feel really bad and rotten. Then his disciples also did and said  the same thing as their master to make one another feel bad. Truth launched workshops and religious sessions to condemn the common vices such as lying, cheating, adultery, abortion, and drunkenness. He is like a big religious street sweeper, sweeping away all the bad things. But in the process of cleaning up the streets, Truth also sweeps away the people who do the bad things. Following the footsteps of their master, the disciples of Truth also judge and condemn the other human beings in their community.”

After hearing the report and pondered over it, the committee were ready for a decision on the new amusement park.  They were in a dilemma because they did not like either god.  But Beezy had one last suggestion. “We have all this wonderful technology for blending repelling elements like water and oil. Why can’t we try blending Grace and  Truth?”

Grace is the first essential ingredient for human beings to grow up in the image of God. Grace is unearned, uninterrupted, and unbroken. It is a form of unconditional love. Grace is the unconditional love and compassion that God shows to all human beings. And he also urges his disciples to show and practice love to one another; forgive and accept  one another and gave themselves freely; and connect with people who are in pain,  to relieve their suffering and lived in togetherness.

However, those who worshiped Grace had only one major problem- they seldom heard the truth. As a result, they continued to fall into bad situations that required more and more grace. The grace of the goddess Grace  has no limit but the followers needed more directions to keep them from falling into the same old patterns over and over again.

This is where Truth comes into the picture. The second god was very good at setting limits on bad behavior. Truth is the second key ingredient necessary for growing up in the image of God. Truth is what is real and it describes the issue or behavior as it is. Truth is the skeleton that life hangs upon and adds shape in everything in the universe. It is like the structure of God. God’s truth leads us to what is real and what is accurate. God’s truth contains the form that our soul and spirit should take. But truth has its own problems. He is mean. He has none of the compassion that is shown by Grace. Truth lacks forgiveness, compassion or mercy which are the attributes of Grace.

As Grace left Beezy wanting structure and reality, Truth left Beezy wanting love, kindness, and compassion.

(Adapted from the book, “Changes That Heal” by Dr. Henry Cloud, a clinical psychologist.)

Come to think of it, this  is the reason  why Jesus comes into the world to show us the Gospel of the Good News. Jesus comes to show us His way of unconditional love balanced with His truth. He has come to remind us that it is important to obey the commandments of God but it is equally if not more important to love one another; forgive one another; and accept one another as children of God. In his defining last message during the Last Supper, Jesus stresses to his followers, “Love one another as I love you; by this will you be known as my disciples.” This is surely the fitting Christmas message that Jesus wants all of us to believe and practice in our daily lives.

Submitted by Alphonsus YKKok


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THE SHEER SIMPLICITY OF JESUS’ GOSPEL OF GOOD NEWS IS JUST GOD’S UNCONDITIONAL LOVE FOR WOUNDED HUMANITY.

 

JESUS’ COMING IS TO CONVINCE HUMANITY OF THE GOOD NEWS THAT GOD IS TRULY OUR FATHER WHO LOVES EVERYONE OF US UNCONDITIONALLY REGARDLESS OF OUR SINFUL PASTS.

When Adam and Eve committed the original sin and were expelled from Eden, the human race has been suffering from the negative impact of this sin- the lasting scar of a wounded self-esteem and toxic shame accompanied by lots of fears of insecurity.
Commonsense tells us that all new-born babies come into this world feeling very insecure and vulnerable. This is probably the first negative emotional endowment that we give to our babies. So fear and insecurity are no strangers to the new-born babies because they have been imprinted on their emotional templates soon after birth.

To aggravate this negative human condition, the babies have to be constantly bombarded and drilled with the toxic concepts of fears, shame and guilt during the vital years of growing up. Based on the ten commandments, parents, teachers, preachers, politicians and community leaders have devised countless prohibitions to stop the growing children from making mistakes so that they would grow up straight and perfect without any sinful stain or flaws.

Is it possible for any human being to become perfect without making any mistakes?
If any being can do that, then he or she would be an angel who has no need of a Messiah. There would be no need for Jesus Christ to introduce the revolutionary concept of God’s unconditional love. There would also be no need for the coming of Buddha to teach love and compassion to his followers.

Somehow it appears that God has designed and embedded into our human conditions that mistakes are essential for our transformation from chrysalis into butterflies. It is human to make mistakes just as the saying goes, `To err is human, to forgive is divine.’ It is no wonder that Jesus tells his disciples to forgive one another seventy times seven times which means that forgiveness has no limits.
It is no wonder that God’s love is unconditional which means that he is ever willing to forgive. It also means that the capacity of God’s love equals or surpasses with that of his mercy and forgiveness because God is essentially love.  What is tragic is that God’s forgiveness is only limited by the capacity of  our self-acceptance and self-worth /self-esteem. That is why it is so important to enlarge our capacity to love ourselves and to accept ourselves in spite of our ugliness and our messiness. Self-acceptance is the first step to  convince ourselves that we are worthy of God’s love.
The moment we hate and condemn ourselves is also the moment that we are most likely to despair and give up on ourselves. We know that when despairing humans reach this irrevocable point, it is the tragic moment of committing suicide.

When Jesus proclaims His message that he is the truth, the way and the life, I believe that he is telling us of God’s unconditional love. Jesus’ truth is love, his way is love and his life is also love. Love is the truth that Jesus came into the world to preach; love is the only way to our salvation; and love is the ultimate purpose of our lives. In short, Jesus is telling us that love is the core meaning of our lives; all else is subsidiary to this love. If we want to follow and practice the Gospel of Love that Jesus came to die for, then this love has to be unconditional and extended to all human beings without exception. ‘Love one another as I have loved you; by this will others know that you are my disciples.’ This crucial statement qualifies and defines the authentic Christian discipleship. Love and compassion is what really defines a good human being when he/she becomes more kind and humane to other needy and broken people.

The three keys to successful real estate investment are location, location and location. Similarly, the three keys to successful spiritual investment are love, love and love. Love God; love your fellow men and then love yourself.
The Buddhist philosophy urges us to go further and extend our love to all living creatures in this world. Love is so important that the Bible tells us that love can cover a multitude of sins.

Jesus has shown us that love is the truth, the way and the life. It is through love that all human beings will be saved from their human conditions and sinfulness.
Now ponder on this question. Do you think Jesus has over-emphasized on the importance of love in our lives? I believe love is the only human quality that will not turn toxic in its abundance whereas most other virtues can become vices once they are overdone or over -practiced. When can we ever develop sufficient love to match the love of God? If we can reach that point, then we may  become part of God.

In fact, Jesus shows us that the way to heaven is simple- the way of unconditional love whereas we human beings have made things truly complicated by adding too many rules with our sheer imagination and our selfish personal agendas. Just become more aware of God’s unconditional love for all of us and then practice this important insight in our daily life. This is the royal road to all inner healing of our suffering, flaws and compulsive disorders.

Submitted by Alphonsus YKK


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YOU CAN ALWAYS TRUST AND DEPEND ON GOD’S UNCONDITIONAL LOVE TO HEAL YOUR WOUNDED SELF-ESTEEM.

God's love  has healed the massive wound of this tree and He can do the same for your wounded self-esteem

Experiencing God’s unconditional love in the midst of your despair and loneliness.

In your struggles with slanders and gossips, it is so easy to feel discouraged and despair!

Sometimes you may even ask yourself, “Why are human beings so mean and insensitive? Why are they so inhuman? What do they gain by pushing someone to the edge of despair and suicide? etc etc” Trapped in the cyclone of toxic gossips, the victims are literally stripped of their last vestiges of self-respect. Facing the onslaught of vicious gossips and toxic shame is often such a lonely journey! You can’t talk to anyone- not even your close friends or relatives. Most of the time, you walk alone through the valley of darkness. You feel trapped in a dark dungeon without a ray of light.  It is like walking into the room with 10,000 demons, according to the myth of  Tibetan Buddhism. The Buddhist master will tell you that if you want to gain enlightenment, you have to enter this special room that is filled with illusions and apparitions that assume the form of demons to frighten you. They are not real but if you are paralyzed by fears, then you will not be able to find your way out of the room. Then you will become another lost soul in the room!

Fortunately, you have a choice. You can’t control your external circumstances but you can control your perception about God’s unconditional love. You can awaken your awareness to see God  as He is- full of love for you. He wants to reach you to support you and fill you with His grace and  love. You have  a choice to accept His love to repair your wounded self-esteem.

I have just come across the following article by Ron Edmonton who portrays the unconditional love of God beautifully. Please open your heart and mind to ponder on the value of this great spiritual  weapon -God’s unconditional love- to battle with gossips. Yes,  God’s love for you is the best medication for the inner healing of your wounded self-esteem that will eventually lead to your recovery from guilt and shame and the emergence of your authentic happy life.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.”

 Hebrews 4:16 NIV

“Do you know why you can approach God’s throne of grace with confidence?

Unconditional Love!   God loves you unconditionally!

Have you ever experienced the awesome feeling of knowing you are loved unconditionally?

I have come to realize how many people struggle with understanding the concept of unconditional love.

I feel so blessed to have grown up under this kind of love. My mother loves her children no matter what. I honestly believe there is nothing I could do in which she would not find a way to support me. She may not always agree with me, and she may be quick to point that out, but I have always known that I have one person in my corner.

I find that kind of love in my wife.  She can’t seem to NOT love me.  At times, it seems I test that theory I’m sure, but regardless of my attitude that day or the way I respond to her, she keeps on loving me.

I hope you had the experience of unconditional love, because it will go a long way toward understanding the deep love of our wonderful God. The truth is, however, that no matter what our experience is, we cannot fathom the depth of God’s love for His children (Ephesians 3:19).

The love of God is deeper than our level of comprehension. He loves us, not because of who we are, but because of who HE is! He is God! He is the Creator, Sustainer and Protector of the Universe. He made you and me in His image so that He could love us and we could love Him. He doesn’t just give us love; He is love.

God loves you unconditionally. You didn’t earn it; you don’t deserve it; you couldn’t buy it; and you can’t sell it. His love is yours whether you accept it or not. You cannot stop His love based on your behavior.

I don’t mean to oversimplify this, but I need to make sure I am clear on this one topic: ………………G O D  L O V E S   Y O U ! ! !………………………and He always will!”

(Adapted from Ron Edmondson’s article on his website- http://www.ronedmondson.com/)