REPENTANCE FOR ALL
by Denise Raterta
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Charter change is known to provoke great agitation in many sectors, and consequently spawns a host of heated debates. Small wonder, the administration’s proposal rouses even more resistance amid telltale diversionary schemes signaling the intention to obscure the president’s credibility crisis or to provide her with a dignified exit rather than to usher the country to recovery. The bid for a constitutional overhaul is indeed most unsettling for those who comfortably owe their power and affluence to the existing warped system, among them several members of the Legislative body who probably feel threatened by the impending doom of abridgment or abolition of their position of power that follows such change.
Whether the pinch for charter change is timely or not—a more important problem urgently needs addressing, especially for a nation fraught with multiple millstones around its neck. Too long and too often have we fixed the spotlight on politics and human philosophy, which hardly yielded genuinely good and lasting results for the Filipinos, nor offered true redemption for our ever more deteriorating country. Rather than dwell uselessly on the comparatively doubtful merits and demerits of either a presidential or parliamentary form of government, our focus must shift to our “value or moral system”, instead. If anything ought to be always of timely and urgent necessity, it would be the whole nation’s resolve to let morality take precedence over politics.
The pith of prioritizing morality over politics essentially gravitates to repentance pointblank as the singular keystone to any truly salient change, certainly not without Scriptural warrant--God's admonition in 2 Chronicles 7:14 is to any nation most substantively rehabilitative: “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
To trivialize moral regeneration as a long-term proposition inferior to the immediacy of altering political structure, is to tolerate endless entrapment in the proverbial chicken-and-egg puzzle. To derail humility is to beguile repentance. To beguile repentance is to deprive moral regeneration of bedrock footing, thereby delaying any progress toward healing. Justifiably, political reform is, at any rate, no vindicatory substitute for moral regeneration.
It is utterly sanctimonious to assign repentance exclusively to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her administration party. It is also hypocrisy to demand atonement from the opposition alone, just as it would be pharisaical pressing only the left- or right-wing advocates for contrition. Or the media. Or our colonizers. No, that repentance is pivotal is everybody’s onus. We, as a nation, have aggregately fallen short of “heaven’s apple-pie order.”
Who better to get this ‘healing crusade’ underway than the very ones who have experienced genuine transformation from the Great Restorer Himself, our Lord Jesus Christ? Ideally, it is the Christians who can best model true penitence, having received undeserved pardon and grace from God. In reality, however, not all of these supposedly “set apart people” possess a good sense of accountability for their identity and purpose as God’s ambassadors.
Instead of spending our energies on pointless politicking, politicizing and grandstanding, would it not be more productive if we gather our strength to unitedly kindle the passion for repentance of those within (perchance, those outside, too, for there is no limiting God’s power of intervention) our sphere of influence? All too often, we tend to brush off or even misuse our potential to make a difference in a world monopolized by hypocrisy and humanism. All too often, we allow ourselves to be consumed by our self-serving ideologies that stain our integrity as God’s true disciples. All too often, we compromise the very thing we hoped we stand for, which is honest-to-goodness love for God and consequently for each other as well. Is not the time ripe for us to start showing the world that we are actually sticking together, us Christians, to fervently pray for the release of our nation from the shackles of venality and amorality, as well as to tenaciously voice out our call for the entire nation’s repentance, with us much fervor as the prophet Jeremiah displayed for the Israelites? Regardless of the diversity and oftentimes divisiveness so apparent in many born-again Christian groups, this would be the one cause that should set all believers aflame for harmony.
As the ‘light’ and ‘salt’ of this world (Mt 5:13,14), we would do well to be as adamant in devising and exhibiting tangible albeit biblical expressions of our contempt for discord and lack of love especially within our Christian family as we are in making headway for our motherland. As true blue believers, we would do well to value constructive programs for national progress over pompous finger-pointing. God never liked hypocrisy. As bona fide children of God, neither should we.
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