How to Survive in a Traffic Jam

Yesterday, while I was driving slowly and safely on the left lane, a car behind me started to honk. The honking repeated for a while until it became an infuriating, resounding blare. My natural instincts told me to stop my car in the middle of the jam, grab the hammer under my seat, get down from my car and smash the other car’s windscreen.

Well, I didn’t.

Instead, I just continued crawling in the jam and ignored him. Well, it turned out that the other driver was just impatient and wanted to make a quick turn left to escape the jam and I happen to be at the turning that was stopping him (he seemed to have overlooked the fact that we were all in a jam and I cannot move anywhere else). In his agitation, he showed me the middle finger as he made his left turn. In that split second, in my anger, I wanted to curse his next ten generations so that they will all be caught in car accidents involving huge trucks and if that doesn’t kill them, the cement slabs from the flyover constructions will collapse and crush them like minced meat (all of these happened while I had loud Christian music playing in the background).

Well, I didn’t.

Instead, I retracted all my murderous, diabolical thoughts and said a prayer. I asked God to forgive me for allowing my carnal self to foster such thoughts. I asked God to bless him, keep him (and others) safe on the road and that this man would reach home safely to his family.

You know what? Jesus did that too (no, not driving recklessly on the road). Unlike any other prophet or deity ever, Jesus asked God to forgive those who hurt/offend Him. He prayed for those who were against Him. When He was wrongly accused by those who were against Him and unjustly crucified for crimes He did not commit, He prayed for His accusers, saying, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34 NKJV)

Now, that’s what I call living (and driving) with style.


Center Point

“If the sun was to move even the slightest bit, the whole solar system and all the planets will go off tangent and will start crashing into one another,” said the ever intelligent Ps Shawn as he was preaching at this morning’s church service.

He wasn’t there to give us a lesson on astronomy though. He used that as an illustration to show the importance of a center point. An anchor that holds everything together. In the context of astronomy, he was referring to the sun and how it holds together the laws of the universe (gravity, heat, proximity and etc). In the context of life, he was refering to the power of the cross and how Christ holds together our lives (emotion, physical, spiritual and every other aspect).

But all too often, and very naturally, we trade our center points with other more “tangible” and earthly things. Fame, money, success, family, health, wellbeing, power, pleasure and so on. Guess what? All these are are mere “temporals” and they’re bound to fail one way or another. It’s just a matter of time they fail, and when they do, our worlds come crumbling down (the same way planets crash if the sun fails to stay put).

So, why should we set Christ and what He has done on the cross for us as our center point? What’s so significant about Jesus’ crucifixion on the cross? To answer that question, Ps Shawn gave us a short English lesson on each of Jesus’ final words when he was hanging there on that cross. The famous final three words,

“It is finished.” (John 19:30)

The word “It” refers to the sacrifice for sins, “is” refers to an ever-present notion that never expires nor changes and “finished” (from the Hebrew root word “Tetelestai”) refers to:

1. An act of completion/perfection (when nothing else can be added)
2. A transaction/deal made final (when nothing else can be changed)
3. A notion of paid in full (when nothing else can be compensated anymore)

So, when Jesus uttered the words, “It is finished,” it means:

1. It is utterly arrogant for us to think that our good works/actions (which the Bible calls filthy rags) can make God forgive us more because Jesus has already completed/perfected the “work” part by dying on the cross for us.
2. It is utterly offensive to think that our works/actions (be it good or bad) can ever change God’s mind to forgive us when Jesus has already sealed the deal with God. His body and life for ours. That was the deal. Not (and never) our works for our salvation.
3. It is utterly foolish to work/serve harder in order to “pay” God more for our forgiveness when Jesus has already paid for our ransom in full.

For these three words, I am thankful. Thankful because I can never outdo what Christ has done for me out of His eternal love for me. Thankful because I can never be holy or evil enough to make God change His mind about me, always the apple of His eye. Thankful because I can never repay God enough yet nothing can ever rob me from His promise of undeserved salvation.