I am definitely Filipino. I'd probably get a "So what?" for that statement. I am virtually nobody and even I myself would retort, "Yeah, so what?"
Ipinagmamalaki ko ang pagiging Pinoy ko. (I take pride in my being Filipino). I believe that times of crisis prompt us to do something and whatever we do - or say - will reveal who we really are. I am a true brown Filipino and whatever feedback that statement will elicit - negative or positive -nothing can change the fact that I am definitely Filipino.
Here's another fact, however, which is more significant and far more important than myself: TYPHOON ONDOY. Probably all the corners of the world - real and virtual - already know that Typhoon Ondoy (international code: Ketsana) has wreaked havoc to the Philippines, particularly to Metro Manila.
As of this morning, the death toll is continuing to rise. Relief operations and calls for rescue have been ongoing 24/7. Thank God that He commanded the rains to stop and commanded the sun to shine on Sunday morning. The waters have already subsided in EDSA, the metro's major thoroughfare, but still our nation mourns its losses and the fact that most parts of the National Capital Region (NCR) are still submerged in flood.
My family in Pasig City was not entirely spared from Ondoy. Our kitchen floor was filled with water but thankfully, the waters subsided after a few hours. The loss of electricity prompted my mother, my uncle and my brother-in-law to make sure that my 10-month old nephew was spared from mosquito bites and the risk of dengue. I also couldn't get an update from them for several hours because the phone lines were cut. In spite of that, we still were thankful that they had a bed to sleep on and a roof over their heads while Ondoy raged overnight at 85kph.
It's a sad fact that one of my sister's friends who lives in Marikina, has been crying that her one and only brother has been stranded on the Rosario Bridge and couldn't get home because of Ondoy. On ordinary days, the bridge is just about 10 minutes away from their house. It's a sad fact that two of my friends from Marikina and Novaliches (towns which are like 2 endpoints to a line), lost all their family's material possessions to Ondoy.
It's a sad fact that our country is not totally prepared for typhoons like Ondoy who "was not as powerful as many of the typhoons that hit the country but dumped a record-breaking 341 millimeters of rain in just six hours" (visit www.gmanews.tv for more details). It's a sad fact that Makati, the country's business hub, lost thousands - or perhaps even millions - in revenue and equipment.
And it's a sad, sad fact that amidst the "crisis" that struck the highly urbanized part of the country, amidst all the help that has been coming in from all sectors of society and amidst the compassion that struck the heart of many Filipinos and the positive response of our kababayans in praying together and helping one another, there is one Filipino in Dubai named Jacque (or Jack) Bermejo who doesn't seem to care.
Why am I posting this? I want to INJECT SOME SENSE into the bickering that went on (and is still going on somehow) in the virtual world of Facebook and Multiply over this person.
Purportedly, the person, Jacqueline Bermejo, is a 4-year PR Associate in the Middle East who is currently working with a number of luxury property developers (as Ryan Ericson Canlas in his blog, "Speaking One's Mind" has posted). Bermejo is said to claim that her account has been hacked, but there is proof of her replies that bespeak of pride and a self-righteous attitude .
Now, whether or not there is truth to this "case," I personally believe with all certainty that GOD KNOWS EVERYTHING, He is in control, and that EVERYONE (including myself) HAS SINNED. I also know and believe that there is really only ONE enemy who is deceitful, clever and cunning and is the master of discord. This enemy is Satan, the father of lies. Bermejo, if her heartless statement be true, is clearly being used by the enemy and the sad truth is, she might not even be aware of it.
The Philippines is in a period of spiritual awakening. The demise of the nation's First Lady President Corazon Aquino ("Tita Cory") has left thousands of Filipinos emulating her virtues of simplicity, integrity and prayerfulness. She has been the instrument of reconciliation for our nation when we were in dire need of freedom from the hands of a dictator. She has left a legacy of faith. As for the coup attempts because of the liberation of communist rebels and the increase in NPAs during her time, I don't know. I am not anti-Marcos but neither am I pro-Cory - and that is beside the point of this blogpost.
Several weeks after Tita Cory died, the leader of the independent religious sect Iglesia ni Cristo, Eraño Manalo ("Ka Erdy") died of cardiopulmonary arrest. Many people debate on the plight of the large church which has grown exponentially through more than four decades under Ka Erdy's leadership.
A pastor in a local church once remarked that "There is no crisis where Christ is," and I have personally experienced the truth of such statement. Being a Christian, I believe that only faith can truly save us and give us the kind of peace that we seek. No amount of good works can merit our salvation and certainly no religion, ritual or tradition can ever replace a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and His Word.
I have the privilege of seeing the nonsense of the "Bermejo case" as a ploy of Satan to DIVIDE the Filipino people. I think that he must be enjoying all the attention that is being drawn towards his protegee. I am not saying Bermejo is a she-devil, all I'm saying is, if she's not a victim of identity theft, she is under the spell of the master deceiver. But the bottomline of all this is: IT IS TIME FOR THE FILIPINOS TO WAKE UP.
The Filipino people has long been spiritually dead. We've long been apathetic of the corruption in our government. It seems that we've been quite used to corruption that we even fail to see or admit our own corruption - the corruption in our own hearts.
The Filipino people has lost intimacy with the One True God and has failed to see that JESUS is the Only Way to Heaven, that He is the Only Mediator and no one else.
Let it be known that GOD EXISTS and HE IS ALIVE. Without GOD nothing will ever make sense. Without JESUS in the Number One spot in the hearts and lives of every Filipino, we cannot truly be a CHRISTian nation.
Countless calls for prayers have been exchanged within and outside the Philippines through the internet. Help is being rendered in the best possible way and I do not doubt that all agencies in the government are working together and choosing to let go of their personal needs to serve the interest of the nation. Sadly, many of our fellow Filipinos, in their own self-centeredness, choose to complain, criticize or even fret over and shout profanity (all those P-words, F-words and S-words) over people like Bermejo. They curse her because she has said that we "sinners" deserve it. But come to think of it, the Bible says that "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) "There is NO ONE righteous, not even one." (Romans 3:9-11)
If Bermejo indeed published that self-righteous statement, shame on her; she's a sinner just like everyone else and just like everyone else, she ALSO deserves to die - "For the wages of sin is death." (Romans 6:23) HOWEVER, those who have "condemned" her and have thrown stones at her with all those Ps and Fs and Ss are equally guilty of being self-righteous:
1-5 "Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, 'Let me wash your face for you,' when your own face is distorted by contempt? It's this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor." (Matthew 7:2-4, The Message)
We can be angry yet not sin by responding as JESUS would. JESUS had all the right to become angry and defend Himself. He had done nothing wrong, not even a hint of sin was found in Him. Yet He blazed the trail for us, took up all our sins for us and nailed them on the Cross on our behalf. He shed His blood for you and me so that if we, by faith, believe in Him, we will receive the free gift of eternal life, obtain forgiveness for our sins and "live happily ever after" with Him in Heaven.
Whether or not Bermejo admits having given that statement and asks for a public apology, we can err on the side of caution and be merciful just as God is merciful on us. JESUS commands us: "Love one another as I have loved you. By this all men will know that you are My disciples if you love one another." A true disciple (follower) of Jesus will strive, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to live his life on earth as Jesus lived it.
I know that it is easy to love people who are positive, humble, agreeable and generous and I know, too, how extremely difficult it is to love those who are abrasive, negative, arrogant, and self-centered. Yet God commands us in Luke 6:27-28:
27-30"To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously."
Now that you've reached this part, I want to thank you for your open mind and your humble heart. Before you go, allow me to ask you: Do you LOVE God?
I do hope that your answer is YES.
So... WHY do you love God?
"19We love because He first loved us. 20If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother." (1 John 4:19-20)
This is my plea, my PANAWAGAN for all Filipinos all over the world:
1 John 4:7-8
Mga minamahal, mag-ibigan tayo sa isa't isa sapagkat ang pag-ibig ay mula sa Diyos. Ang sa bawat isang umiibig, ang kanilang kapanganakan ay mula sa Diyos at nakakilala sa Diyos. Ang hindi umiibig ay hindi nakakilala sa Diyos dahil ang Diyos ay pag-ibig.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
“The life of Christianity consists of possessive pronouns” says Martin Luther. It is one thing to say, “Christ is a Saviour”; it is quite another thing to say, “He is my Saviour and my Lord.” The devil can say the first; the true Christian alone can say the second.”
What can YOU say?