Until it happens to you

He was an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), as was his wife, while their children were growing up, and yet they managed to raise three of the kindest, most beautiful and hardworking people I know. When he was done being an OFW, he found work in Manila as a liaison officer, facilitating between taxi drivers and their management, as well as with government agencies. That’s what he was doing at the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) when he was shot dead by two assassins on a motorcycle

There are no official statements about an investigation into his murder. Personally I blame President Duterte and his lawless, inhumane war on drugs. No connection? Think about it. Because it is presidentially sanctioned to kill drug addicts and drug pushers, many have been wrongfully identified and killed. Many have been collateral damage. You can kill someone and say, “Oops, sorry, I thought I saw his name/picture on the list of druggies”, and you’d get off scot-free. And you justify the killing even more by saying, “But look at how much safer we are, how much cleaner our country is now.”

And you’d tell me, because I personally blame the president you voted for, “Well what do you know, you don’t live here anymore. You haven’t come home in years.”

But I have family there. And he was my sister-in-law’s father. And if that could happen to him who’s brave and street-smart and kind, who worked a proper job, and just buried his wife early this year after her struggle with Alzheimer’s, and cradled my baby nephew in his arms a couple of months ago… If that could happen to him, it could happen to anyone else I love who is still living in what suddenly seems like a God-forsaken city. It could happen to someone you love. Or it could happen to you.

I don’t mean to blame God. I know that His heart is breaking over this, too. But I have a question about, or maybe take issue with, obeying Romans 13:1-7 with regards to the President of the Philippines.

I confess that I did not take this Scripture seriously when, as a fool-hardy university student, I wrote against the high school dropout who was plundering our country. I was self-righteously angry, and the Philippine Daily Inquirer gave me a platform, and – to his credit – Estrada was not an inhumane man. I joined my generation when we walked out of our classes to march towards the Edsa shrine, just as my parents marched with their generation in 1986.

Who will march now? Who will join arms (kapit-bisig) and stand up to the potty-mouthed bully in Malacañang?

I called him Tito (uncle) Eddie. What happened to him could happen to anyone. Because the President of the Philippines made it open season for anything.

Tama na. Sobra na. Palitan na.

Where is the love?

I planned to write this last night, but laziness got the best of me. Or maybe not. Suddenly it’s more poignant to ask, in light of the news of yet another bombing that we woke up to this morning – this one much closer to home. Where is the love?

My third week of Hymns on She Reads Truth began with a reminder of God’s Amazing Grace, and how Great is Thy Faithfulness. On Wednesday, I was chastised to examine what my heart has its sights set on (Be Thou My Vision). Ah but Thursday and Friday I rejoiced in What Wondrous Love is This; a “love so amazing, so divine [that] demands my soul, my life, my all” (When I Survey the Wondrous Cross).

Where is the love? When I got home on Friday, my social media feed was on fire with the re-release of The Black Eyed Peas’ #whereisthelove. The world asks.

God is love. And yet the world keeps turning away from this Love, keeps denying this Love. But it’s not just the world. We who carry Love’s name, I am ashamed to say, often fail to demonstrate to the world the wondrous love and amazing grace we have been given. Sometimes, we’re even more un-gracious and unloving. Where is the love? I am humbled and called by a wondrous, amazing Love to be His hands and feet to a world that is broken right now, even as I struggle with letting Him mend my brokenness. And so I pray that I – we – can love with His Love.