Getting what we deserve?

DEMAND AND SUPPLY - Boo Chanco - The Philippine Star

“If my people pray to me and repent and turn away from the evil they have been doing, then I will hear them in heaven, forgive their sins, and make their land prosperous again.”

That quotation from 2 Chronicles 7:14 had been percolating in my mind for weeks now. A sinner myself, I had been reluctant to write this column. But there is this nagging feeling that I must.

Our archbishops, bishops, and priests have strongly denounced the evil in the temporal politics of our nation,  but it really is more than that. Duterte is just one side of the coin. We are on the other side.

In very simple terms, we have, as a people, embraced sinfulness as a way of life. We are God’s people, the only Christian majority country in our part of the world. But we have lost the ability to listen to that inner voice called conscience. And that ensures evil triumphs all the time.

We no longer have a sense of right or wrong in our personal and private lives. Public officials, private businessmen, and common citizens seem to have concluded that money and power is all that it is about.

There was some disgust when we found out that billions of pesos were channeled by our government to a scandalous taxpayer rip-off, while people went hungry during lockdowns.

But anger was as short lived as the day’s headlines. Then it was as if corruption is normal. Even the President isn’t interested in letting the truth come out.

Yes, most politicians are crooks, but we are also complicit. Society idolizes anyone with money, with no regard as to how they came upon their wealth.

The Ferraris and Lamborghinis, mansions in Forbes Park or Ayala Alabang earn crooks respect. They should be ostracized instead.

Even respectable business people claiming to be Christians hobnob with the mob of presidential cronies and influence peddlers and allow their banks to do business with them. It is as if it is possible to separate their Christianity with their business ethics.

I was wondering, if banks can say they will not lend to projects that damage the environment, why are they lending to cronies that damage our social fabric?

Then again, an entire nation sinning and causing our God to be so offended is nothing new. God’s chosen people, the Jews, have repeatedly offended God by worshiping idols and adopting immoral lifestyles.

God was so angered at one point that he allowed pagan nations to invade Israel, causing the Jews to be taken into exile and the capital Jerusalem destroyed and abandoned. It took generations before God’s chosen people were allowed to reclaim their land and rebuild Jerusalem.

In our case, we want to believe that a new Constitution, a new form of government will change our miserable situation. But we are unlikely to get relief unless there is a dramatic change of heart among our people.

The Bible calls that repentance. And with repentance comes a new way of life that will abhor sin as much as our  God does.

But, you may ask, can an entire nation repent to change the course of their lives? Yes, think Nineveh.

The Old Testament book of Jonah talks of a great city called Nineveh, which caught God’s ire because of its sinfulness. God ordered the prophet Jonah to go to Nineveh and warn them that in 40 days, Nineveh would face God’s judgment and would be destroyed unless the people repent.

Amazingly, the people took heed and the king proclaimed a fast, ordered everyone to put on sackcloth from the greatest of them to the least and cry mightily to God for forgiveness.

Furthermore, the king called on everyone to turn from their evil ways and from the violence that is in their hands. God saw what was in their hearts as they repented and did not destroy Nineveh.

Repentance is about turning away from sin. It starts with the Holy Spirit convicting us of our sins. It is about believing in a holy God who will not tolerate sin.

There are those of us who think that if we get a  servant-leader who is God-fearing and with the competence to run our government to replace Duterte, our problems are solved.

If that’s all we need, let us make sure VP Leni is elected next May because she is all that… competent and a servant leader with the common good as her only motive to be in public office.

We can pray for God to intervene and let VP Leni lead now. Pero parang sayang si Leni. It may be like throwing a pearl to pigs (Matthew 7:6).

According to the opinion polls, our people are more comfortable with filth. The high approval rating of the current administration despite obvious mismanagement (#53 among 53 countries in pandemic resilience) and corruption shows we are in our comfort zone now.

Maybe we are so used to living in darkness, the light has become more of a threat than a liberator. We curse the light or enjoy seeing Duterte do that.

Then again, maybe God is using Duterte not only to punish us, but also to make us realize there is a better alternative if we only repent and change our ways.

After all, God can make bad things work to bring good. Romans 8:28 says “And we know God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.”

Duterte, his curses and vile language, his blasphemy and his brazen coddling of evil cronies in the midst of this pandemic may be part of God’s plan to wake us up.

And it starts with all of us repenting of our acceptance of evil in our way of life. Until then, we are all hypocrites denouncing the evil in our leadership, but living comfortably ourselves with sin in our business and personal lives.

If this is so, complain no more. We are getting what we rightfully deserve.


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Boo Chanco’s email address is [email protected]. Follow me on twitter @boochanco

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