Biblical lessons in the headlines

CTALK - Cito Beltran - The Philippine Star

Very few people would ever think to associate the news and headlines with biblical lessons, but as I thought about the connection of the news and the Bible, it struck me that so many of the headlines or news can somehow be connected to lessons from the Book of Proverbs, Psalms as well as the New Testament, among others. In fact, if some people had read and followed those lessons, they would not be in the mess they’re in, not wanted fugitives, would be out of jail or maybe still alive.

Time and again, we read about how politicians and powerful people, along with their family members, have flaunted their position, fire power and connections while hurting or humiliating others. Whether it’s a politician involved in a traffic altercation, an official waving his title and position in arrogance, some rich jerk who thinks everyone is his domestic helper, a celebrity or even a member of media, we have all read and watched someone’s abuse in the news.

Privately many people pray that they meet someone or “maka tapat ng mas gago,” others simply lift them up to God for justice, but let us not pray: “Sana kunin mo na sila Lord” because “the prayers of a righteous person avails much.” When I can, I share the verse from the Book of Proverbs to remind such people that: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty (arrogant) spirit before a fall” – Proverbs 16:18.

From the northernmost provinces of Luzon, the Visayas, down to Mindanao, there are decades upon decades of stories and headlines covering political families and multi-millionaires and gambling lords who had “Guns, Goons and Gold.” Others have guns, gold and corrupt law enforcers and politicians in their pockets instead of goons or private armies. The difference between the two is that one has yet to fall and pay the price, while the latter has seen it, experienced it or won’t do the dirty work themselves.

Those who have no guard rails, or no fear of man and God, ultimately become a target of God. You don’t have to be a warlord, gambling lord or an abusive superstar. All that’s needed is for you to be so full of yourself that, as our lolos and lolas used to say: “Ni hindi ka na natakot sa diyos” or you’re not even afraid of God’s wrath or payback. You don’t just disobey the basic Ten Commandments; you actually flaunt your disobedience or deadly lifestyle or alternative anti-God philosophy.

People often wonder why they get away with murder, others ascribe it to what money and power can buy you. But if you are privileged enough to live a long life and have a habit of reading the news and observing history as it happens, you will see that justice and God do not operate on your clock and your calendar or agenda. In fact, many people in history have asked why God takes forever to pass divine judgment.

Biblically speaking, God has the biggest weighing scale of all. In it, He weighs sins versus outcry. He has often said that the sins of certain men, nations or kings have poured out (just like the famous line “Napuno na ang salop”) or because the outcry of his people have reached Heaven, like the Israelites in Egypt. Yes, it is your prayers and outcry that get God’s attention and not the frontpage headlines.

God also has the biggest, most forgiving heart, not wanting that you simply die but that you get all the chances before the scale tips against your favor. But once you push your luck, God acts.

Please make time to read Romans Chapter 1 verses 21 to 32 because it is a literal and graphic explanation of the fall of man and woman.

Think of all the arrogant men and women who thought of themselves as the smartest, most cunning and most intelligent people and thought they could get away with schemes, scams, destabilization, theft, disinformation and rape, human trafficking, even murder.

If you have been reading the headlines for the last 10 to 15 years, you might recall all the names of people who thought they could get away with murder and are now on the run or in jail or spending every remaining centavo they have corrupting the justice system just to stay out of jail. Every three to six months, I read about the case of a legislator, mayor, government official indicted in the pork barrel scam, ex-politicians indicted or sentenced for illegal contracts or malversation.

So many of them actually thought they could get away with almost anything until a rival leaked their activities, an unhappy wife squealed on a corrupt husband, a lingering lover’s quarrel turns into abuse and ultimately murder, partners in crime and corruption betrayed and turned on each other, some alalay or henchman decides to do their boss a favor or suck up to him by killing the competition or people who stole from their business. They all thought they were so wise until they got stupid!

Yes, they could have it all and for what? We don’t put too much value or thought to the question/verse:

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his soul?  Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul” Mark 8:36-37.

There is no profit big enough, exciting enough or so enviable that it is worth your soul. I know of people who have spent years as fugitives to this day. Unable to see their family, sleep in their own house or honestly say they are enjoying a peaceful, worry free day of rest. You never rest when you are running from God. Moses did not, Jonah did not, and a host of others did not — until they surrendered to God’s will.

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