Musings on Christian beings of salt and light…

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I am or I used to be mababaw (shallow) luha (tears) (Filipino phrase for someone who cries easily). I cry when I see people cry. My mom used to say in Hokkien, “khin (shallow) bak (eyes).” Perhaps as I get older or (ahem) more mature, I learned to control or hold back the tears – esp. tears of self-pity; the ‘poor me’ kind of tears. I also tried to be “braver” as I empathize and cry with hurting friends.

One Sunday, I cried in church. Why? I saw a wife crying as her husband was being baptized. I know they were tears of joy. The husband said yes firmly when the pastor asked if he believed and would obey Jesus. The pastor revealed to us that the family came out of Islam. That day, the husband, wife and their son were baptized.

There are implications of coming to faith in Jesus from being a Muslim. It is a very brave and inspiring testimony to accept Jesus openly. I truly ‘felt’ the wife’s joy even though I am not a Muslim. Until she was baptized herself, she could not stop crying. What a touching scene for the whole family to be baptized together!

To be an open Christian takes courage – especially when persecution comes or when the Christian is not among fellow Christians. It is easy to talk of our faith and do the “Christian” thing when we are among believers.

Unfortunately, that is not the reality. We have non-Christian colleagues, friends, classmates. How are we doing when what is being said or done is against our faith? What do we do? Do we stand up for our faith? Do we speak the truth in love? Do we keep quiet and maintain status quo? Do we avoid conflict? Are we timid or are we brave?

In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus taught his disciples to be salt and light of the world. The idea of being the light of the world is to show people the right thing to do. Is my light bright enough to make a difference? When the room is in total darkness, even a light as small as the LED indicator of the water dispenser is enough. When the room is bright in sunlight, the tiny light becomes insignificant, does it not? The collective light of brave Christians becomes the bright light that overcomes the big darkness of wrong. On the other hand, is my light too glaring or blinding that people would rather close their eyes and turn away?

What about the salt? Am I too bland or too blunt (too salty)? To be salt (useful salt) is to bring just the right taste to the dish – just enough – neither too bland nor too salty. I might care too much of how people would respond to my words that I keep quiet. Or I could be too assertive speaking my mind without concern how my words might hurt people.

Brave and wise Christians speak the truth in love – just enough to point people in the right direction but not turning them away because the words are full of grace ‘seasoned’ with salt.

Lord, please purify my tongue that I may speak your grace and seasoned with salt so that those who hear will see and know you, Jesus. Amen.

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