The Many Faces of Me

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I’ve been thinking that as I grow older, I seem to be evolving into a multi-complex person: serious, funny, seemingly extrovert but really an introvert, someone who’s playing “Knock, knock, who’s there” with myself.

In the FB culture, people choose their best profile pic, post good memories, share happy events and smiling faces. Yet behind all these ‘faces,’ there is a side unseen, that only family members know and helpers at home see… even some blind spots that only God sees.

It’s been a long way since childhood when I’d go hide in the bedroom when visitors came to our home. My mom would say: Oh, please excuse her, she’s shy.

A comment on my elementary report card read “No initiative.” Not knowing what it meant, I sensed it’s not a positive one. Next came the ‘snobbish’ awkward adolescent, sad/envious of her more popular friends. Yet, these friends were my security blanket. I was content to be in their shadows; a follower to their programs and ideas. And in our ‘barkada’ (hi school gang), I felt secure and accepted.

Indeed, God worked out all things for my good. One by one, these friends migrated north. I was left with ‘older’ church friends – models and mentors to this day. Then I got married. God used marriage to hammer and mold me to be more like Jesus.
Not that I have arrived or become the best that I can be, I am a work-in-progress. I may have passed or failed; stood firm or not. God always puts me back on my feet.. sometimes painful but God’s grace is sufficient always.

From this evolving person, I am learning from Paul (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)
For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews…to those under the law, I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.

Being a slave to all is treating others as more important than myself… not critical but kindly understanding; not selfish but generous. I put myself in the shoes of the person I want to influence for Christ. I listen without judgment.
I have a Buddhist friend. I ate vegan meals with her. Often alone in the house, she liked to invite me to taste her dishes. I might not necessarily agree with her beliefs, thoughts and opinions. But I respect and accept her for who she is. I pray that one day, she will come to know the Lord through my friendship with her. In the pandemic, we have lost touch. Time for me to rekindle the friendship: to call and chat, meet and eat together again. May the Lord open the way.

Being a Christian is not putting on a ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude. While I need to stand firm on my Christian faith, I must not make others feel that I am superior to them.

To the weak, I become weak… this is walking alongside people so that we are equal.. neither one is above or below the other.
Bottomline – “I do all things for the sake of the gospel” (v.23) is about doing all things for Jesus. This is friendship evangelism: sharing the good news of Jesus by being a true friend.. the friend who is one (unique) but also a friend who is all… (authentically) all of me!

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