Ni: Joy Eva Bohol
“Do you have a boyfriend?” If you’re answer is NO, the follow up question is, “Why?” And the thread of questions and advises go on. I have been asked with these questions from the moment I turned 16 years old. And I am still dealing with it!
For several years of redirecting people from asking me those repetitive questions, I finally devised a not-so-perfect but smothering answer—“Bawal ma-in love ang superhero dahil kahinaan niya yun! (Love interest is the greatest weakness of a superhero!)” And the teasing stops (it works!).
Three days ago, I had a Smallville Season 10 marathon. Smallville highlights Superman’s life as Clark Kent. It narrates in details his life as a young boy, growing up in a normal community and raised by normal human parents. It describes his struggles in keeping his loved ones from danger and overcoming his weaknesses to be the superhero he was destined to be (before he was called Superman).
All people close to Clark Kent were put to danger. They became targets of the villains who are trying to defeat him. His friends, family, and love interest were subjects of finding Clark’s weakness. Clark tried to stay away from them, even if it means breaking their hearts for their own safety, yet these people whom he shared his life with, insisted to stay.
Martha Kent, Clark’s human mother, said in one of the episodes, “Clark, when we accepted you in our lives, we also committed to stay with you and protect you even if it means our lives.”
Wow! Ayun oh! Ganun ang pagmamahal na tunay. Imagine mo nalang kung ano ang nararamdaman ni Lord sa tuwing nilalayo natin ang ating mga sarili sa Kanya. Di ba dapat, sabihin din natin sa Diyos ang mga salita ni Martha Kent?
Jesus Christ did not try to separate Himself from us. With His extraordinary love, mas lalo Niya tayong pinapalapit sa Kanya at hindi palayo. Of course, dahil hindi lang superhero si Lord, Siya mismo ang love—kaya keri Niyang magmahal sa lahat!
Paano ka ba magmahal?
In Ruth 1:1-8, Naomi, a widow with no sons and left with two other younger widows, decided to return to her hometown after migrating. Naomi, before entering the land of her forefathers and foremothers asked the young widows of her two sons to leave her. Well, mukhang sinabi na niya lahat ng pwede, to the extent na pinapakita niya kung paano kahirap mabuhay kasama siya at ang opportunities na makapang-asawa ulit kung hihiwalay sila sa kanya. Sa huli, umuwi sa kanila si Orpah at naiwan si Ruth.
Bakit pinayagan pa ni Naoming sumama si Ruth sa kanya? Ayun sa Kasulatan, kahit anong gawin ni Naomi na i-discourage si Ruth, ganun din katatag ang pananalig ni Ruth sa kanyang mother-in-law. Malamang, naisip din ni Naomi ang katagang, “bawal ma-in love ang superhero” kung kaya ay ayaw niyang matulad sa kanya si Ruth.
Ngunit si Ruth ay may katangiang hindi kayang tanggihan ni Naomi. Siya ay matapat. Loyalty is earned upon trust and most of all love.
Ilang beses ka na bang sinubok ng panahon? Sinubok ng kahirapan, sakit, and any disaster in your and your family’s lives. When was the last time you felt like giving up? The time that everything around you seems wrong and things don’t go the way you want them. When did you break? When did you experience broken relationships and dreams? When did you feel loved and have loved?
These challenges are a part of our journey towards Christian perfection. We are the Ruth who received strong discouragements from the Naomi and in several occasions being told to stop, turn back, and look for a better life somewhere. Paulit-ulit nalang? Nakakapagod right? Yung parang kotang-kota ka na sa mga struggles sa buhay. Pero kailangan natin maging persistent.
Ruth stayed with her mother-in-law amid the hardships of being a widow ahead. She loved Naomi to the extent that she won’t let anything separate them from each other, not even the fact of the possibility to be “unmarried” for the rest of her life. Her loyalty won Naomi’s confidence in her and they comforted each other.
God wants us to have an attitude like Ruth. He allows difficulties to shake us, knowing that if we are rooted in Him, we’ll stay put and hold on. He wants us to be reminded that His love is more than enough to assure us of a life everlasting in Him and that “nothing can separate us from His love.” (Romans 8:38-39)
God is love, love is of God
Kahit baliktad-baliktadin mo man ang mga salitang nasa itaas, iisang kahulugan pa rin ang nakikita—ang Diyos ay pag-ibig—period.
Years back a friend asked me, “Who is God?” Sa isip ko naman, “Duh! Yun lang ang tanong niya? Like I don’t know the answer?” At yun nga, it took me around five minutes before I gave my answer. Embarrassing enough, I could not give one very good definition of who God is.
God is love (1 John 1:8). Dahil hindi lang superhero ang Diyos, ang Kanyang pag-ibig ay wagas at lalong hindi Niya kahinaan ang ma-in love dahil napoprotektahan Niya ang lahat ng mga nagmamahal sa Kanya. Hindi Niya ito iniiwan ni pababayaan (Hebrews 13:5).
Dahil sa Kanyang wagas na pagmamahal, lahat ng Kanyang nilikha ay nagpapatunay nito. May mga tuwina na nag-eemo ako. Ito yung mga pagkakataong nakikita ko ang kahirapan sa paligid. Tuwing umuuwi ako mula sa UMC Headquarters sa United Nations Avenue, maraming pamilyang natutulog sa daan. Minsan napapatanong ako kung paano napapadama ng Diyos ang pag-ibig sa kanila.
David’s song in Psalm 146 assures us that God is concerned about these people. He loves them and He’s doing something to prove His power among them. Paano? Sa pamamagitan ng ating buhay. Pinadama ng Diyos sa akin ang pag-ibig Niya at nais din Niyang mapadama ko sa mga kapatid nating nangangailang ang Kanyang pag-mamahal. Ako man din ay kapos sa budget para ma-afford ang pang araw-araw kong pagkain pero when God touched my heart to help out, I am more than willing to lend a hand.
Tayong Metodista ay known for our practice on Social Holiness as taught by Founder John Wesley. Hindi lamang sa salita ang pag-ibig kung hindi higit lalo sa gawa. “The secret of love is letting it show,” from the song Completely of the Casting Crowns.
Source of Love
The greatest commandment is to Love God—nothing more, nothing less. Like Ruth, God wants us to be loyal to Him, to love only Him. And when we are truly in-love with God, loving others comes next (Mark 12:28-32).
Hanggang ngayon ay napapaisip pa rin ako. May mga kasama tayo sa Iglesia na Kristiyano ngunit hindi kayang magpatawad sa kasamahang nagkaroon ng conflict. Di ba weird? Sabi nga ni Martin Luther, “And they call themselves Christians?” I am of no right to judge for only God knows our hearts. But sometimes, it makes me wonder that some people who demonstrated charity to others and says that they love these people (outside the church), can’t afford to mend broken relationships within the church. How true is love if it is only shown to others but not within the community of believers?
How is love demonstrated in your life? In your family? In your church? In your community? Have you been in-love in the first place?
Love becomes true and pure when experienced. Love becomes true and pure when we love God first. Love becomes true and pure when shown to others.
Bed ridden due to accident, the 98-year-old woman, when asked how she spent her days lying on the bed, immobilized, she replied “I pray for people I know and those others who I have not known.” Late 2011 the elderly woman died at the age of 99. People who were with her during her last breaths said she continued to pray and gave thanks to the Lord. What a true loyalty and love this woman had to her God!
Gusto kong ma in-love!
Dahil sa tiyak na kamatayan at paghihiwalay, minsan ayaw nating mag-invest sa pag-ibig kasi we are afraid of the reality that sooner, our loved ones will be separated from us, whether due to circumstances or death—tulad ni Clark Kent.
Mahirap talagang maging superhero. Magmamahal ka ngunit yung mga taong mahal mo ay either mapapalayo sa iyo o hindi ka mahal. Pero si Kristo ay higit pa. Siya ay superhero dahil sa pag-alay Niya ng Kanyang buhay para sa atin once and for all! Ang gusto lang ng Diyos ay mahalin din natin Siya. Kaya Niyang hamakin ang lahat upang tayo’y muling makapiling. Ang Diyos ay walang kahinaan na makakapigil sa Kanyang pagmamahal sa atin!
Kaya sa susunod na tatanongin na naman ako kung bakit wala akong boyfriend, hindi na ako mahihiyang sagutin na, “Wala pang binibigay si Lord, eh. At gusto ko pang mas ma in-love sa Kanya!” (Kahit ang superhero ay na-iinlove din–at di bawal yun!)