Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Happy Chinese New Year to you and your household. Thanks for your prayer and by God’s grace I finally slept through the night (I guess new born baby properly need to make sleeping adjustment like our jetlag). Having enough sleep or rest makes a whole lot difference in our daily effectiveness of life. I just could not sit still to read or meditate without falling asleep in the last couples of days. Praise God that my biological clock is adjusting well so far.
Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him (Psalm 2:10-12). For Christians, “political” acquires extensive biblical associations and dimensions. So rather than look for another word untainted by corruption and evil, it is important to use it just as it is so that by it grace. The people who warn that “religion and politics don’t mix” certainly know what they are talking about. The mix has resulted in no end of ills – crusades, inquisitions, witch hunts, exploitation. All the same, God says, “Mix them.” But be very careful how you mix them. The only safe way is in prayer. It is both unbiblical and unreal to divide life into the activities of religion and politics, or into the realms of sacred and profane. But how do we get them together without putting one into the unscrupulous hands of the other, politics using religion or religion using politics, when what we want is a true mixture, politics becoming religious and religion becoming political? Prayer is the only means that is adequate for the great end of getting these polarities in dynamic relation. The psalms are our most extensive source documents showing prayer in action.
It is very sensitive for our missionaries to serve in countries like Myanmar and Cambodia; political corruption and bribery are like basic fabric of their social structure. When they encourage Christians to make impact in their countries as light and salt, these missionaries need to teach them how to handle these social corruptions that directly hinder the healthy development of their culture and society. If you have money, you can easily pass the public College Examination, and buy yourself into any University. You can even buy yourself a “Five Stars” General position in the Army (The Prime Minister is 7 Stars General). Police randomly stop drivers on the road to check whether they have renewed different kinds of licenses. Their onsite payment did not necessarily mean license’s renewal. It just gave you a “one time pass” until you encounter another police check point. If you do not “maintain good relationship” with the government officials, church or Christian organization could never be approved for religious license to operate. This is their political system. You can either apply your official license through some “connection and means,” or you operate illegally. How should missionaries or Christians operate in such environment and make “appropriate” decision? It definitely requires spiritual discernment from the Holy Spirit to serve in those countries.
I am sure Christians in this country also have their share of challenges. We need to know the rule of the games; what is politically correct and incorrect? How should we make impact or change public policy through “proper” channels? It may not have money transaction, but it does take spiritual discernment, network of relationship and political sensitivity in the process. Sometimes, line is so fine for us to maintain the balance being as "shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matt 10:16b). Have a blessed weekend and a happy Chinese New Year!
Love you in His Holiness,