Last week, I learned from the news that after the Hong Kong Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority categorized the “Blue” pages of the Chinese University student paper a Class 2 indecent publication, a group of web surfers expressed their displeasure with the ruling by actually starting a campaign to file complaints with the HKTELA objecting to the Bible as indecent. This matter makes me contemplate on the responsive behavior of mankind when they are censured by others.
When that group of students was reproached, they first tried to justify themselves. Unfortunately, their explanation was adequate only to themselves. They claimed to be acting as the critics of society, and brought forth freedom of expression as their shield, but at the core it was nothing more than an ideology of “egoism”. This kind of self-centeredness does not care about the feelings of others, but believes that the freedom of the individual supersedes everything, including the law. This domineering then progresses into an exaltation of the self, resulting even in acceptance of the ideas of incest, bestiality etc. When faced with criticism, they do not respond with introspection, but instead turn around to criticize others for infringing on their human rights. This in truth is the hypocritical, self-delusional and deceptive mode of mankind.
Because of the loud voices of opposition to them, they also employ another tactic. That is to shift the public to another topic of discussion by directing the focus onto discourse on the Bible. This is precisely their technique to manipulate politics as well. No wonder it says in Jeremiah 17:9 – “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
The response of mankind to sin is also as Paul points out in Romans 1:21-32 – “For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools….since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, He gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done….they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”
From this incident I reflected on my own responses when faced with censure – do I merely justify to my own satisfaction; delude myself and others; shirk responsibility; and shift focus, or am I willing to be humble; listen well to the opinions of others; be introspective; and improve myself so that I am more mature, grown and reformed? Let us all put into practice the teaching of James 1:9 – “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.“
In another respect, we should really pray earnestly for our next generation and the education they are receiving. That’s because today’s education only focuses on the nurturing of skills in order to make money. Often, the things that concern people just revolve around the confines of self-satisfaction. To borrow from the words of Taiwanese authoress Chiang Shao Feng - “We have not seen a real youth for a long time. Those willing to shed their blood for their age are not to be seen; those willing to shed their tears for their ideals have become relics; even those willing to shed their sweat for the sake of duty are hard to find.” We should really put our minds to living out the word of God, and teach it to our next generation.
Also from this incident, I would like to extol believers to diligently learn the Bible and equip themselves. For those not belonging to the Lord will use every means to attack God. We must be aware that the Bible is God’s word and His revelation. At the same time, it is also an ancient tome, written against its unique background and arterial interconnections. The Bible is a factual account of history. We cannot just pick one or two passages for discussion without regard for the bible’s total assessment of these matters. That is precisely the abhorrent routine of taking out of context. Furthermore, we have access to literally millions of Bible commentaries. We should engage in more thorough research, and join more Sunday schools and Bible studies, so that we will no longer be a superficial believer who is easily swayed by the unbelieving winds of the world.
By: Esther Hung