About a month ago, I watched this Filipino TV show where a friend of the heroine suggested a solution to her problem: marry an American guy to get a green card. She is conflicted about this advice because she considers marriage sacred. So she goes to church to pray about it. She sees a “sign” that somehow confirms that she should take this advice. She utters a “thank you” prayer to God. She goes off to find the American guy who would marry her for a fee of several thousands of dollars in exchange for “legally” obtaining her green card.
This got me awfully unsettled and triggered the writing of this post. I regaled my husband about how disturbed I felt about it; he asked why this fictional TV show bothered me so much. My thoughts ran to the obvious reason: this is not just a creative, fictional story; this is reality to me and to many Filipinos. I was seeing it from an angle of someone who knows what it is like to be in the story.
He will never ask us to blatantly lie about something so we can get what we want—how easy for us to forget this.
The show reminded me of people I know who got married only for the green card. It reminded me of the nasty looks I got when I got engaged to him, my American husband. It reminded me of how at one point I felt almost compelled to wear my green card, which I already had long before he arrived in my life, to justify myself for wanting to actually marry him for him and not for the papers. Although I can’t blame those who do not know me to question my motives because it’s not uncommon to hear of horror stories about marriages happening for the sake of paperwork, but I did feel judged and uneasy with how some people saw me.
Yet what troubled me more so than anything else in the show was this: The heroine believed God gave her the green light to fabricate her marriage. God telling her to marry an American so she can get a green card is definitely not in line with His character. He will never ask us to blatantly lie about something so we can get what we want—how easy for us to forget this.
This is one example of the countless lies we tell ourselves while supposing that God approves. It’s so subtle, seemingly harmless and innocent, especially for the ones we prayed for. God wants to give us a good life, right? He wants us to be happy. So why would He not let us do things that will eventually lead to that life? Anyway, He’s going to forgive us for fibs we tell here and there. It’s not like we murdered someone or stole something valuable from them. (The irony is, even with murder and stealing, God still forgives.)
We cannot allow ourselves to linger any longer in the whirlpool of deceptions our world has managed to weave in the wake of our compromises as we trade-off His truths for the enemy’s lies; we cannot allow them to remain thriving in our hearts.
We sometimes even hide behind the veil of “We prayed for this; it’s the answer to our prayer” excuse presuming we have the license to directly disobey explicit commands Jesus said in His Word. The idea that it’s permissible to twist a few truths to get what we want or even what we think we need has become acceptable even appropriate in some cases; the danger of the lies we have adopted as customary in our lives has escaped our notice. Yes, He is going to forgive us no matter what, but He is not okay with the lies. God is truth; He will not stand and tolerate the lies we tell ourselves.
The TV show propelled me to weigh in on the way we treat God’s grace—we have cheapened it, and because of this we have desensitized ourselves to a multitude of distorted even familiar beliefs the world accepts as normal. I challenge you now: Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you about the lies you are living out probably even believing to have God’s seal of approval. Let Him convict you of these lies and begin the process of release from them. We cannot allow ourselves to linger any longer in the whirlpool of deceptions our world has managed to weave in the wake of our compromises as we trade-off His truths for the enemy’s lies; we cannot allow them to remain thriving in our hearts.
God did not call us to continue living in our ways. He has called us to a higher standard as opposed to what the world expects of us. Yes, it’s the age of grace. God has forgiven us and will forgive us of any sin. He’s got us covered. He is merciful; His grace is deep and wide; His love is unconditional. He is a God of second chances, and He will always absolve us of our sins when we repent. Yet if we are truly His children and are in love with Him, wouldn’t we want to please Him and live the abundant life He so longs for us to have? Wouldn’t we be too grateful of His sacrifice and love for us that we would actually strive to not sin?
No, we are not perfect. We won’t be sin-free in this lifetime. We can safely anticipate to fall, to stumble, to limp on our way to Him; but we can attempt to not knowingly disobey God’s clear commands and to not silence the voice of the Holy Spirit in us as He warns us when we are about to engage in an act against Him. If we love the Father, we can choose to not continue living in lies and pretending He’s okay with them. If we love the Father, we can choose to not grieve Him with our constant defiance.
This I pray: may we recognize the lies we are in bondage to and find the courage to repent and to turn away from them. May we also not let our fears and our own sins master us and dictate how we love our brothers and sisters that we may always speak the truth found in the Word of God to them—gently and lovingly. May we love each other enough to not be silent when lies abound but to be bold enough to speak up and lead each other back to the words of Jesus. Let’s expect nothing less from our brothers and sisters to do this for us as we to them. We should hold each other accountable to Him and to not be afraid to help each other out to stick to His truths even if it translates to disagreements or pain.
October 12, 2015