Public authority comes from private integrity | Opinion, News, The Philippine Star

There is so much hatred and self-righteousness in our national politics today that I have to ask: “Who among you is without sin?” – who among you can claim that at the end of the day your words and actions are really true as in: true to a life lived and dedicated for the national interest and public service. Can you stand before your Maker and pass the test of truth, or are your claims mere generalizations, character assassination, or hearsay which you now peddle as gospel truth?

The past month has shown us how destructive and distracting all the political hate can be and there seems to be no stopping it until someone or some group gets hurt. In the mean time the Filipino people are suffering from the non-service and disservice being dished out by their elected officials. Even so-called “cause oriented groups” have become disoriented in their concerns, activities and directions.

The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption or VACC has started to look and act like a prosecutorial arm of government concentrating on impeachments instead of the murders of students and children and focusing on the many cases of corruption in local government. Did they notice that ever since they got into the impeachment wave, several murders have taken place almost on a weekly basis and all of them students? The VACC was primarily about helping victims of such heinous crimes and to digress or divert from this path in the hope of gaining more support or political backing would be like saying your cause is not legitimate or sufficient enough!

In a country where political colors and alliances change in the interest of pork barrel or allocations for projects, the word “Loyalty” has all but gone to the dumpsite. The irony of the matter is that those who scream the loudest are generally those who are hired or have much to gain or feed on the media coverage to further their vested interests or imagined popularity. Today many of those who stand on soapboxes condemning and accusing others, happen to be yesterday’s infamous and corrupt. Regardless of what side, color, party, or faith you swear by, at the very least there must be integrity in your claim and your cause without which you descend to nothing more than being a selfish hypocrite pretending to be righteous.

Better yet, tell us what have you as individuals, not as per your aggrupation or title, really done for people who are suffering and desperate? How much of your own money, your own time and personal effort do you actually give to others especially those you cannot benefit from politically, financially or in terms of public recognition? Do you love only those who love you back, support you politically or work for you or your allies? As St. Luke pointed out: “If you love only those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.” (Luke: 6: 32-33)

If you as an individual were removed from your group, the people you side with or the color you identify with; what would you have to show in terms of the “works” you have done for others? The apostle James teaches us:

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“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith (believes in God) but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or a sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them “Go in peace, be warmed and filled, without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works is dead.” (James 2: 14-17)

In like manner, we can condemn, criticize or protest against each other as the prevailing political groups are doing. But politics like faith requires honest to God works for the people. If you as an individual have not devoted yourself to do work for others then you are no better than the “crowd” that shouted  “Crucify him.”

Yes there is so much “political hatred” even from the mouths of ordinary people positioning themselves as supporters but mostly who are not supported or served by leaders in many camps or colors. People casually curse, accuse, ridicule or condemn those they hate or have judged with the very same mouth that they use to say their daily prayers, sing songs in church. As James the brother of Jesus Christ wrote in his letter: “But no human can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.” (James: 3: 8-10)

So, tomorrow just like many others, we will have yet another protest, another march, more speeches, more condemnation and right alongside the opposite camp will say their piece and dish out the same toward their so-called enemies or opponents. People of the Philippines do not be misled. We all know that today’s political enemies quickly become tomorrow’s allies. While they perform their rituals and their curses, the country and the innocents suffer. Don’t be sucked into the hate and into the lie.

Distance yourself from what has never worked. Instead find someone you can help. Find something you can change. Find someone to inspire. Influence people by being the example of excellence, idealism and grit. Believe in yourself and the change you can create and not on the empty promises of people who can only get things done if they have a political party, a title or an “office.” As one pastor shared “public authority comes from private integrity.”

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