Yan's Corner - In Touch

Friday, February 03, 2006

Beyond the Mask

I have been disturbed by the unexpected unmask of a Church leader at the pulpit on the first day of Chinese New Year. What were rightfully my words were claimed by the leaders as hers. At that spur of moment, I even took a de-tour and left the Church through the side door to avoid shaking hands with the leader.

Tension built up yesterday while in a conversation with a church friend. I picked up that the same lie was repeated at the Chinese New Year visitations by the leader.

I was in total shock and disbelief that a leader can be so egotist, and being a boaster who claimed things she had no right to claim. I was restless last night. I told a learned friend this early morn and asked whether I had made our leader to be larger than life, to be something more than human.

He wrote,

The essence as you have put it – is that leaders are as human as us and as fallible as well and things like this can happen to them as much as any other human being. We are capable of doing this as well (some more than others).

Skipping the lunch, I pondered over the issue. Leaders or pastors – have I made them to be larger than life? Have I made them to somebody more than human?

I remember reading a young pastor saying this,

Jesus was so human that nobody would believe he was God,
But we pastors are so godlike that nobody thinks we are human.

Looking back at my working life –

How many scripts have I written for the boss?
How many press statements have I prepared for the boss or clients?
How many scripts have I written for friends?
How many messages have I written for the boss for magazines, newspapers?

Didn’t they claim all the words to be theirs? Didn’t they claim all the ideas were theirs? Yet, I have never felt that they have infringed my copyright. Yet, I have never felt that due credit has not been given too me.

I have divinized the leader or pastor!

Continue with what my learned friend said,

Perhaps she had a misconception or a mistaken idea of the whole event even – it will be important to know more about her own views and thoughts. Do not try to suppress the issue or it will resurface again in the most inappropriate time.

Yes indeed, there is no credit I can claim. It is the grace of God at work in me.

This little article has been kept in my file for a long, long time. I do not know who is the author, but it makes sense to me today. Indulge me. You will be amazed by what's beyond the masks people wear.

Look beyond the masks people wear . . .
A 91-year-old woman died after living a very long dignified life. When she met God, she asked Him something that had really bothered her for a very long time. "If Man was created in God's image, and if all men are created equal, why do people treat each other so badly?"

God replied that each person who enters our life has a unique lesson to teach us. It is only through these lessons that we learn about life, people and our relationships with God.

This confused the woman, so God began to explain "When someone lies to you, it teaches you that things are not always what they seem. The truth is often far beneath the surface. Look beyond the masks people wear if you want to know what is in their hearts. Remove your own masks to let people know who you really are.

When someone steals from you it teaches you that nothing is forever. Always appreciate what you have. You never know when you might lose it. Never take your friends or family for granted, because today and sometimes only this very moment is the only guarantee you may have.

When someone inflicts injury upon you, it teaches you that the human state is a very fragile one. Protect and take care of your body as best as you can, it's the one thing that you are sure to have forever.

When someone mocks you, it teaches you that no two people are alike. When you encounter people who are different from you, do not judge them by how they look or act, instead base it on the contents of what is in their hearts.

When someone breaks your heart, it teaches you that loving someone does not always mean that the person will love you back. But don't turn your back on love, because when you find the right person, the joy that one person brings you will make up for all of your past hurts. Times a thousand fold.

When someone holds a grudge against you, it teaches you that everyone makes mistakes. When you are wronged, the most virtuous thing you can do is forgive the offender without pretense. Forgiving those who have hurt us is often the most difficult and painful of life's experiences, but it is also the most courageous thing a person can do.

When a loved one is unfaithful to you, it teaches you that resisting temptation is Man's greatest challenge. Be vigilant in your resistance against all temptations. By doing so, you will be rewarded with an enduring sense of satisfaction far greater than the temporary pleasure by which you were tempted.

When someone cheats you, it teaches you that greed is the root of all evil. Aspire to make your dreams come true, no matter how lofty they may be. Do not feel guilty about your success, but never let an obsession with achieving your goals lead you to engage in malevolent activities.

When someone ridicules you, it teaches you that nobody is perfect. Accept people for their merits and be tolerant of their flaws. Do not ever reject someone for imperfections over which they have no control."

Upon hearing the Lord's wisdom, the old woman became concerned that there are no lessons to be learned from man's good deeds.God replied that Man's capacity to love is the greatest gift He has. At the root of kindness and love, and each act of love also teaches us a lesson.

The woman's curiosity deepened.

God, once again began to explain "When someone loves us, it teaches us love, kindness, charity, honesty, humility, forgiveness, acceptance, and all of these can counteract all the evil in the world. For every good deed, there is one evil deed. Man alone has the power to control the balance between good and evil, but because the lessons of love are not taught often enough, the power is too often abused.

When you enter someone's life, whether by plan, chance or coincidence, consider what your lesson will be. Will you teach love or a harsh lesson of reality? When you die, will your life have resulted in more loving or more hurting? More comfort or more pain? More joy or more sadness? Each one of us has the power over the balance of the love in the world. Use it wisely!"

Don't miss an opportunity to nudge the world's scale in the right direction!

5 comment(s):

You always have these nice articles and thoughts to share. Thanks ya!

By Blogger Yvonne Foong, at 9:00 am  


I initially thought it's Alexander Dumas' Man in the Iron Mask I was reviewing -- Catsville fe-mail, from the pulpit?

Let me sign a contrat with thee at our next meet? You tell the story -- I rite the tail!
May make my RM20milion yet before The Boar bores us to ... queendom Kum (price coming down by every passing dae, RM9 only for box of 24, from RM15 jest before Nien 30...:)

YumSeng! Aloud-lah, Rut Bir only:)...

By Blogger desiderata, at 11:18 am  

Hi, Yan,

Your story of the mask tells of the reality of life and it represents the 'others perception' of us or what/how we want others to perceive us - therefore, it's not the 'real' us. The mask itself is not sinful, but it is the person behind the mask, who determines whether the outcome is good or bad in his relationship with others around him. As such, a person, lacking humility or integrity, even though he wears a cloak of a leader of any organisation, will sometimes exhibit his true self in dark contrast to what he is supposed to be.

We are responsible for our own made-up perception/presumption of him without any substantiation, and that hurts when our presumption is proven wrong - after all, he is just a man.

I empathise with your shock; however, it's best to forgive and forget, and treat it as one lesson learned. For me, I take it that such thing will always occur, to pre-empt the hurt or shock I am to receive.

By Blogger Joepsc, at 12:31 pm  

Thanks, Yvonne, Desi, Joe

I was sort like an angry old woman!

Really thinking back, why should I be angry.

When people claim your words as their own, it means they really like your words.

So, be wise. Be in control of our temper.


By Blogger Yan, at 6:52 pm  

Once, someone wrote an article to a magazine, plagiarizing a previous article of mine. I wrote to the magazine, and they put the matter right. I felt I had to do it, to put it behind me. I'm sure that's an option for you too: write to that person, and then put the matter behind you.

By Blogger fishtail, at 10:54 pm  

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