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Why bad is good
By Elson T. Elizaga
Published October 28, 2018. Expanded from a column in Mindanao Gold Star Daily. Part 2 coming soon.
 
Man rising from the sea after baptism
 

I became a born-again Christian years ago, and that means YEARS ago, so I can’t recall any more if I was baptized in the sea, but I think I was. I was submerged for a few seconds but didn’t see Jesus. It wasn’t necessary that time to see Jesus. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior and that was it. I was a child of God. John 3:16.

Since then, I never imagined I would vote for someone for president even if he had admitted of killing 1,700 people. I never believed some Christians like me, possibly millions, would do so, because I thought supporting a self-confessed murderer wasn’t Christian at all. So, I was surprised when I discovered many Christians were rooting for Rodrigo Duterte in 2016, comparing him to Moses and Nehemiah.

Why?

I’m not certain if I have and will ever have an answer. But I have a guess.

Among certain Christians who believe the Bible is the error-free Word of God, a bad guy, especially a very, very bad guy, who repents and accepts Jesus as his Lord and Savior, is far better than someone who had been good from the beginning.

In short, the prodigal son.

So, during my active years in church, I would listen to preacher after preacher boasting about their sinful lives, about how they ran after beautiful women, how they neglected their wives and children, how they wasted their money on drugs, alcohol and gambling. A large part of the sermon was spent on convincing the audience how miserably lost they were, and the rest of the speech was a dramatic narrative about their discovery of Light, Salvation and Glory.

A good book that illustrates this formula is The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson. The novel was so popular in the 70s among Protestant Christians that it was turned into a film.

Today, we don’t have to watch it. There’s a shortcut, a product of the miracle of information technology. If you are blessed, if you are one of the chosen, this meme will show up in your cellphone like a message from God – possibly with a little help from the psychologists of Cambridge Analytica:

“Jacob was a cheater. Peter had a temper. David had an affair. Noah was a drunk. Jonah ran from God. Paul was a murderer. Gideon was insecure. Miriam was a gossiper. Martha was a worrier.1 Thomas was a doubter. Sarah was impatient. Elijah was moody. Mary Magdalene was a hooker.2 Moses stuttered. Zacchaeus was short. Abraham was old. And Lazarus was dead.3 God doesn’t call the qualified.4 He qualifies the called! Repost if you know you are not perfect but God has a plan for you anyway. Amen.”

Forgive the political incorrectness of some of the statements. What matters is the entire incantation works. Also, note that several of the descriptions seem to fit the behavior of one of our popular leaders. So, he is qualified to be God's chosen.

Wait a minute. If he's qualified, then would that mean he is not qualified? And if he's not qualified, then he's qualified, after all?

Whatever, praise God there are people who recognize their sinfulness, who strongly identify with someone much worse than them because he is blatantly honest and proud of his numerous faults: cheater, womanizer, self-professed murderer,5 blasphemer, old.

So, never mind what the Constitution says. Never mind human rights. If God can forgive this charismatic one-eyed King, if God will exalt him, and God certainly will, then we who have lesser faults shall rise with him. Amen?

Amen.

 
 
 

1 Probably just serotonin-deficient.

2 Mary Magdalene was not a hooker. This statement is possibly inserted by a Filipino because many Filipinos believe Magdalene was a hooker. But online are similar memes that exclude Mary Magdalene from the list. See the Wikipedia article on Mary Magdalene.

3 Is being dead a fault?

4 Especially if you have a Wharton or Harvard degree.

5 A self-professed or a self-confessed murderer is simply a person who claims he has killed someone. He himself said so, not the author of this article, or another person. Whether or not he is really a murderer is a matter that can be argued in a court of law.

 
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© 2018 Elson T. Elizaga