Reflections on the Reactions to Kong Hee Alleged Misue of Funds - 1

This Kong Hee's Alleged Misuse of Funds affair had generated a lot of discussion, debates, and in simpler term, traffic on many websites, forums, tweets and Facebook postings. Ignoring those poking fun and cynicism aside, there are a few major thoughts or stands that are interesting to note. This is the first in a series of reflections. In Chinese, we have the phrase, 借题发挥, borrowing the issue to expound our thoughts. It is with this spirit of discussion and no pre-judgment is implied in this series of reflections.

Reflection 1 Does People Change or Not?

The most common stand for those in support of the CHC charged leaders is that they started out as man of God of integrity. They gave of themselves to start the church and continue to contribute to the church and world at large. They have been people of integrity and therefore they could not have committed any misuse of funds. They are innocent. The past is a good forecast for the future, that is what this group of people think.

There is the other group that called these supporters blind. They expressed their amazement at such blind faith. But we may ask, "Don't you trust someone who you know rather than someone who you don't."

The history book and the bible give us many instances that such is not so. (This is for discussion and learning. People can change does not mean the CHC leaders have changed. The verdict is not out yet and we should refrain from drawing any conclusions). 

King Saul started out as timid, same may say humble, person. But as he grew in power and enjoyed the glory and benefits, he became insecure. He succumb to the demand of the people, wanting to be popular rather than godly, and started disobeying God with accuses. He tried a few times to kill the young successor David. He committed suicide when he lost the final battle.

David, one of the most godly person in the Bible, the author of the so many great psalms that touch our hearts, started of in a humble state as well. In case you may not know, he was the most neglected in the family. When Samuel the prophet was instructed by God to go to the house of Jesse, David's father, to anoint the coming King, David was not among the sons of Jesse that was presented to Samuel! David grew up killing lion and bear and made his name in killing the giant Goliath! When Saul sought to kill him, David spared Saul twice when he could have just easily killed him off. David uttered the famous words of "touch not God's anointed" that was misused by many pastors to exert control over their members. Nonetheless, after David became king, he committed adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of his loyal captain. He plotted a scheme to get his loyal captain killed in battle. To others, the loyal captain died in battle. But in the eyes of God, David killed him. God sent Prophet Nathan to get David to realize his sins. The goodness of David was not that he sinned not but how he handled his sins. He had a teachable heart. He wrote the famous Ps 51 for our learning as well. While David's sin was forgiven spiritually by God, he had to pay for his sins of adultery and murder with the sexual immorality and murders within his family and he had to face the rebellion of his son who wanted to take his place as king.

Some people said they believed in the Bible because the Bible faithfully recorded the sins of its heroes. Here is a popular summary of God's heroes:
Noah was a drunk (after the flood that destroyed the people!)
Abraham was fearful, a lier and too old.
Isaac was a daydreamer
Jacob was a liar and cheat
Joseph was abused
Moses was a murderer and a stutterer
Gideon was afraid
Sampson was a womanizer and was fooled (He was called be a Judge like Samuel to deliver his people)
Rahab was a prostitute
Jeremiah and Timothy were too young
David was a adulterer was a murderer (After he became King)
Elijah was suicidal (after his great victory over the Baal's prophets)
Isaiah preached naked
Jonah ran from God
Naomi was a widow
Peter denied Christ 3 times
The Disciples fell asleep while praying
Martha worried about everything
The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once
Zaccheus was too small
Paul was a persecutor of believers ....
We realize that many great people fall just after their time of great victories. Success brings with it the hidden danger of pride and carelessness that subsequently causes the downfall. The Book of Change, I-Ching, put hexagram 12 否 Stagnation immediately after hexagram 11泰 Vibrant Flow of Abundance. See How the Great Falls - Learning from i-Ching #12 否 Stagnation.

So, what is the moral of such stories of the heroes of God?

The only unchanging one is God.

Our lesson is:
Trust only God and Not Man.
Don't idolize man. Man can fail you.
Never leave the faith because your hero of faith failed.
The Bible and the Church also have many stories about bad people turning good. Drug addicts and gangsters become pastors and evangelists. They have such glorious life transforming testimonies that sometimes those normal believers like us feel inadequate. Their transformation show that God is a good God and gave all the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or ... th chance if only we are willing to receive His grace for us.

Any good and honest preacher or pastor, should always draw people attention to Jesus Christ and not himself. Preachers and pastors should do well to remember the words of a great preacher, "I am what I am, not because of myself, but because of the grace of God working in me".

(In one of the message that I heard in my younger days, the great preacher referred was Billy Graham. But now I could not his quote in internet. Not that internet is complete. But I wish the story was captured to be retold).

Next: Reflection 2 People Don't Change - It is the Situation

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