There are better uses for cardboard.

“Sex, abundance, power, fame, and fortune are put in their rightful place because we have the King of Kings, the Prince of Peace, the Creator of all this and more, not just loving us, but in the most intimate of relationships, literally alive, one with us.”

I feel like talking from this today. I mean, it’s easy. Really, really easy for us to go ahead and talk against the so-called ‘temptations of the world’; They’re pretty obvious, don’t you think?

When Dad died, my brothers literally commanded Mom and me to go to the States to spend Christmas with them (side note, really quick – Grammarly also COMMANDED me to change ‘Mom and I’ to ‘Mom and me’. What’s the deal?). I say commanded, because they strongly insisted, and I’m glad they did. It helped to get our minds off of Dad’s absence to appreciate each others’ presence, and I believe through all that happened during those couple months, we all emerged stronger as a family after that trip.

I could go into more details but the real reason why I brought that up is beside the strengthening of relationships, there was also the bolstering, the broadening of my own perspective of the body of Christ. In this particular case, I’ve heard new worship songs and a sort of evangelistic ‘tactic’ which was trending at the time.

I mean, I was pretty inspired the first time I saw it. Pastor preaches a powerful message on how Christ changes us, and then a group of people would gather behind him while he closes, and then… one by one, these people hold up placards of an addiction or a past event that defined them for the worse… then they flip the card, to show that they’ve been ‘DRUG FREE for FIVE months now’, or ‘NON-ALCOHOLIC praiseJESUS’, or ‘FREE FROM DEPRESSION AND TRAUMA’.

Imagine how amazed I was when I saw that. But then… We go to visit my other brother who was based in the mid-west. We go to the church he goes to for Sunday service… and lo and behold, there’s the same show of cardboard placards there. I find it sad; honestly, my response between the first and second time I saw it was from WOW to ho-hum.

Note that I am NOT bashing these people who have been set free from these chains that bound them. I am NOT bashing our leaders who have attempted to try this in their own churches – who knows how many people took Christ into consideration after each and every time it was done?

I am, however, concerned at how the gravity of sin and (more importantly) the infinitely superior Salvation paid for by Christ can be downplayed by cardboard. First of all, we couldn’t possibly write down all of our known sins in a wide-enough piece of paper that we can lift up, much less keep up. Also, for 5 of our known sins, there are 50 that we forget. Point is, we don’t sin to be sinners, we were sinners, which is why we literally breathed sin.

“Now wait a minute, there are good people out there who do good things, and they don’t believe in Christ.” 

Well, the way I see it, you can’t have a life apart from Christ, and all you do, no matter how good it may actually be, is dead on a long enough timeline. Even the Eiffel Tower will fall given enough time. OK bad example, but the point here I believe as all love is Christ, all life is Christ, and without it, any ‘legacy’ we claim to leave in this world would eventually fade into nothing without Christ.

And yeah, while we have these obvious addictions to sex, drugs, and rock and roll, what about our so-called addictions to electronics? How about all these scientifically-backed studies which have nutritionists saying that sugar is the new cocaine? Or sitting is the new smoking? Are we going to have placards for those, eventually?

From one perspective, consider that there isn’t one culture more sinful than the other, there isn’t one religion more scandalous than the other, there isn’t one person more sinful than the other… The thing is, we are all subject to entropy. No matter how clean and sinless and sin-free we may be without Christ, the fact is our bodies are wasting away. Moisturizer can only do so much.

But praise God, because we have a Savior, who made it absolutely clear that He doesn’t love one country more than the other, He doesn’t prefer one Christian denomination over the other, He doesn’t like one race more than another one…

Before Hitler was born, and before Nelson Mandela was born… Before Pol Pot was born, and before Suu Kyi was born… Before Ninoy was born, and before Macoy was born… Christ knew everything there was to know about each and every person that ever came into existence, and He saw all the death and destruction, and all the potential and the success, and how it was all still so absolutely futile for us to ‘make it’ ever since Adam and Eve took a bite of the forbidden fruit..

and in spite of all that He still chose to love us, that we were worth dying the most painful of deaths and rejections… and more importantly, that we were worth coming back to life for. The Creator of all that we perceive as reality came from forever into the boundaries of time, died and rose again and ascended into heaven.

He didn’t just do it to get us to stop smoking. He didn’t just do it for us to realize that porn is bad and if we keep doing it we go to hell. No, no, no! Christ is Life, Christ is Love, and more than we could ever imagine, Christ is RECONCILIATION, not mere freedom from what the world thinks is deathly, but RESURRECTION, into a new life full of adventure and promise!

Put that on a placard.

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