DESPERATE, ARE YOU?

Desperation can be simply defined as despair resulting from unfulfilled aspirations. In other words, it is a feeling of hopelessness resulting from a deep desire/longing within the heart which has thus far remained unfulfilled. The feeling of desperation may not always be for big and lofty aspirations. What makes a person desperate depends upon his/her desire.

A fatherless child may be desperate for fatherly love. A person facing repeated failures may be desperate for a success. A couple in love may be desperate to make their relationship see the beautiful bond of marriage. An athlete may be desperate to win at various competitions. A person caught in the traffic may be desperate to reach the airport in time so as not to miss the flight. A poor woman on the street may be desperate to get just enough food so that her children don’t spend another hungry day.

Let’s not confuse desperation with desire. Desperation is one step ahead of desire. Desperation unsettles a person. It creates a sense of covert chaos which is many times reflected in the overt behavioural patterns. Desperation may lead a person to go beyond the set boundaries and end up doing the unwanted.

I am reminded of an incident from the history of Israel.

It was a time when food supplies had run short. The scarcity in the land was great and things that could never be considered to be food (donkey’s head and dove manure) were sold at a premium price. One day while the king of Israel was passing by, a woman called out to him for help. The king expressed his helplessness saying that there was no food available in the kingdom which he could offer her. But the woman had another problem. Unable to bear the pain of hunger, she had agreed with another woman to kill and eat their own children. So, they killed and cooked her son and ate. But, when the turn came for the other woman to give her son, she refused. And so, she wanted justice. Hearing this, the king tore his clothes in despair as the people of his kingdom had to stoop down to such a level.

The desperation for food drove two mothers to think of eating their children. Unimaginable for most of us! As horrific as this may seem, such incidents do happen in various parts of the world even today. Parents offering their children as sacrifices to deities – desperate to come out of financial debt and prosper in business. People drinking water from sewers and cooking with drain water in the absence of potable water – desperate to quench their thirst. Barbaric incidents of rapes and sexual crimes – desperate need to meet sexual urges.

Three chief causes of desperation

Firstly, it is situational. As in case of extreme hunger and poverty, it is the innate desire for survival which leads to a desperate act. The question of surviving with dignity or looking for choices does not even arise here. It is simply about existence. Such a desperation may cause one to do even the menial of tasks or even sell one’s self. Bonded labour and slavery are some such examples. The bonded labourers and slaves never had choices – they never could think of any. Poverty drove them to submit to the high and mighty. Desperation to save a dying friend, may lead one to flout the rules of the hospital. Urgency to reach the workplace in time, may make one to violate traffic rules.

Secondly, inability to accept NO for an answer. A spurned lover desperate to avenge his rejection, attacks the girl he claims to have been in love with. Being refused a toy by the mother, a child may go ahead and grab the toy or roll on the ground or hit his head on the wall.

Thirdly, inability to control one’s desires. A desperate longing to be wealthy makes many to take bribes, carry out illegal financial transactions and go in for unreasonable deals. Desperate sexual desires result in visiting prostitutes, raping minors and the aged, watching pornography, masturbation and other violent crimes.

The unsettling turbulent feeling of desperation ceases only when the object in question has been attained. We heave a sigh of relief in catching a running train that we were so desperate not to miss. A father-to-be beams with smiles as his desperate wait to see his wife through a safe delivery ends and he holds a healthy baby in his arms.

In other words, desperation comes to an end when the object of desperation is achieved. Desperation increases when the object in question seems far out of reach. We need to deal with desperation in a healthy way. Since it is a spontaneous feeling of anxiety, it won’t do much good to stifle it. Dealing with it rightly and helping others to do so, is the answer.

Have you ever felt desperate for something? How did you deal with it? Let’s share so that we have a repository of information as to how to deal with our desperate moments without wrecking our nerves or doing something atrocious.

SIN – A MESSY STATE OF MAN

Five-year old Blessy came back from school scared that day. The Dictation answer sheets had been distributed in class and she had committed two mistakes, thus losing two marks. She thought she had written all correct spellings and hoped to score full marks. Now what awaited her was a nice piece of her mother’s mind. She debated within herself whether to show the answer sheet to her mother or hide it. Finally she decided to show it. After all, her mother was going to find it sooner or later! With shaky hands and lowered eyes, she extended the answer sheet to her mother after dinner – all the time thinking what excuse she could give. Her wise mother brought out the text book from the school bag, turned to the chapter, showed Blessy the correct spellings and explained that anything other than those mentioned spellings, are wrong.

Mistake

Wrong

Error

We use these words interchangeably in our everyday lives to indicate any deviation from the norm. Anything that is not correct, is considered incorrect. Anything that is not right, is considered wrong. To declare whether something is incorrect or wrong or erroneous, we need to have the knowledge of what is correct or right or the norm. Absence of standards renders mistakes/errors/wrongs into irrelevance – just as without traffic rules, adherence to / violation of traffic rules is insignificant.

AN UNCHANGEABLE STANDARD

Violation of absolute moral laws put in place by the Creator is called sin. All moral law begins with God. We cannot speak of sin without mentioning God. It is because of the presence of a self-existing and pre-existing God, that there are absolute moral laws in place for the whole of mankind even before civilizations emerged. Culture defines civilizations. Education and development refine human functioning. Awareness empowers the human mind. The Constitution of a country establishes the law of the land. All such standards are very essential for the civilized functioning and growth of the human race. However, they are subject to modifications and amendments according to the changing times. To give an example – today we have Cyber Crime cells in place, in the law and order systems of most countries; decades before, they were non-existent. God’s moral laws, however, are uniformly meant for the entire mankind for all times to come irrespective of nationality, ethnicity, sex, race, caste, language, socio-economic status or occupation. That is why God’s laws are absolute! His standards are unchangeable even in the changing times. This is because, God Himself doesn’t change.

In the Bible, God declares, “For I am the Lord, I change not.”  

Hence, violation of God’s standards, is sin.

ALL SIN IS SIN AGAINST GOD

We cannot substitute words like ‘mistake’, ‘error’, ‘wrong’, for sin. These substitute terms hold good for violation of human standards. But, not to refer to the violation of the absolute moral standards of God. Hence, mere euphemisms do not reduce the gravity of violating God’s standards. All sin, whether it harms us or others or no one in particular, is ultimately against the Holy God.                                   

A PERVERSION OF GOD’S DESIGN

Human beings have been created in God’s image to reflect His glory. What a high mandate for us! No sin dwells in God. Hence, no sin ought to find place in our lives. But when we sin, we mar the very image of God and raise our hands against God’s glory. We attempt to distort God’s design!

NO EXCUSE FOR SIN

The legal frameworks of many countries have the provision of not convicting people accused of legal aberrations if they are in the ripe old age. The heads of countries and certain government officials enjoy legal immunity till they are in power, for any action of omission or commission. However, there is no excuse whatsoever for sin against God. A sinful man is without excuse. Sin is sin irrespective of the age at which it is committed or the circumstances under which it may be committed. Because we have been created in the image of God, we have His moral law etched in our hearts. This rules out ignorance / lack of awareness as an excuse for sin.

The Bible says, For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

SIN  CAN NEVER BE HIDDEN

“For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”

All sinful deeds committed under the table, behind closed doors, in the darkest corners, in mountain holes or in the deep seas stand exposed before the Omniscient God. People around us may remain ignorant of the petty or humongous misdeeds committed by us. But, you and I can never escape the All-seeing eyes of the One who watches everything.

SIN HAS CONSEQUENCES – ON EARTH AS WELL AS IN ETERNITY

A spelling mistake in exam would result in less marks and scolding from parents/tutors. A typo in an important document would lead an employee to wash his/her hands off the job. A misprint in the wedding invitation card may lead guests to land up at the wrong venue. Similarly, sin’s consequences are inescapable. To give an example – A person fiddling with multiple sexual partners is bound to suffer from STDs, apart from other social and emotional consequences.

“For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing…”

INTENSITY IS NOT THE DEFINING PRINCIPLE OF SIN

A sin is a sin if it violates God’s standards, no matter whether it is measured as big or small by the world. And God’s standards are really high. The Bible says –

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’  But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.”

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

So, if we have been categorizing murder, robbery, rape as grave sins and dismissing petty lies, cheating, anger, bribery as circumstantial acts of misdeed, it’s time for a reality check!

As long as we are in the flesh, we are susceptible to sin. The Bible says, “…each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin…”

It is easy to brush aside this whole concept of sin which tends to make one pretty uncomfortable. But, it is not right to live each day ignoring the fact that we may be sinning in multiple ways. Such an understanding would ultimately lead to a doomed eternity, as our sinful thoughts, words and actions are bound to come before us one day. Sin calls for repentance and repentance leads to seeking forgiveness from God and man.

Friends, living in sin equals to dying to God. Let’s not mess with sin. Let’s seek to remove the shadow of sin from our lives.

 

YOUR HEAVENLY ADORNMENTS

Beautifully designed are you,

Immaculately framed,

Exquisitely crafted,

And wonderfully gifted.

 

A glance at yourself,

And you may seem to find no giftedness whatsoever,

Swimming alongside the tide,

Perhaps the desire to be gifted has long before died.

 

Never an encouragement to explore,

Never the will to do more than the usual chore,

Never the thought to consider options galore,

Never imagined the talent you have in your inner store!

 

Wake up sleepy traveller,

Rise up from your slumber,

Gird your loins and pick up the axe,

To dig deeper within and discover.

 

A storehouse of myriad talents are you,

May not be similar to the folks around you,

A luxuriant growth of richness lies hidden within you,

Wait not! Dig on! The discovery will surprise you!

 

The creative Creator has amply filled inside you,

Gifts to be used for His glory,

Excavate and unearth them,

To bless you and those around.

 

There has never been a soul,

With no talents on the whole,

Covered from head to sole,

With a big leaking hole.

 

Uncover the hidden precious gems of yours,

Also help spot those in others,

In so doing you will find,

Abundant joy in your mind.

 

Look into the treasure trove,

Embellish your life by the jewels from up above,

Mask not those heavenly adornments,

Those talents would your beauty richly augment.

REFUSING THE KNOCK OF TEMPTATION

Being tempted is not just one time incident. There’s temptation when a child secretly takes a peek or teeny weeny bite from Mama’s special dish for the guests. It lies in the curiosity of reading someone’s personal letter and leaking company secrecy. It lies in stealing chalks from classroom and going for bank robbery. It lies in giving an adulterous look and in raping someone. It lies in taking diet cokes and becoming a drug addict. It lies in teen time infatuation and in cheating beloved spouse. Every now and then temptation pings you. But the remarkable thing is temptation will always appears before you in its best and stunning form to entice you (Because the devil catches most souls in a golden net – German philosopher).

Now the question is “What to do, if temptation is so committed to me?” Shall I compromise and quote like Oscar Wilde?

Or, shall I say, I can resist temptation with my will power and strong sense of right and wrong?

In one of my youth leadership development training seminar, I and my colleague observed that in our class, there is a guy who is over-caring a girl and is doing his best to convince that girl for friendship. After our lectures we called that guy and tried to know his intention for that girl. Then he disclosed us that, “no sir, there is nothing. I am attracted by her beauty and am interested to have friendship with her!” So, we both advised him that, he is going in a wrong direction and needs to correct himself. During our counseling my colleague quoted him, “fleshly desires are very obvious during young age and it is a good hormonal symptom of our good physical condition. But our fleshly desires need to be under control.”

It is just an example. Like this there are also many other temptations (failing to take diet food, allowing filthy thoughts, staring at opposite sex lustfully, taking cigars/wine, visiting unwanted webpage) that we face every day. Each time we say, this is the last time, next time I will resist myself but alas. I also face many of these temptations in my everyday life. And I resist the temptation by thinking about the consequences and the fall of self-identity if I yield to it! We cannot deny the logical out-work of every action is a reaction. Suppose I take wine with my friend and babbles, then what will be my identity before my friend and people close-by! I will spoil my repute and tag myself as drunkard!

As I am weak before temptation, I need to depend and listen to someone who is strong enough to rescue me.

Who is that?

Is he another human like me?

Is that some human knowledge?

Is that any exercise?

It’s just seeking God’s help. God doesn’t allow temptation to overwhelm us. When we feel its pull, He shows us a way-out.” He shows us the rescue path by reminding us His commandments.

The first knock of temptation comes with an offer. Accepting the offer is giving birth to sin and sin gives birth to death. But all offers cannot be entertained so, the first refusal of the enticing offer can sustain you till the end.

WHAT DO YOU SAY?

Avinash