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Jun 16, 2006

Being too 'salty'

Many many years ago when I just got to know the Catholic Faith better, I tried to talk a rather-close Catholic friend from mixing with a group of 'bad' students. When 'talking' worked no wonders, I used another tactic to keep her away from them: cold war. I refused to talk to her, partly due to jealousy (because she spent more time with them than with me), while another reason was to stop her from being one of them.

Little did I know that I've made a big mistake.

After a week or so, she openly declared that she belonged to the group and that I had no right to tell her what to do. She even threw me these words: "Is this what a Christian should be? To judge others and labelling them as 'bad'? They are human and they need friends too. If you're reluctant to be friends with them, then I'll be their friends." Words that cut deeply into my heart and my soul. Since then, she started to follow them in almost everything -- being underdressed, smoking, drinking, flirting with guys, showing disrespect to teachers and other students, and worst of all, she attended Mass less frequently.

This, perhaps, is my greatest regret in my whole life. Only after a few years did I realize that my approach was so wrong, even though I did have a good intention. Every time I saw her father in church, I felt so guilty... I could not forgive myself for doing what I've did - I caused my friend to go astray.

Today, after so many years since the last time I talked to her and her father, I met her parents while having a family dinner at a stall. They greeted us and even sat together with us at one table. I'm so glad that my friend is working in Brunei now, and that she's still single (I thought she might have gotten herself pregnant by her boyfriend, which happened to some other friends of mine). I thank the Lord for His constant watch over her and His blessings on her and her family. It's a relief and a joy to know that she's doing well.

The Gospel reading on Tuesday (Matt 5:13-16) mentioned about the role of Christians as salts of this world. We are not supposed to lose our 'saltiness', nor can we be too 'salty'. Terry A. Modica said it well.

As Christians, we have been made flavorful, that is to say, we have within us the fullness of the life of God's Holy Spirit. The useful Christian is one who evangelizes by adding the seasoning of Christ's love to another person's life. But beware of trying too hard! What happens when food is over-salted? It tastes horrible. No matter how good our intentions might be, if we come on too strong, we do more harm than good.

The lesson I've learnt from this mistake which I've made: never act without God. Since we call ourselves Christians and admit that God is our Father, we should also ask for His opinion and advice regarding the decisions we made, so that whatever we do, we do it for Him and under His divine guidance.

If the Lord would give me a chance to meet her again, I shall apologise to her for the hurt I've inflicted years back.


Inspired by: Tuesday reflection by Terry A. Modica.
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