Written by Ranen Chan
Edited by Eunice Tan
“Ranen! Your wardrobe is in a mess! Why are the clothes like this?”
I groaned. Not again.
“It’s not that bad! They’re organised!”
“You call this organised? They’re all falling over! Come here right now!”
My mother is something of a perfectionist. Unlike me. (Well, I can be a perfectionist, given the right subject. It should be admitted that the state of my wardrobe was not high on my priority list.) I would often feel as if she wouldn’t be happy until the house was as tidy as a hobbit hole. I still do occasionally. But I have realised, as most of you probably have, that our parents’ nagging are for our own good. They do love us wholeheartedly, after all. Still, it’s sometimes hard not to be annoyed. Yet realise the following: our parents reprimand us, even though it may make them unpopular or disliked.
Ever been in a situation where your friend did something they shouldn’t have done? Last time, I would simply keep quiet or just laugh it off. Who wants to be a party pooper or a snitch? Not me. That was for sure.
But is that sort of response for the best?
What would be a truly loving response?
As a good friend, we need to speak up if something’s not right. If we really love someone, we wouldn’t want to see them making wrong choices – even if it means being unpopular.
It may not be easy. In fact, it usually isn’t. I admire those who can speak up when they believe something isn’t right, even if others dislike them for it. It takes guts to do that.
And though one may not initially think of it as selfish, not speaking up when you should actually is – because you are afraid of what people would think of you. You care about how people view you. It’s a very human thing. As is often the case, what’s human is not what we ought to be doing.
In Galatians, Luke documents an incident where the Apostle Paul confronts the Apostle Peter in front of everyone for disassociating with the Gentiles once some other Jews arrived.
“Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.
But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, ‘If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?’”
(Galatians 2:11-14, NKJV)
In my church, sad to say, many of the boys are glued to their phones for the entirety of the sermon. Some play games, some watch videos, but not once do they look at the preacher. Some of my friends did that too. Yet I never said a thing, afraid to be the unpopular guy. You see, I really wanted to be accepted in social groups in church – but that’s another topic for another day. Suffice to say, my perspective is changing, and I no longer care as much as I used to.
I tend to shy away from conflict and confrontation, which can be a good thing sometimes, but which also means I don’t speak up even when I ought to. This area is something I’m still working on, and writing this piece has been a good reminder for me of what true love really means–that it sometimes means being the party pooper. I hope this encourages you as it did me.