If, like me, you have been anxiously following the results of the 13th Malaysia General Election, last night was probably a much less restful night than usual. I found myself tossing and turning in bed and my mind was racing ad infinitum. But I woke up this morning with a few lessons learnt from the reflections that involuntary took place throughout the night.
Lesson One: No One Man Can Save a Nation. I think many of us who want a change for a better Malaysia have fallen into the trap of relying on several good men to rescue the nation from its current predicament. More than that, many of us have aligned ourselves to the promises of particular political parties.
Whilst these men may be upright, their undelivered promise of a desired future may have inflated our expectations beyond reality, and many of us fell for their manifestos. While there may be nothing wrong with looking at manifestos of political parties and promises of particular politicians, we forgot that these were men whose knowledge was equally bound to an ignorance of the future. Just go back to the talks given by Anwar Ibrahim during the campaigning period and listen to the magnitude of confidence he displays about "taking over Putrajaya" - such confidence is beyond the prerogative of any mortal man. He almost sounded as if God himself had revealed the future to him; either that, or he himself was God.
We should listen to the promises of men with utter caution. A man is but a human person, bearing within himself fragility and the propensity to fall beneath the standards he has set for himself. I dare say that many of us were so taken in by one man's over-the-moon confidence that we forgot to look to Christ and ask, "O Lord, what is Thy will?" For a moment, Anwar Ibrahim became the saviour of the nation. Well, he is not. His rhetoric had given us such boosted confidence Pakatan Rakyat would win this election that our hearts dropped when we realised, during the publication of the election results, nothing very much had changed after all.
Lesson Two: This World Cannot Guarantee Ultimate Justice. Many of us would say, had it not been for the corrupt practices of the ruling party, that Pakatan Rakyat could have easily won the election. Realistically speaking, we can never know now, can we? But it did appear that despite having factored in all the ruling party's tendencies for corruption and cheating, Anwar still confidently predicted a landslide victory (I am unsure if it was to be victory for the rakyat or victory for himself). Were we expecting the ruling party to play a fair game to the extent that justice would prevail? Have we not heard enough teachings from Scripture that true justice many not be found in the present world while it is ruled by evil men?
I am not sure what people were expecting if/when Anwar took over office as Prime Minister of Malaysia. But could it be, even when Anwar did become Prime Minister, that there would still be sectors of Malaysian society that would remain marginalised and whose economic, educational and social needs remained unattended to? Or would Malaysia become a new Eutopia under the new ruling government?
I hear the voice of the people saying, "We've had enough, we just want change". Changing the government may not be the way to bring about change. Perhaps real change in society begins to take place when we each learn to stop falling for the lies of modern capitalism and materialism, when we each learn to uphold justice and truth and peace in our own spheres of influence, when we each teach our families to be God-fearing and morally upright, when we each learn to love our neighbour and care for the needy among us. It does not take a governmental change for this to happen. The government is not the society; we are the society.
Lesson Three: Jesus is the One Who Will Establish Justice and Peace. If we recall the teachings of our faith, ultimate justice comes only at the return of Christ when he becomes Ruler over all creation. But for a while, we forgot to expect His return, because a "saviour" in the form of another persona had carried us away.
Someone has said to me before, that this view is impractical. If we hope only in Jesus to establish justice and peace, there is then no need for us to do anything. Of course I am not advocating that any good Christian be too heavenly to be of any earthly good. Our role, after all, is to hasten the coming of Christ and His Kingdom. But may we remember that whilst inactivity is a rather silly form of spiritual ignorance, prayerless and non-contemplative over-activity makes us nothing more than mere non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
I am not propagating that we should be politically indifferent just because we should not fully trust any political voice. Fulfil our obligations as citizens of Malaysia we must. Strive for justice we must - it is not an option. Longing for a free and fair election, and doing what we can to bring it to fulfillment, is a sacred obligation that is to be integrated into our faith. But perhaps, all this hard work has to be balanced with a constant reminder that perfect justice will prevail only when the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man are fully integrated with each other. If I have learned a very crucial lesson from these past few months, it is that Jesus Christ, not anyone else, is still the One who will be saving Malaysia.
Hope we must. But as we strive with our feet firmly planted on the ground for justice in this world and in our nation, our heads must look up to heaven. Our trust and our faith are placed in the only One who is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. He is coming soon; our redemption draws near. Come, Lord Jesus.