A Free Man or a Slave

The Philippines was under the Spanish rule for 333 years, 45 years under the Americans and 3 years under the Japanese. It has been 72 years since we won our freedom. Now the question is, are you a free man or a slave?

If we are indeed free men, why is it that over 90% of our population live below the poverty line? Why is it that one out of five marriages fail? Is it enough to be recognized as a nation with laws and rules of our own? Does freedom for us Filipinos only mean NOT to be under the rule of someone else?

You only need one thing for you to be a free man. And that one thing is honor.

1. A free man honors his commitments.

If you are married, you would agree with me that marriage is tough because it is a lifetime commitment. As a husband and a father, I am committed to provide for my family, to love and cherish them as long as I live. Those are words spoken during the wedding but many do not realize the huge responsibility behind those words. This is the truth. Best-selling author and world-renowned Catholic lay preacher, Bro. Bo Sanchez once said, the biggest problem of the world today is the lack or absence of parenthood. Most of the crimes today are done by people who came from broken families, who have parents who are drug addicts and drunkards or were beaten, molested, or abandoned by their parents. To be responsible for another life is a big thing. Here in the Philippines, it is our custom for men to ask for the hand of our wife in marriage. What it basically means is that we are telling our future in-laws that we are ready to sacrifice to give their daughter a better future. My brother Rommel once told me that as the head of the family and a provider, you need to provide at least the basics. Basics include food, clothing and shelter. Jewelries are already extra, but never forget the basics.

That is being a provider. But you see, being a husband and a father goes beyond providing for your family. You need to outdo everyone in showing love. You need to lead in the contest of love.

I believe a lot of marriages fail because a lot of fathers still behave like boys. They are not courageous enough to face their responsibility as a husband and as a father. They build barriers made of fear rather than conquering them. They never outgrew their issues.

I used to be ashamed of my failures in the past. Now, I realized that for every failure that I made is a plus to my courage. Every time you try moving out of your comfort zone, whether it results to failure or success, is an attempt to make life better.

Another example of commitment is how you regard your debts. If you have debts, you need to honor them by paying them. Do not hide from your creditors. Be a man and face them. If you don’t have money yet to pay them, think of a plan on how to pay them and show up. Don’t ever think your creditors will forget about them because they never do.

2. A free man honors other people.

We are a nation that is part of the world with many other nations. Each with their own laws, culture and tradition. A free man respects and understands freedom of other people. A free man makes other men free. A free man is a leader not a ruler. A leader guides and paves the way for other people to find their light. A ruler insists his light is the only one. Diversity is what makes life interesting.

3. A free man honors God.

God made us human beings with free will and capable of making rational decisions. If we are made to follow whatever life throws at us, then God should have made us robots. We are made in His image and likeness. I believe God wants us to create, to lead and to live.

God wants us to create, or to make things happen. We need to act on our dreams. God wants us to lead. By letting your light shine, you unconsciously liberate others. God wants us to live, not be lived.

Your life is God’s greatest gift. By letting your light shine is a way of honoring God.

What is it to be a slave?

In computers, a slave hard drive just waits for commands or triggers from another program. It is not capable of creating an event. The computer can function without it. But take note that slave hard drives have the same specifications or features with master hard drives.

Slave people hide from the truth. They hide from their responsibilities. They have no direction in life. It is not that they are incapable, they just don’t seek for the truth. These are people who are enslaved by their own fears.

Last holy week, I was in a retreat at SMX, and the whole message of the retreat was to go Deeper: to go deeper with our relationship with God and with our families. I also believe that the message also meant that being good is no longer enough. We need to step out of our comfort zone and help those in need. If you were blessed to have good education, it is time to rise. There are a lot children that need to be cared for and to be loved. There are over 90% of the population still live in poverty. People who need guidance. People who need to believe that there is light in them waiting to shine.

Step out of your comfort zone and you will be surprised there is so much you can do. If you don’t know where to start, start with your family.

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