Great Expectations

We all have expectations. We deny it but it’s true and it’s there. It seems like it is non-existent until an expectation is not met.


I’ve been meditating on the outreach, kinda like debriefing with God and the passage that He’s given me over the outreach which is Galations 5. It talks about the law and the Spirit.


Having an expectation is like having a law. We all have laws, whether good or bad, reasonable or unreasonable written on our hearts – my teacher should be this this this, my parent should be this this this, my husband should do this this this and then, they’ll be right.


My question is, should there even be a good or reasonable law for others or for ourselves? King David says I have hidden your word in my heart so that I will not sin against you, not I have hidden your word in my heart so that I can make sure others don’t sin against you!


Even if there is a law written in our hearts (which is true), Paul says in Galations 5 that "it was for freedom that Christ has set us free… you who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen from grace…", which simply means that the law serves to judge us and steer us towards what we should do but it’s not to beat ourselves up about and get all stressed up because Christ has come to set us free! If we continue to beat ourselves up according to the law and trying to be right all the time, we are "alienated from Christ"  – that’s so sad! And "fallen from grace"! Yucks! Who wants that!?!


I’ve always known this but since coming out of Singapore, I’ve felt it and realised it even more than ever – as a Singaporean, I have a terrible sin – I need to be right ALL the time! I am so afraid to lose and I hate to be wrong or fail. Worse of all? I put everyone around me under the same "law" or judgement! Esp James and Sophie! Eeks! How awful is that?!? (Btw, we all cover this up real well as in we don’t go around telling people directly why they are wrong, it is uncovered in our best when we complain, gossip or worst, SULK. We are terribly good at that.)


Anyways, back to what I was saying, if operating out of the law is opposite to operating out of grace referring to Galations, then, that explains why as Singaporeans we are struggling so hard to be a gracious society! Personally, I struggle to show grace and my carnal instinct is to judge and complain when things go wrong (but I only complain in my heart k… see I’m so righteous, I don’t complain what!?!, I just complain in my heart only… ok sometimes to my husband… ya right right… :)). Need to grip it at the thought life.


I need to understand this – the law is governed by God and God alone. The law that we hold for ourselves/others which I equate to expectations here in this reflection, might not always be fair or holy. Only He alone is the judge and ruler of all. He gave the law out out of love to set the boundaries for relationship with God and men so that men will not "bite" and devour" each other (Galations 5:15). He is perfect (bible calls it holy) so He alone can demand perfection and keep to perfection (not me). Because He is love and grace, he alone made it possible for man to be free from the judgement of the law through His son’s death and resurrection.


Note to self:
I cannot keep the law. I can only say sorry and move on. Even trying to do the right thing doesn’t work. In my study bible, it says "the burden of the rigorous demands of the law as the means for gaining God’s favor – an intolerable burden for sinful humanity." No way I can keep the law and I must stop making other people keep the law. Need to eradicate expectations. I have no right to expect. I am the receiver of that love and grace. "The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through LOVE." The New Testament parables that Jesus told all pointed to this – stop pretending to be all righteous, stop judging, stop throwing stones at others, LOVE, GIVE, SHARE, even to your enemies. Because you can’t keep the law, you can only receive of love and grace and freely give of that.


How would I know if I’m showing grace and love? – "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is NO LAW!… Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other." I need to move in the opposite spirit.


Oh wait, btw, need to remember I would probably complain and judge again so at the heart of it, I must learn to say sorry instead of justifying myself. So, at the heartiest heart of it? It’s all about being humble. How hard is that for a Singaporean? Hardest of hard. Lord, help me.


P/s: Scary thing? So many countries are trying to be like Singapore just because we’ve done so well, seemingly. Oh Lord, pls help. I love Singapore but we really need help here. We need a change of heart.

P/ss: Erm, this reflection might not be all theologically sound so pls take it with a pitch of salt and it’s more a personal reflection. I’m not really good at talking it out so it helps me to process my thoughts if I write it out. And I’ve gotten all lazy with handwriting (maybe I should do Handwriting without Tears with Soph!) and it’s much easier typing. And since I’ve typed it out, I might as well post it out. Haha!

One Response to “Great Expectations”

  1. kLeM Says:

    Eh, I am not sure if it’s just the Singapore “tribe” who has this chronic need to be right all the time — some Americans can also be quite bad…politically then, people don’t engage in conversation, but yell at each other all the time. Sigh.

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