Daisy’s Dream Kitchen, Politics, And the Problem of the Human Heart
Brought a friend along for some last minute shopping for the Chinese Lunar New Year.
When the car boot had been filled with cooler bags and an assortment of items gotten at wholesale retail, we stopped off at Daisy’s Dream Kitchen (facebook) at Blk 517 West Coast Road for a re-fuel and a gab. (The balance of flavours in the buah keluak pork ribs and assam chicken was excellent: not rob-you-of-senses robust but just the right amount of assam acidity to liven up the palate. Friend insisted on returning for more soon.)
Naturally, the conversation turned to the on-going debate about ministerial pay, and the merits of the content of speeches of Alvin Yeo, Vikram Nair, Tan Chuan-Jin, Chen Show Mao, and Pritam Singh in parliament. She despaired over the opposition wasting the opportunity (the Workers’ Party specifically) to show that they could form a sensible government, with their complacency in thinking the internets would cheer on anything Chen Show Mao said and their failure to show they cared more about the people than scoring political brownie points.
But it is naive to expect that everyone will work together peacefully for the common good, whether in the government of a country, the management of a company, or just to save stray (and sometimes rabid) dogs and cats from being culled.
What is the real problem with this world?
The third session of Christianity Explored yesterday showed us that more than war, poverty, environmental issues, racism, greed, etc. our hearts are the real problem. If there was a website that listed every single thing that we did or thought, even our best friend(s) wouldn’t look us in the eye.
We can’t blame society, our parents (or lack thereof), unfortunate life events, or even our genes for causing us to act or think this way; all this evil comes from our hearts:
And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. And he said to them,”Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said,”What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” (Mark 7:14-23 ESV)
And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbour as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” (Mark 12:28-33)
Sadly, we don’t even manage to treat the one or two people we call our “loved ones” this way.
Those who think of Jesus as gentle and loving are half-right: he is certainly loving enough to warn of the dangers ahead but this means saying some hard truths rather forcefully:
Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea. And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell,‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ (Mark 9:42-48)
Whatever form hell will take, the warning is simply to avoid it at all costs by not sinning.
But we all know that we can’t stop all that evil pouring from our hearts every second of the day.
This is why Jesus came. Though not as a pep-talk lifestyle guru. But that’s for the next session.