When Mary Magdalene, Mary, mother of James, and Salome came to the tomb on that Sunday morning, they were worried about the stone. As it was written earlier, the stone was very large, it was sealed and was guarded. But they had a much greater problem than the large, sealed and guarded stone.
They had no hope.
Proverbs 18:14 says, “… but who can bear a broken spirit?” (NKJV)
When they went to the tomb, they were not hoping to see the Risen Lord, Jesus Christ in His glory. They went there with absolutely no hope. They went to anoint the body of Jesus. According to them, Jesus had died and that was the end of the story. They had no hope.
Dear child of God, probably you are also in such a situation, where you have no hope left at all. Nothing. Whatever hopes you had were dashed to pieces, grounded to dust and buried deep.
Does your future look bleak without any hopes?
Are you still looking for a job, at the age, when you thought you would be well settled in your life?
Is your body giving away slowly to the disease that you have been fighting for a while?
Have you lost all hope that you will ever be living a life that is pleasing to God?
Though you are religious, lately you are attending the church services out of habit rather than out of love for God?
Do you feel that the anointing you received is slowly burning down?
No matter what, dear friend, come to the Lord.
The women went to the tomb, without any hope. All they wanted to do was to anoint the body of a dead Jesus. But, then the power of resurrection came in its awesome might and they witnessed the Risen Lord, Jesus Christ.
Like them, you may have lost all your hopes. All you want is just go through one more day. But come to Him, come to the LORD our Saviour Jesus Christ and the power of His resurrection will be evident in your life.
The women came to anoint a dead body. But they ended up witnessing the greatest event in the history of mankind. Yes, come to Jesus even if you have no hope and you shall witness the great awesome power of our LORD in your life. And from a hopeless situation, the LORD will change your life so much that you will inspire hope unto thousands of others who have lost their hope. Amen.
|Hebrews 9:28“so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”
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Today (March 8th, 2013) is International Women’s day. On this day, I wanted to write few things that were in my mind for a while about women liberation.
DISCLAIMER: The views shared in this blog are my personal opinions, based on personal observations, my own readings and incidents in which I was either a participant or an observer.
INCIDENT 1: Many years back, there was a demand for passing a Women Reservation Bill in Indian Parliament that would have given 33% of the Parliament and Assembly seats to women. And, when it came to Lok Sabha, members from all parties voted to defeat the Bill. For the first time, women in India realized that though the male population talks about equality and all that, men are not ready to give up their dominant position anytime soon.
During that time, women/girls would gather up and talk about how all men are MCPs and how all men would vote against this bill if given a chance. In such a group, my best friend was also present. For some reason, she believed that I would be different from other guys and said to the other girls, “No, Patrick would surely vote for that bill.” Of course, she was met with being naïve, trying to believe a guy.
It so happened that I was passing by at that time and they called me. I was asked that question: would I vote FOR the reservation bill? I categorically said: NOOOOOO!!!! All the girls looked at my friend with a victorious smile on their faces. But surprisingly my friend did not give up. She told them that there has to be a reason for this. So, she asked me why I would not vote for this. (Now, I am talking about this incident not to blow my own trumpet, but for another reason…) I told her that it is a stupid bill. This is the reasoning I gave her and I believe in: When they say that women are equal to men and demand 33% reservation, there is something really wrong with that. I am not that good in Mathematics, but last time I checked, equal means 50-50, not 33-67. I told them that I would rewrite the bill that allocates 50% of seats to women and then would vote for it. I explained how when the British tried to give independence to India in steps, the freedom fighters did not accept that offer. Purna Swaraj (Total Independence) or nothing – they declared. I told them that should be attitude – equality in every sense.
I am talking about this incident for one reason. While my friend was filled with pride on my answer, the other girls looked defeated – for wrong reason. They could not accept that a guy would say this. And that bothered me. They should have felt defeated for another reason – that they did not think about getting equal with men, that they were happy to settle for 33%.
Of course, you can counter me telling that even that 33% is still unattainable, then how can they think of 50%? That’s true. But the question here is not whether 50% is unattainable or not… the question is what women think about their equality? How can you claim that you are equal, but say that you will be satisfied with 33%? That tells me that you think that you are only 1/3rd equal to men. When you don’t believe in equality, how can you expect others to believe in that?
So, if things have to change, women have to change first. Let me illustrate this with an observation.
OBSERVATION 1: At the beginning of this year, I watching a TV show called “Neeya? Naana?” (You? or Me?). It is a quite popular show in Tamil where two sections from the society are allowed to debate on topics that affects them on day to day basis. It is a lively debate show where the participants are ordinary people, voicing practical concerns that affect us in our everyday life. And the episode I was watching was about empowerment of women. The participants were college students from upper and middle classes. When Mr. Gopinath, the moderator, asked the girls what their education has taught them about empowerment of women, one girl gave an answer with which all other girls agreed.
The answer was this: Education has empowered us so much, we know how to successfully balance between our jobs and our families. We are learning how to take care of our children, housework as well as our jobs. When problems arise in any of the above, we know how to deal with them.
I was sitting there, stunned that this is what the modern girl thinks as empowerment. So, let me understand this. Once upon a time, men used to work and all women had to do was take care of home. This is slavery and women had no power whatsoever in family decisions and all that. Now they are empowered. Now, they have to go to a job, work all day, come back home, take care of the family and kids, and then again go to the job without any breaks.
So, now women have to work more than they did before and still have to take care of the household chores and somehow they believe that they are empowered. So, we, men, still have nothing to lose. We have the same power as we had before. Get up in the morning, everything will be ready – thanks to our spouses (who have to get ready for their job too), go to job, come back, coffee will be ready – courtesy of our spouses who just returned from the job all tired, watch TV, talk cricket and politics, dinner served, go to sleep with the assurance that our spouses had taken care of cleaning and organizing everything. And, how is it empowerment of women? Can someone help me understand this?
Okay, one question. You are successful in your job and in maintaining your family as well. But a situation arises where only one of you – either you or your husband, can go to the job and the other person has to stay at home and take care. Who would be leaving their job? You or your husband? Now, tell me again about that thing being empowered and all that.
See, education has not done anything to change the mindset. All today’s women are learning is how to earn and be successful while still being a subordinate to men. As long as you believe that you are born to be a subordinate unto men, you will not achieve empowerment in its truest sense.
Please don’t think that I am blaming the victim here. All I am saying is that change your mindset and that will help you in achieving empowerment. Why is that important? I will explain that by another observation.
OBSERVATION 2: Recently there has been a story doing rounds on the internet. It is about a Tamil girl who committed suicide because some guys took her photograph from her Facebook profile and posted it online as a prostitute. I don’t know if that is a true story or not, but what bothered me where two things. The first thing is the comments from some guys at the bottom of story, praising the suicide of the girl: “Maanam ulla ponnuppa, adhan sethutta” (Translation: She is a girl with pride, that is why she killed herself.) I was stunned. If that story is true, a girl has lost her life and shouldn’t you be ashamed as a male that one of us was the reason for her death? Shouldn’t you be filled with rage about what some male pigs are doing under the cover of anonymity? Instead, you are praising the death of a girl… don’t you have any value for human life? This is what bothered me most. And here is why the empowerment of women should have come in – the second thing that bothered me.
If that story is true, while I am saddened by the death of this young girl, I am also outraged by one thing: why the hell you had to kill yourself? Just because some idiot, hiding behind the vast shadows of internet, said you are a prostitute? Is that a reason? So what? Who cares what some guy with no balls thinks or says? You know in your heart who you are. So, be empowered. Believe in yourself. Trust your heart more than anything else in this world. Don’t worry about what everyone else says. Even if the whole world comes against you, trust in yourself and never forget our National Motto: Satyameva Jayate (Truth Alone Prevails). The education that taught that girl (once again, assuming that story is true) to use Facebook, didn’t teach her to believe in herself and fight against all odds. That’s the problem today. Women are being educated, but not being empowered. This is the country where a woman became a Prime Minister, lost all her credibility and yet, became the strongest woman of India by becoming the Prime Minister again at all odds. This is the state where a woman became Chief Minister yet again just because she never gave up. Kiran Bedi, P.T.Usha, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, Sarojini Naidu, Karnam Malleswari… so many women are there for you to follow… women who embody empowerment.
But, this change cannot happen only with a change in the mindset of women. There is something really really wrong with men’s attitude.
OBSERVATION 3: There are many today who are ready to advise women about being safe first. The guy who posted about the suicide of the girl on the Facebook had a huge advice for girls: please take your pictures off the internet.
Now, it actually looks like a good advice and I am sure that guy posted that in good consciousness. Recently when one of the most despicable acts of violence against women took place in New Delhi (for crying out loud, that is the Capital City of our Nation), many started advising that women should not be out late in the night. (I will not even give any respect to some of the comments made by certain political and religious leaders about that abominable incident.) The Pondicherry government tried to impose a dress code to girls by providing overcoats for them. So what is the problem with all these? It all tells that all bad things are happening to girls, because they are letting them to happen. Only if the girls do not post their pictures on Facebook. Only if girls were not out late in the night. Only if girls were wearing overcoat. Then men will not be pigs. Men would become saints. Wait a minute, why should a girl lose her freedom if a pig wants to be a saint?
Okay, you go outside for a walk. A dog barks at you. Sometimes few dogs join and bark at you. So what would you do? Stay inside? Never go out? Because they are dogs and may bite you…? No. Throw a stone at them. Hit some dogs and see how all dogs keep tails between their legs and run to save their life. The problem is not with you going for a walk, it is with those mad dogs.
It is the same with this situation. A girl posting her photo in Facebook is not wrong. Go after those idiots (I am using idiots, because all other words that comes to my mind describing these *%$@$ are not exactly printable and also against my Christian beliefs, so… that’s the one word I am going to stick with) who abuse those photographs. If you know a guy who uses a girl’s photograph in a wrong manner, go after him. If a guy posts something indecent in a girl’s wall, retaliate – it does not have to be a girl, even guys should retaliate. A girl has every right to express herself just like a guy does. If someone abuses it, we should be going after him. Not after the girl.
About girls going out late in the night: many have problems with that. Why is a girl outside so late in the night? Why should girls be outside once the sun is set? Wait a minute, haven’t you heard of a quote from someone called Mahatma Gandhi… who said that he would consider that India got freedom only when a girl can walk home in the middle of the night safely, without any fear. So if a girl is walking late in the night, it does not tell anything about her character. Just the fact that her safety is not guaranteed tells me that there is something seriously wrong with the conception of our freedom.
Few months back, a Tamil movie by the name “Thuppakki” (meaning: Gun) was released. I generally read the reviews in Rediff.com and this review was written by a female critic. She said that the movie is dull. Actually I don’t agree with her, as I thought this was a well-made movie and especially for Vijay who had a rough few years (Villu, really?), this movie would have been a welcome change. But the critic probably had her expectations high because for the first time, Director A. R. Murugadoss (the unassuming man behind Ghajini and Ramana) was collaborating with Vijay. It happens. There are times the movie actually is good, but because we had high expectations, we were left with a feeling that it could have been better. And every critic has a different taste.
But the comments written in the discussion boards were horrible. Some of them just said that the critic does not have any taste. Some others said that she is a fan of other stars like Ajith or Surya and that’s why she is thrashing Vijay’s movie. But there were few comments that attacked her based on her gender. Some of the comments were actually nauseating.
Now, these comments are not written by men who are illiterate or who are not educated. If they are reading a review in Rediff.com and writing comments on that, most probably they are educated and are quite well off. Yet, the vulgar language they used – what does that tell us about their mindset? Isn’t there a decent way to express your disagreement with someone else’s point of view? And will you express your comments with your real name and your true contact info? These are cowards who hide behind false names and can call a woman any name they want because they can. Unless they change, this is going to be difficult. But till then, women have to become mentally stronger.
Now think about this. I don’t know anything about this critic. She was not wearing a skimpy outfit. She was not out on the road in the middle of the night. She had not posted her photo on Facebook. All she did was write a review about a movie. Yet the attacks were horrible. So it is not the women who have problems, it is unfortunately we, the male population, who have a serious problem to deal with.
Probably you are a guy who is thinking, “But, I don’t do any such thing. I respect women and I treat them with respect.” But that is not enough. Are you ready to stand up for what you believe in?
INCIDENT 2: Few years back, when I was doing my MPhil at Madras Christian College, my schedule was rather packed. I had to catch the bus at 5 am, travel for two hours, attend classes, go to library, and then travel another two hours and reach home. There were times when I reached home, it was 11 in the night, had dinner, go to sleep and then I had to get up again at 4 in the morning. So most of my travel time would be really sleeping.
One evening as I was travelling back in an Express Bus, I fell asleep as usual. My sleep was disturbed as there was a commotion near me. I woke up to see the conductor standing next to me (Don’t jump to conclusion, I did buy my ticket), watching what was happening near by. The bus was almost full and everyone was turning around and seeing what was happening. I turned around and saw that two women, a mother and her teenage daughter, were travelling. There was a guy sitting behind them along with his wife. He was not travelling alone. His wife was very much next to him. He looked as if he was inebriated. He had put his legs in between the two seats before him and was harassing those two ladies. His wife was pleading with him to take off his legs, those two ladies were squirming in the seats, asking for some help from anyone. The conductor and the entire bus were watching. Watching.
Some losers even had the nerve to pass comments like these: “These women should not travel alone; they should have brought a male companion.” “Yeah, they should probably sit in the front. Why are two women sitting towards the end of the bus?” “Oh, that man is a drunkard. What is the use of arguing with him?” These were the comments made.
The man actually looked like he had no control over his actions. But you know what happened? I really got angry at the situation and with a very angry voice, I told the man: “Take your legs off now or I will break your legs and throw you out the window.” Guess what happened to the drunkard who apparently had no control till then… he took his legs off and sat in a fetus position in the seat. I told him that if he even moved an eye towards those women, I would give him a beating that he would not forget for the rest of his miserable life. And, till the end of the journey, he did not make a move towards those women, and he did not disturb anyone else.
Are you a guy who believes in equality of women? Don’t stop with wishing them on Mother’s day, International Women’s day or I don’t know what other days are there. Till that equality is achieved, till the day that both women and men believe they are equals, till that equality becomes a reality, will you be ready to step up for them? That is the best gift you can give to your mother, your sister, your wife, your daughter.
P.S: For my friend, who stood up against all odds and has become a successful role model to many girls she does not even know. Thank you.