Friday of Holy Week has been traditionally called Good Friday or Holy Friday. On this day, the church commemorates Jesus’ arrest, his trial, crucifixion and suffering, death, and burial. This is said to be the day that Jesus died and left us in this physical world. Some devotees even believed that physical activities that may put one’s safety at risk such as driving or even allowing the kids to play outside are not allowed today for Christ is not there to guide us.
Given these beliefs, we could say that man on this day is left alone, with his master away there’s nobody to watch upon him; in short man can be said to be free.
This is the type of freedom that we’ll be talking about today in relation to our “Free”day special.
Integrity: Freedom of doing what’s right even when no one is looking
When the cat is away, the mouse will play, goes a popular saying. This could also be true to the freedom we have today. Since Christ is away, we are on our own, free; able to do anything we want. This leaves us with a lot of time where the perceptible enforcing authority of someone greater than us cannot reach us. It is under this freedom that we commit most of our trespassing acts. It is out of this false sense of independence that we stray away from the path of salvation.
This is also similar to the attitude of most of us to put our best foot forward when somebody is watching, but act otherwise when we are already on our own. We tend to wear a social mask in the presence of others: a pious mask at Church, a friendly mask at work, a smiling face while dealing with clients. We want people to perceive us better than we are.
I even remembered when I was still in elementary; I was extremely fond of chewing gum, especially during class hours. However, sooner or later the chewing gum would either lose its taste or I would become bored with it. After a while, I would start looking around, wondering how I could get rid of the gum nice and quietly. As you might have guessed by now, yes, I was that kid sticking her used gum underneath the desk. And as I grew older, I started noticing that I wasn’t the only one deviating from the social norms that society has laid out for us.
In today’s busy world, there’s always the temptation to take the easy way out rather than work hard to do the right thing. As good Christians however, we should never doubt the fact that an ever-watchful God is always present, even if no visible being is there to watch our actions. There is no hiding from Him. He sees in the innermost of our souls and knows all the demons that torture us in our most concealed moments.
I think Thomas Jefferson was on a similar train of thought when he wrote, “Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching.”
Hopefully this Holy Friday we’ll put in mind that looking good does not equate with actually being good. Even when no one is looking, and when no one is there to enforce a moral code, we are still Christians, called to take up our crosses and follow Christ on His ascent to heavens; called to give up the vengeance for a lost eye and turn the other cheek; called to forgive our debtors and lend without interest, and, most importantly, called to love all people, including our enemies, in the same way as Christ has loved us and has sacrificed Himself for us.
It is this sacrifice of love that should make us follow Him, even when we feel that we might unnoticeably skip a commandment or two. The fear of God is only the beginning of wisdom; the fullness of wisdom is to strive every day to achieve true Christian character, to reach “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”. (Ephesians 4:13). Only then we will finally become our true selves, masks aside, open to be united with Him, as He intended from the beginning of the world.
Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that’s right is to get by, and the only thing that’s wrong is to get caught. ~J.C. Watts
A meaningful Good Friday to all of us!
This is part of my first ever Wholly Week Special series of posts, with the aim of making your holy week a more meaningful one and that by the end you’ll be once again ‘whole’. Feel free to read through them, be inspired, and inspire others. Have a blessed Lenten Season!