As another day of protests descends in Hong Kong, and police and civilians clash over pro-democracy protests, many are asking the when ‘when will this end’? Thousands of people gathered in Victoria Park last week against a bill which allows for extradition from Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland and undermine the judicial independence the territory has. Protests have been on going for the last 10 weeks, and that have increasingly intensified, with reports of tear gas and rubber bullets being used. As we head into another week, do you find yourself in a cycle of protest but are not being heard?
Democracy is the idea of the people having the right to be actively involved in the governing of the sate and the freedom to participate in the political community’s self government. Democracy is the protection and promotion of one’s rights, interests and welfare. Democracy includes freedom of speech, justice, equality of all persons, among others. In an ever changing and developing world, there are many times when we can feel that our fundamental freedoms are being stifled, and that we are constantly clashing with authorities.
An authority is anything that has the power to give orders, make decisions and enforce obedience. A man who let the authority of anger rule his life and make decisions for him was Jonah. In the book of Jonah in the Old Testament, we see a prophet of the Lord who is giving the word of Lord to the Israelites. This is a man who has believed and followed God and actively preaches the word, but when he is told by God to go to Nineveh to do what he has been doing on a daily basis, he refuses. He refuses because Niveneh were enemies of the Israelites and he ‘wished Nineveh to die in its sins, and not to turn to God…’ (Logan Marshall – ‘The Wonder Book of Bible Stories’.) His lack of love and compassion led to him fleeing on a ship. aiming to get away from what God had called him to do. Eventually, Jonah could no longer escape his call, and cried upon the Lord after he was swallowed by a whale. With the Lord hearing his cry, he caused the whale to spit Jonah out, and he went to Nineveh preaching the word of God and ‘the Ninevites believed God’ (Jonah 2:5).
Jonah’s inability to see beyond his own anger could have cost the lives of many and in that moment, he let the authority of anger make the decision for him. The freedoms which were available to him to him as a prophet of the Lord, were stifled when he let another authority rule over him. What are you allowing to rule over you? Are you stifling your freedoms?
This week, just as God heard the cries of Jonah, he will hear your cry. He is calling you into a democracy of purpose, success and elevation (Jeremiah 29:11). You just have to let go of that authority that you are allowing to clash with your freedoms and trust in him.