A Kabaleyan’s Thoughts…


By S. Bill Jimenez

ASSERTING oneself is imperative for the preservation of human dignity.

It does not guarantee success all the time for one may be labelled a “troublemaker”, but it is a necessary exercise of human right.  So we must assert ourselves humbly, appropriately, morally and legally.

A Filipino from Pangasinan was cited for allegedly driving against red light after completing a left turn in a busy intersection.  The young police officer, refusing to listen to his plea, told him to argue his case in court.

To court he went ready with a two-page brief and a sketch of how and where the alleged violation took place.  In the middle of the intersection, he was not able to complete his turn on green light because of oncoming cars.

At the court, he was presented with three choices: 1) admit the traffic violation and pay the fine; 2) sign up for one-day traffic school; or 3) make his defense before a judge.  Opting for the third choice, he stood before the judge who, after examining the citation, unexpectedly rendered this decision: “Case dismissed!  No police report.”  “Thank you, your honor,” was all he uttered.  Deep inside him was a feeling of victory for asserting his right as a law-abiding citizen.

There are examples of assertiveness in the Bible.  Daniel was a young lad of sixteen when Judah was conquered by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.

With other Jewish lads, Daniel was handpicked to train in the royal court for the king’s personal service.  Although strangers in a foreign land, the lads had the courage to assert themselves and their faith.

As part of their training, they were to be given the king’s choice food and drink.

“But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way” (Daniel 1:8).

His three friends likewise asserted their spiritual rights when they refused to worship the golden image built by the king.

The early Christians were persecuted and even the apostles were prohibited to speak for the Lord.  One time Peter and John were arrested and threatened for preaching Jesus.  But, they asserted, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him?  You be the judge!  As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20).

Today’s society is full of good, nice and just people.  But, like in the days of Daniel and Peter, there are also a number of thugs, bullies and abusive folks who would infringe on other people’s inalienable rights.  Harmony, peace and brotherhood are desirable, but there are times when people have to assert their rights when violated.  It is sad that even in the Philippines such simple respect for others’ rights is often violated.

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