Merdeka, Freedom, and Family
This year will mark Malaysia’s 66th year of independence from British rule, and to achieve “merdeka” is to achieve the freedom to self-rule – free from foreign intervention. But as Merdeka approaches, many will be keen to examine the concept of freedom and how free we really are in this country.
As Christians in Malaysia, we and our families are able to worship freely. We live in a multi-cultural, multi-lingual and multi-faith society that also allows us the freedom to do missionary work among the non-majority faiths, as stated in Article 11 of the Constitution of Malaysia.
At the same time, what is our identity as Malaysian Christians? Our relationship with God and with one another? When we accept Christ, we become His followers and become a part of God’s family. We become children of God, we are adopted by His Spirit and become joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:14-17).
The nation is also a family
The nation is also a family. And like all families, there will be differences and difficulties. There’s sibling rivalry, favouritism, jealousy and in-fighting. There are personalities clashing, communication problems, cultural and generational differences. There’s divorce, separation, abuse and neglect.
But in families there is also love, unity, support and trust. There is honesty, empathy, compassion, respect and feelings of safety. A godly family is one that is dedicated to worshipping God, to prayer, devotion, faithfulness and commitment to each other.
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Like any family, Malaysia may not be perfect, but we can celebrate the different ways we’ve come together to help each other over the past decades. We can look back on how we’ve grown stronger as a nation, look past our baggages and embrace each other as a united, inclusive and cohesive family.
Love God, love others, love Malaysia
If there’s anything we can do, (or anything we can’t do with our limited freedoms), as Christians we are definitely called to do two things: to love God and to love others in accordance with Jesus’s Greatest Commandment in Matthew 22:37-38.
Though some of us may struggle with how we are valued in the bigger picture as a minority religion here in Malaysia, yet in obedience to Scripture, let us continue to commit our beloved tanah air into God’s hands, to pray for our country and its leaders, to play an active role in our community, to participate in the life of this nation, and to treat every person that comes our way with kindness and compassion.
About the Author
Wan Phing Lim is a contributor to Our Daily Bread Ministries Malaysia. Born and raised in Penang, she studied Politics before turning to a career in writing. She loves coffee, books and films.
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