Singapore has seen quite the year—from different phases of the global pandemic, to the recent elections, forming our new government, and everything in between. Amid all of this, we’ve come to see what our tiny nation is made of.
The idealist in me is heartened to see #SGUnited. Whether to appreciate the efforts of our frontline workers, care for each other during this time, or showcase different ground-up initiatives, it has brought a sense of togetherness in Singapore.
However, this year has also surfaced where we must do better. Learning to be more inclusive and aware, to care for our foreign brothers and sisters and those who are more vulnerable in society, to name a few.
As we move into our 55th year as a nation, how do we be Singaporeans that build our society for the better? Even as we remember our heavenly citizenship (Phil 3:20), here are 4 considerations of being a good citizen here.
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1) Be a good neighbour—We all know the commandment to love our neighbour as ourselves. But “who is my neighbour?”
When asked this, Jesus responded with the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) with a surprising answer at the end: “The one who had mercy on him.”
It is not a question of who is or isn’t my neighbour, but who can I be a good neighbour to? Our eyes and hearts must open and start taking notice of what’s around us—a coworker being unusually quiet, an aunty struggling to carry all her bags. Let us then reach out, even if it may be inconvenient or out of the way, let’s be the kind of neighbour that freely extends the mercy that was first shown to us.
2) Care for the least of these—God’s heart is always for the vulnerable, the “least” among us.
"He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing." (Deuteronomy 10:18) Particularly in the wake of COVID-19, we now clearly see the vulnerable in our society.
This statement Jesus makes is found in Matthew 25:40 and 45: ‘whatever you did/did not do for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did/did not do for me’. I don’t know about you, but it always confronts me and causes a heart reflection—“Am I demonstrating the heart of the Father?”, “Have I overlooked the vulnerable?”, “What more can we do together to take care of the marginalised?”
Let us never forget the ‘least of these brothers and sisters’, and continually reach out in love. To first choose to be an inclusive society and think about how we speak and relate to them, to treat them how we would like to be treated, and to practically meet their immediate needs.
3) Unity in diversity—Progress comes from and brings about different viewpoints, opinions, and values. This is added on by different life experiences which form our perspective.
As we grow more opinionated in politics, as deeper issues in society are surfaced, especially in the face of today’s ‘cancel culture’—we need to intentionally choose love instead of judgement.
Rick Warren, author of the Purpose Driven Life, puts it best: “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”
As believers, our lives, thoughts, speech, and behaviour must demonstrate love, especially in differences. One simple way is to be open to a (respectful) conversation with people whose views you may not agree with, or if you’re not ready, simply be polite in ‘agreeing to disagree’ for the moment.
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4) Praying for our government—Especially relevant as we’ve just formed our new cabinet, one of the most important things we can do for our nation is to pray for the authority that has been placed over us.
It’s not an easy ask. What do we do when we disagree with something, feel disappointed or upset, or just have no idea what to pray for? It is humbling to remind ourselves that “there is no authority except that which God has established”, which we are to submit to (Romans 13:1-5). In these times, I find myself going back to this reminder; that we do not war against flesh and blood ultimately.
It is precisely because there are many other forces at play (Ephesians 6:12), that should bring us quickly to our knees in prayer. That even if we do not know what to pray, we bring our nation, our leaders, before the throne of our Heavenly Father—for His will to be done here, as in heaven.
So as National Day approaches and celebrations ensue, let us go into this next year and determine to be the kind of citizen that builds our society towards being better.
Deborah is passionate about capturing different perspectives to create relevant and impactful content. She enjoys meaningful conversations and collecting experiences, but also loves time spent just with a good book and cup of coffee.
Part 3 of 3: Covid-19 Conversations: I’ve Always Wondered (Part One)
Part 1 of 3: Covid-19 Conversations: I’ve Always Wondered (Part One)
Part 2 of 3: Covid-19 Conversations: I’ve Always Wondered (Part One)
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