Many have been calling Thailand’s upcoming July 3rd elections its “Moment of Truth.”
I woke up this morning with the nation on my heart and some thoughts began to come to me before I was out of bed. I began to thinking of a storm and how to best prepare for it.
This is the perspective and thoughts of one individual Christian leader concerning Thailand’s future. However, it is a prophetic message for every good person who is willing to take time to listen with an open heart and mind.
Many Biblical scriptures began to come to my mind, so I began to write for Thailand. I have quoted extensively from the Holy Scriptures, the Bible. If you look up each reference, you will see an even deeper meaning than what I have written.
The first though I had when thinking of this great nation of Thailand and its people was a quote from the Lord Jesus Christ that President Abraham Lincoln used in one of his most famous speeches to the American public.
The phrase was, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
The full quote is found in the book of Matthew chapter12, verse 25 of the Bible:
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them,
“Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.”
Americans have emphasized the “house”, but it is interesting that Jesus first mentions a “kingdom”, of which Thailand is one. Americans are not used to living in a Kingdom, so they use the word “house” but the meaning is the same.
It is the covering and protector of the people who live there. It should be a place of safety and rest. I will mention the “house” or “kingdom” again in a moment.
Abraham Lincoln, one of the greatest leaders of America, used the Biblical quotation in this way saying,
“A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.”
Lincoln knew the time and season in which he was living. It was a key turning point moment for the nation of America. He understood that unity and national reconciliation was the key to America moving forward from this horrible chapter in its history, the chapter of slavery.
Thailand too had come to this kind of place in its own history before. Changes were enacted by the great King Chulalongkorn to officially end slavery in Thailand. The old ways had to make way for the new reforms and Thailand did go through this successfully and moved on into progress.
Yet there is another issue modern Thailand is facing and that is the issue of true freedom. Lincoln said that the government cannot progress permanently when it is both, half-free and half-slave.
Today we can say it this way, “the government cannot progress when there are still some people who do not have a voice in their future, and therefore are not yet free.”
The Thai people, who live in a country that is called “The Land of the Free”, cannot really be free until they are allowed to have a free and fair elections, the right to voice their opinions on any subject, freedom of the media and press, and freedom to choose their own religious faith without the stigma of being considered “Thai or not Thai.”
When it comes to moving forward, there must be reconciliation and unity based on true forgiveness and loving-kindness.
Jesus Christ, in a teaching that comes from another world, says;
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44)
“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. (Luke 6:27-28)
Reconciliation and unity through can only progress through forgiveness. But forgiveness does not mean there should not be consequences for people’s actions.
There should be justice for murderers and perpetrators of violence. People should be held accountable for their actions, especially when their actions have resulted in the loss of lives. This is the role of good governments. (See Romans 13:4 )
All sins can possibly be forgiven, but there are greater consequences for some sins more than others.
When it comes to other teachings that could help Thailand move forward, we see that Jesus teaches us to “Love our neighbors” as ourselves. (see Matthew 22:36-40). This includes ALL people regardless of the their shirt colors, religions, or nationalities.
As followers of Jesus, we are taught to show respect to everyone, to fear God Almighty, and honor the King. (see 1 Peter 2:17) This should be normal life for every disciple of Jesus. We also pray for our leaders and those who have authority over us. In 1 Timothy 2:1-2 we are taught,
“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”
We are also taught to “Remember the poor” and “not show favoritism because of wealth and status.” (Galatians 2:10 and James 2:2-9) To “remember” them means to help them. The best way to help the poor and rural peoples of Thailand to succeed is to teach them how to prosper rather than giving them another hand out.
Many times practical help and programs are needed right away, but they must be taught that “the LOVE of money is the root of all evil” ( I Timothy 6:10) and that money is not everything. (See Mark 8:36-37) It is simply a tool, that when managed correctly, can enhance a person’s life rather than corrupt it.
Moving forward, I believe Thailand needs to become a nation where it is ok to acknowledge wrongdoing, repent, and ask for forgiveness when it is needed. At this time, it seems to be more culturally acceptable to maintain ego and face rather than show humility.
In the Book of Luke, Jesus tells a story of two men who went up to the temple to pray. It is found in Luke 18:10-14. One man, while praying, emphasizes what he thinks he does right every day and the other man sees his reality when compared to God, His great Creator-King.
The person who humbles him or herself is the one who is justified God’s sight. It also shows us that at the end of the day, God will humble the person who lifts himself up and doesn’t choose to acknowledge his wrong actions.
Before their can be forgiveness in a nation, there must first be an acknowledgement of wrongdoing and a desire on the part of people to forgive. But once forgiveness is granted, it does not mean that trust has been rebuilt. Trust is rebuilt slowly over time even though it only took a moment for it to be broken.
For there to be unity, it must come through recognition of each other and our individual value whether the person be Isaan, Northern, Central, Southern, Hill tribe, Burmese, Cambodian, or foreigner. Each person has great value and worth in the site of God, their Creator. They are precious to God and should be precious to us too.
Jesus taught that great storms would come in this life. Surely, Thailand is facing a big storm itself as a people and a nation. The storm will test the fabric of Thai society. It will test what Thailand is made of and the strength of its foundation.
I want to encourage Thai people to consider the words of Jesus Christ on how to prepare for the storm.
In the book of Matthew 7:24-28, Jesus teaches,
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
Here the Lord Jesus Christ is saying that those who hear his teaching and practice it will be the most stable and secure in the coming storm. Their foundation is rock solid. Those who chose not to listen are called foolish. Their foundation is as strong as sand.
There are many great teachings from Jesus that everyone should hear and practice, but for the nation of Thailand, I want to just emphasize the most important ones for now.
1. Love God and Love Your Neighbor Are The Greatest Commandments See (Matthew 22:36-40
2. The Work of God is To Believe on the One He Has Sent See (John 6:28-29)
As human beings, we are all created in the image of God, our Creator. Therefore we are called to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength. Jesus said that this is the greatest teaching and command.
Secondly, we are called to love our neighbors (everyone around us) as we love ourselves. This even includes those we consider our enemies.
The Bible teaches us that God is pure love. It then teaches us specifically what love looks like.
I Corinthians chapter13:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
In Jesus and his followers, there is supposed to live three things that Thai people desperately need: Faith, Hope, and Love and the greatest of these is Love.
Thailand needs this kind of love. It is a love that never fails.
If Thai people know God, then they can know and experience true love.
Then through a real experience of God’s love in our own lives, we really love our neighbors, no matter what shirt they wear, or personal beliefs they may have.
Lastly, the work of God is to believe in the One who He has sent. That One is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.
Three pillars of Thai society are country, religion, and King. But as any good home builder would know, a “house” also needs a strong foundation, a chief cornerstone, and a covering.
*Jesus is the rock, the strong foundation in the storm. (see I Corinthians 3:11)
*Jesus is the chief cornerstone that holds the “house” together. (see Acts 4:11)
*Jesus is the covering that protects us from the suffering brought on by the storms of life. (see Psalm 91:4)
Jesus Christ, our God Almighty, gives us a free choice whether we will choose Him or not. Thai people should also be free to choose their religion and not have it tied to national identity or patriotism. Thailand will then really be the “land of the free.”
If Thailand has any chance to live in democracy, if it wants to root out corruption, bring justice to the poor and oppressed, and trust back to leadership it will need recognize its Creator-God and rebuild the nation on His teachings.
Almighty God, our Creator, has made the declaration that,
“Heaven and Earth may pass away, but my Word will never pass away.”
(see Matthew 24:35, Luke 21:33, and Mark 13:31)
Also He has said,
“He who does the will of God abides forever.” (I John 2:16-17)
“Blessed is the nation whose God is THE Lord.” (Psalm 33:12)
But as with any good democracy, the choice belongs to you, the people.
May God Almighty bless and guide Thailand in the coming days.
Thailand, we love you and are praying for you.