My heart stirs when I read the Gospel of John, Chapter 1, Verse 4: “In Him, was life and the life was the Light of man.”  In John, Chapter 8, Verse 12, Jesus also said: “I am the LIGHT of the world; he who follows ME will not walk in darkness but will have the LIGHT of LIFE.”

In my childhood I believed in the existence of God. But the concept of God had never been deep in my heart, and equating ideas of God with the “light of the world” did not make much sense to me. I knew I was a sinner, but I continued to live in my sin. The irony of it all was that though I enjoyed sin, deep down I was desperately seeking freedom from sin. God presented me with an occasion to find this liberation while I was performing military service in Singapore. I was charged for an offence I committed which cost me many days in military detention.

The cell where I was imprisoned was bare, appropriate for a place where depressingly dull days would seem to stretch on without end. My bed was an uncomfortable wooden plank with no pillow upon which to lay my head. I requested a Bible from a Christian friend, intending to use it as a pillow. In fact, it was a far greater blessing than I had thought! It not only served as a good headrest, but it also dynamically transformed my life.

Even as I flipped through the pages of this wonderful book, the words had a profound impact on my life, ministering right into my innermost being. I began to reflect on my sinfulness; I pondered my entire life, wondering what would become of me when I die, being certain there was no way I could save myself. At that point of intense reflection, I remembered the words of a friend who once told me that I could sincerely talk to God just as I could to any other person.

Touched so deeply by God through His Word, I decided to kneel down on that wooden board in my cold, silent cell, and I lifted my hands towards God and prayed for the forgiveness of my sins that he gave me through Christ.

It was amazing! The cold silent cell became a haven of peace my heart had hitherto not known. The peace in the cell was not only experienced by me, but it was the same sensation that other inmates told me they experienced whenever they walked in. In those days I did not know Jesus in the same way I know Him now. But I am sure it was the Peace of Christ that reigned the day I decided to invite Him into my life.

Since that watershed day I have realized two things. First, Truth does matter. Truth liberates but deception enslaves. Jesus said in John 8:32 that “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” It is important to note that the truth spoken of here is absolute. Half truth will not suffice because half truth is not truth at all. There is no room for subjectivity.

Here is an example: Ten blind men give a description of an elephant. Each description becomes a truth perceived by each of them only in the various parts of the animal they feet. Each part of the elephant does not constitute the whole. If the blind men insisted on their perception that each part is the whole elephant, no one could stop them. But to concur with them would be sharing their ignorance of a limited view of the entire truth.

Second, the more I read about Sikhism, the more I have realized that the passion for Truth was also the driving force behind the Sikh's Gurus, namely in Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. He expressed his inner conviction when he said, "Truth is the highest virtue but higher still is truthful living.”  Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji's love and desire to seek for the Truth took him many places in his life time. His encounters with the prevailing religions like Hinduism and Islam highlighted the ignorance, fallacies, superstitions, and hypocrisy of his day. His heart longed for truth but he saw none. He came to the conclusion that in his era, “Truth has taken wings.”

Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji's approach was non-confrontational. True to the
sense of the word “guru” (“gu” being darkness, and “ru” light), he was a dispeller of the darkness that deceives, which often hid behind a religious veil. He believed enlightenment came when truth was embraced. Conviction can never be imposed on others. Force can only make subjects, not disciples. Thus a forced conversion does not equate true conviction.

The Bible tells us the same thing in Romans Chapter 10, Verses 9 and 10, “That if you confess with your mouth," Jesus is Lord, "and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." No amount of force can make one believe– only conviction can. The utterances of the mouth must align itself with the level of faith.

Declaring the truth meant everything to Guru Nanak. It also did to Christ: In the Gospel of John, Chapter 14, Verse 6, Jesus proclaimed, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" What Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji was looking for, Truth, was something I found in Christ.

This truth made me ponder death. Men in every level of society will have to face death. Death is no respecter of persons. It may come sooner or later. The most pertinent question is: where do we go once we are dead.  Man has many views; some say they would just vanish into thin air, others say life goes into a cycle of transmigration. But where is our assurance?

The Bible gives clear evidence of a place called HEAVEN. The Gospel of John, Chapter 14, Verse 1-2 tells us: "Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in ME. In my Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you."

Every man will have to make a choice. The choice he/she makes will determine their eternal destiny. I made my choice in that military cell to follow the truth. Where will you choose to spend your eternity?

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