Posts Tagged ‘Bo Sanchez


The Only Thing That Can Heal Your Emotional Wounds?


Have you been hurt before?

Have you ever been rejected by others? Ridiculed? Maligned? Gossiped about?

Have you been cheated? Betrayed? Lied to? Stolen from?

If your answer is yes, then I’m writing to the right person.

That means you have emotional wounds, and my big message for you is that there’s only one thing that can heal your wounds.

Let me start by talking about something of great cosmological and eternal significance: My bloody ingrown toenail.

Sometimes called hangnail.

Let me translate that in Pilipino: hangnail iskukong nagbigti.

Anyway, would you believe my ingrown toenail lasted for two years? Because the nail kept re-growing, puncturing my wound again and again. The wound got infected and my entire toe was filled with foul-smelling yellow pus. (I apologize for grossing you out. I’m actually doing it on purpose and having fun.)

This is my claim to sainthood. If St. Francis of Assisi had his stigmata, I had my two-year old bloody ingrown toenail.

After two years, my mother scared me to death and said if the wound doesn’t get well, they might have to cut off my toe.

I loved my toe.

So I visited a doctor. And he said he had to pull out half of my toenail. I fainted.

I still remember that fateful day. The anesthesia didn’t work because of the pus. So I felt like San Lorenzo Ruiz who was tortured in the same way. (Please mention this tiny detail in my sainthood application.)

Here’s how the Doc did it.

Step 1: He pushed his scissors in between my nail and my toe, all the way to the very end. The pain was so horrific, I was ready to recant anything he told me to recant. Even my love for peanut butter.

Step 2: He cut my entire toenail into two. “Snap!”

Step 3: He got his metal pliers and yanked out half of my toenail. Blood and pus spurt like a little fountain.

But it worked.

My wound was now free to heal itself. What lasted for two years took only a few days to heal.

Why am I telling you this gory story?

To tell you that your emotional wounds are just like physical wounds. Bitterness is like the ingrown—it keeps the original wound alive by puncturing it again and again. So your emotional wound doesn’t heal.

And your soul gets infected.

If you’re not careful, the emotional wound can grow until it amputates parts of you, slowly killing you.

I’ve met people like these.

I pity them so much. They’re like the living dead. They are alive but they’re dead.

Like Minette, for instance.

Pressing The Rewind Button Again

       Minette’s husband left her three years ago.

But when you talk to her, it was like it happened yesterday.

Adultery is one of the deepest wounds a human heart can have. After entrusting your entire life to one person, that one person betrays that trust.

But I believe even the emotional wound of adultery can be healed. I’ve met many wives whose husbands became unfaithful—and they were able to move on by the power of forgiveness.

But Minette couldn’t forgive.

Because everyday, she pressed the “Rewind” button of the most hurtful scenes.

Today, Minette has cancer. It doesn’t take a psychologist to connect the dots. Her bitterness was eating up her body as well.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

I should know.


I Forgive For Selfish Reasons

       I was sexually molested twice, not by strangers on the street, but by an older cousin and by my own youth group leader. William Blake said, “It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.” That’s so true.

Those traumatic events warped my thinking, opened my life to addictions, and gave me self-contempt that would affect my entire life. I hated myself. I was ashamed of myself. Oh yes, my wounds were deep.

Yet in my heart, I’ve forgiven them. Totally.

I’ve released the bitterness in my soul.


Because of a very selfish reason.

Remember: Forgiveness is first of all a gift you give yourself.

I forgave because I wanted peace.

I wanted to move on with my life.

I wanted to get rid of the emotional baggage.

I wanted to be free.

And today, I am!

Let me share with you one more personal experience…

When You Forgive,

You Bless Your Future

Many years ago, I started a tiny business with a friend. I was the investor and he was the guy who ran the show.

One day, I saw him with a new cell phone. A really cool, top-of-the-line thing that had everything you could think of—camera, video-cam, GPRS, missile guidance system, and an umbrella.

“Wow, that’s a great cell phone,” I said.

“This is a gift. Someone gave it to me,” he said.

The next time we meet, he brought a new laptop.

“That’s really nice,” I said.

“Oh, this is also a gift…,” he said.

A few months later, the business collapsed.

After looking at the records, I realized I was the one who gave them to him!

He was stealing from the business.

A year later, he came to me and asked for forgiveness. I forgave him even before he asked for forgiveness.

Here’s the reason why I forgave him.

Again, I did it for selfish reasons. I didn’t want to waste any of my time and energy trying to get the money back. Instead, I wanted to use all my time and energy to earn ten times what I lost. I used my frustration to create more wealth. I wanted to focus on the future, not the past. I wanted to focus on my dreams, not my wounds.

Imagine if you lost one peso. And you have two options: Spend one hour looking for that one peso or spend that same hour earning P100 somewhere else?

A bitter person will choose the first option. Crazy but true.

Today, let me report to you: I’ve earned many, many times what I lost from that tiny business.  This is the power of forgiveness. It heals your wound and blesses your future. That’s why I believe forgiveness is one of God’s greatest inventions!

Let me tell you how to forgive…

Stage One: Get Angry

Forgiveness is not a one-stage process.

It’s a two-stage process.

Here they are…

Stage One: Get angry.

Stage Two: Release the anger.

That’s it.

Don’t be shocked, but anger is the first stage of forgiveness.

You have to admit the hurt.

You have to acknowledge the pain.

You have to say, “What he did to me was wrong.”

Some people think forgiveness is pretending nothing bad happened. That’s not true. If you’re angry, feel the anger.

But you must express your anger in a non-hurtful way, without screaming or attacking. Bring your anger before God. Share your pain to a few trusted friends. Ask for prayer. Go ahead, cry. Offer your tears to God.

Anger heals because it’s about loving yourself—and love always heals. Anger means you’re standing up for you. As an abuse victim, I had to do this. Anger is needed to rebuild my broken personal boundaries.

How long should you stay in Stage One?

Not too long.

Because anger has an expiry date.

How Long Have You Been Angry?

Here’s the truth: Bitterness and anger is one and the same thing. But Bitterness is anger past its expiry date.

Let me illustrate.

I love spaghetti.

Served hot, it’s wonderful.

But left on the kitchen counter for a whole day, it may still be good but be careful.

After two days, you may get an upset stomach.

After one week, there’ll be more germs than spaghetti. At that point, the plate of spaghetti has become poison

Just like anger.

If anger stays too long in your heart, your anger no longer heals but kills. When anger turns into bitterness, it’s poison.

The Bible says, “the sun must not go down in your anger.”

I believe it. Except perhaps for severe wounds (like abuse, adultery, betrayal, etc.), I feel Stage One should not last for more than a day. I’m talking about the regular hurts we encounter everyday. Before nightfall, move onto Stage two.

But deeper wounds may need weeks or even months of anger and grief. For deeper wounds, I believe there’s no clear divide between Stage One and Two. There’ll be an overlap. But your movement must be towards Stage Two.

Because that’s where the real magic happens.

Stage Two: Release Anger

In Stage Two, you decide to forgive. Key word: Decide.

It’s not about feeling, but about willing. The feelings of anger can linger (that’s normal) but the decision has already been made in your heart.

Remember, Love is a decision, not just a feeling. If forgiveness is love, then forgiveness is a decision too.

But here’s a very important footnote:Forgiveness isn’t necessarily bringing back the relationship to where it was before. If you caught your boyfriend cheating on you, what should you do? Forgive him! But that doesn’t mean you have to get back with him again. That’s all up to you.

Let’s say you caught your boyfriend cheating on you twice. What should you do? Again, you have to forgive him. Now, do you get back into his arms? If you’re a psychotic with sadomasochistic tendencies, go ahead. Your desires will be granted.

Forgiveness is also not opening up yourself to more hurt. For example, if your alcoholic husband beat you up, you still need to forgive him; But do you back into the house? No way. You run away and never see him until he gets counselling and stops drinking for 6 months.

Forgiveness Heals The “Enemy”

The cousin who molested me has long been dead. So forgiving him in my heart was enough.

The youth group leader who sexually abused me is still alive. After 30 years, I have yet to face him. You see, I reported his name to a Bishop, asking that he be barred from doing any religious work until he gets help for his perversion. I had to protect other young boys who may be working with him. He has yet to come to me to ask for forgiveness. But even if he does not, I’ve forgiven him—and sent that “spiritually” to him.

The guy who stole money? As I said, he asked for forgiveness, and I was able to say to him, “I forgive you.”

When you forgive someone, you also offer healing to that person. Whether he accepts it or not is not your concern.

And by some magic, you don’t only heal yourself and the other person. You also heal all your loved ones.

Forgiveness Heals Everyone In Your Life

Imagine a room of ten people.

And one person there stepped on poop. (Sorry, my article is really gross today—about ingrowns and poop. But bitterness is gross.) Slowly, everyone in the room smells the awful stench. Only one person has the poop, but everyone is affected by it.

Bitterness is like that.

It wounds everyone. Your family. Your friends.

Bitterness is an evil spirit and people feel it. They smell the poison. They sense it. They want to run away.

Sometimes, when I enter a home filled with conflicts, I feel the collective wound of the family. You cannot breathe.

But when a person forgives, he’s like opening a window in a smelly room because one person stepped on poop. Fresh air comes in. If bitterness wounds everyone, forgiveness heals everyone too.

My last story is a story that I created, adapted from other sources. Be blessed as you read it.

The Son Who Hated His Father

       “Hi John,” the priest greeted his favorite nephew.

“Fr. Chris,” the young man said, his voice betraying his troubled soul.

The cleric felt so much pity for the teen. “I heard you’re having problems with your father.”

A frown formed on John’s face. “You know him. He’s your brother. You know he’s impossible to deal with. He’s so selfish. He’s so cruel…” He fought back his tears.

“Tell you what, son,” the priest tried to sound encouraging, “let’s pray for him.” He stood up and pinned the photo of the boy’s father on the wall.

“What’s that?” John asked. The sight of his father’s face stung him. He clenched his fists.

The priest said, “It’s just a way to help us pray for him. It’ll be our visual connection to your father.”

“But I don’t want to pray for him!” the young man shouted.

At that moment, the phone rang. “Excuse me, son,” Fr. Chris said, “let me answer this call and I’ll get back to you right away.” He left the room.

John found himself alone, staring at the photo of a man he despised with his entire being. Seething with rage, he saw a knife on the kitchen counter. On impulse, he grabbed it and ran back to the photo of his father. “I hate you!” he screamed, and stabbed the photo many, many times.

That was when Fr. Chris ran back. “Oh my God…,” The priest said, as he could only look in horror.

His energy spent, John thrust the knife into the photo one last time.

He took one step backward, panting.

“John, I had other photos there,” Fr. Chris said.

“What?” The young man looked at the priest.

Fr. Chris walked to the wall and removed the damaged photo.

John couldn’t believe his eyes.

Because underneath it was John’s photo. Also torn.

The priest explained. “After praying for your father, I wanted to pray for you, John.”

The young man looked at his damaged photo. His face was torn, punctured by the same stabbing he himself made.

Tears rolled down his cheeks.

But even as his vision blurred, John noticed that there was something else behind his torn photo.

He pulled it off the wall.

Underneath his photo was the picture of Jesus, His face, also torn, also wounded.

And John collapsed on his knees, and wept for a long time.

— 0 —

This is the ultimate reason why we forgive: Because even if we sin against God, He still forgives us. We don’t deserve His love, but He loves us anyway.

Heal yourself, my friend.

Forgive anyone who has wronged you.

May your dreams come true,

Bo Sanchez




Your Story Can Change The World

One evening, I was driving my family in a city with the most circuitous road network in the world.

And I was completely lost.

My passengers were scared. It was late at night, and some roads had no street lamps. One of my passengers was my aging aunt, and she was a pessimistic person. She said, “Isn’t this the place were they salvage people and throw the dead bodies in the cogon grass?”

But everytime I asked for directions, people were very helpful. I think so many people have gotten lost in their streets already, some have made it a hobby to guide the lost.

The first person I asked said, “Keep going straight, and when you see a carabao on your right, turn left, and then…”

I interrupted, “Excuse me, but what if the carabao walks to another spot?”

“The carabao can’t walk. It’s a statue,” she said.

“Oh, I see.” (Malay ko ba?)

She went on, “Keep going straight, until you reach a Sari-Sari store selling Siopao, that’s when you turn left again…”

True enough, I found the carabao.

But the problem was finding the Sari-Saristore. Because there was a Sari-Sari store in every street corner. So I had to stop in every single one of them, asking if they sold Siopao.

But the second person I asked for directions was very different.

I stopped beside a guy sitting on an owner jeep. I opened my window, greeted him, and told him where I wanted to go.

He shook his head, “That’s a very difficult place. A lot of people get lost going there…”


He then did the unthinkable. He switched on the engine of his jeep and said, “Follow me. I’ll take you there.”

So there I was, following him through so many twists and turns, I stopped counting when I took the 26th turn. My aunt said, “That guy will kidnap us! And then he’ll kill us, steal our car, and throw our bodies in the cogon grass.”

But fifteen minutes later, he stopped the jeep and pointed to a house. It was exactly where I wanted to go. He then waved at us and sped off.

“You see, Auntie?” I told my passenger at the back, “Your kidnapper turned out to be an Angel. He didn’t kidnap us, kill us, and throw our bodies in the cogon grass.”

She said, “Hmph. Perhaps it’s his day off.”

That little incident made me realized there are two types of guides. The first one is a pointer. The second one is a bringer.

Many People Need A Guide

Friend, many people around you are lost.

They’re seeking for happiness but they don’t know how to go there. They’ve got huge problems but they don’t know how to solve them. And they want to grow closer to God but they don’t know what to do.

God calls you to be their guide. But you can do it in two ways. You can be a pointer or you can be a bringer.

Sometimes, because of limited time, you can only point. There are people you can’t communicate often.

But for the people who you see regularly, don’t just become a pointer. Be a bringer. Walk with them. Build a relationship with them. Share your life to them. And guide them towards God.

God is asking you today: Will you be their guide?

We Love Stories

Your story can change the world.

How can you bring a friend closer to God?

Answer: By your life story.

I believe your life story can change the world.

Stories are very powerful.

How powerful?

Around 2500 years ago, Plato said, “Those who tell stories rule society.”


Because we love stories so much, our hearts open up to the storyteller.

To this day, I read bedtime stories to my kids at night. Almost every night, my 5-year old Francis tells me, “Daddy, read me 3 books tonight!” Little kids love stories. And we never outgrow that love for stories.

You want proof? We paid $4.5 Billion to James Cameron so we could watch Avatar and Titanic—the two top grossing movies in the history of the world. But what are movies? They’re stories set in sights and sounds.

The best songs in the world are stories set in music.

The bestselling book (second to the bible) isChicken Soup for the Soul. They’ve sold 112 million copies. But what is Chicken Soup for the Soul? A collection of stories.

I reflect on my preaching ministry. The best talks I’ve given in the past 31 years were powerful stories too.

Even Jesus preached by telling stories about a hidden treasure, a great pearl, a mustard seed, a good Samaritan, and a prodigal son.

Why do stories have power over us?


3 Reasons Why Stories Are Powerful

1. Stories mesmerize. They grab our attention. When you hear a good story, all of a sudden, you’re ushered into a different world. You enter a different universe. Why does this happen? Because stories don’t just teach the mind but touch the emotions.

2. Stories materialize. A message can be a nice theory floating in the air with no legs on the ground. But a story will make you see, hear, touch, taste, and smell your message.

3. Stories magnetize. A personal, touching story will bring the hearts of both the storyteller and the story-listener together like no other thing in the world! They say the shortest path between two hearts is a story.

I repeat: Your story can change the world.

Do you have a friend or loved one you’d like to bring closer to God? Here are three steps to take…


3 Steps In Guiding People Closer To God

Step #1: Know Their Story

Step #2: Share Your Story

Step #3: Merge Your Stories


Step #1: Know Their Story

When you’re trying to guide someone closer to God, you have to hear their story before you share your story.

Why? Because you need to know the person’s felt need.

Perhaps he needs healing. Or perhaps a family problem is the thorn in her flesh. Or perhaps she’s broken hearted. Or perhaps he’s angry with God for taking away his baby.

I remember sitting beside a man on the plane. After introducing ourselves to each other, I asked him, “How is life treating you?”

Instantly, tears welled up in his eyes and he told me that a fire burned down his house. In the fire, he lost his wife and two daughters. I didn’t say much. Because I didn’t know what to say. But I told him, “Can I pray for you?” I put my hand over his shoulder and asked God to comfort and strengthen him. It was a Divine appointment. God wanted me to meet that man.

But what if I didn’t listen first? What if I told him, “Let me tell you my story. When I was a child, my parents and I—including my 5 sisters—were always together. We were one close family. We always did everything together…” Wouldn’t that be rubbing salt on his wound?

It’s always important to know their story.


Step #2: Share Your Story

Share what God has done in your life.

It could be a before-and-after story.

Or it could be an event where you saw the hand of God in your life.

My important suggestion: Expose your weaknesses.

Don’t give the false impression that because of God in your life, your entire life is all sweet and perfect. Share your current struggles. Share your warts.

Everytime I do this, not only do I feel better, I feel that people actually appreciate my authenticity. They believe me more.


Step #3: Merge Your Stories

After sharing your story, invite him to journey together.

Invite him to regular coffee time with you, so you can continue to build the friendship.

You can also invite him to your prayer gathering like the Feast.

Or a small group or caring group.

Or a spiritual retreat or a Kergma conference.

You can give him an inspirational book. Or forward him an article that will help him grow closer to God.

Let me end with the true story of Ryan. This is a perfect example of how life stories are powerful and can bring many people closer to God.

I’m Ryan and I’m 29 years old.I was such a mess a long time ago. I didn’t take school seriously, I lived a very promiscuous lifestyle, I abused substances, had a hateful relationship with my father who at that time was battling depression. I didn’t go to Mass. And when I prayed, I prayed hate prayers to Christ, questioning what it was he was doing to make life better for me.And then my dad died. Life was much more complicated, I continued to live a life of Godlessness, my relationships were poisonous, and at one point, I entertained thoughts of ending my own life, to end my so-called misery.

And then a friend invited me to a small youth prayer meeting. I was at that moment when I completely turned my life around. I got to know Jesus more, and how He was working double time to soften my hardened heart and receive his blessings.

11 years after today, I am a completely changed man. I wake up each day picking up a bible and reading God’s word, I hear Mass every Sunday, I have a loving relationship with my family and my girlfriend. I have a job that doesn’t feel like a job because I’m in love with it, and this coming June, I will send my first of many scholars to school – a dream I’ve had in my heart ever since.

I am work in progress. But I believe I’m blessed now with a better life because a Jesus invited me in His love, and I let Him enter my heart, my life.

I’m blessed with a better life now because a friend invited me to a small youth prayer meeting, where I was reintroduced to Jesus, my best friend.

What’s your story?

What’s your experience of God?

Use it to share God to others.


May your dreams come true,


Bo Sanchez




Are You Known By Your Kindness?


Do you want to be truly happy?

Be kind.

Let me tell you a story.

One day, a plane hit a storm and was about to crash. The problem was there were 4 passengers and only 3 parachutes.

The first man took one parachute and said, “I’m a brain surgeon and my patients need me.” And he jumped off the plane.

The second man took the second parachute and said, “I’m a rocket scientist, one of the smartest men in the entire planet, and the world needs me. And he jumped off the plane.

The third man was Pope Benedict. He took the last remaining parachute and gave it to the fourth person who was a young boy. The Pope said, “Son, I’m an old man. I’ve served God enough. Go ahead and take this last parachute.”

The young boy smiled, “Your Holiness, it’s okay. There are still two parachutes left. The rocket scientist, the smartest man on the entire planet, jumped out with my backpack.”


The Pope won because he was kind.

The Rocket Scientist lost because he was not kind.

Kind people, at the end of the day, will always win.

Let me tell you another story, this time from the Bible.

I’m sure you know the tale of the Good Samaritan. But I urge you to read it again with fresh eyes. And expect God to speak to you in a new and powerful way….

Jesus answered, “There was once a man who was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when robbers attacked him, stripped him, and beat him up, leaving him half dead. It so happened that a priest was going down that road; but when he saw the man, he walked on by, on the other side. In the same way a Levite also came along, went over and looked at the man, and then walked on by, on the other side. But a Samaritan who was travelling that way came upon the man, and when he saw him, his heart was filled with pity. He went over to him, poured oil and wine on his wounds and bandaged them; then he put the man on his own animal and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Take care of him,’ he told the innkeeper, ‘and when I come back this way, I will pay you whatever else you spend on him.’ ” (Luke 10:30-35)


Three Ways To Show Kindness

As a kid, you heard this story before.

It was a nice, sweet story.

But let me tell you how controversial this is.

In the story, God gave three men a major exam.

The exam wasn’t written or oral, it was “actual”. The exam came in the form of a half-dead man, lying in the pool of his blood, in the middle of the dusty road. (You wish God gave normal exams. “Just recite the Apostles Creed, agree to every doctrine, and bingo, you’re cool.” No such thing.)

Here’s the controversy: The two guys who should have been exempted because of their sterling credentials, whom everyone expected to be board top-notchers, failed big time. But the third guy, the class nincompoop, someone no one expected to pass, didn’t only pass; He passed with flying colors. He was summa cum laude.

Here’s my message for today: If you want to bring someone closer to God, you need to be kind to them. Because the kingdom will be known by your kindness.

Here are three ways of showing kindness:

1. Be Accepting

2. Be Available

3. Be Affectionate


That’s what I’ll share with you today.

1. Be Accepting

Why did the Priest and Levite not help?

Because they weren’t accepting.

A lot of people don’t know this little fact.  The Priest and the Levite didn’t help because they were afraid of being ritually unclean.

During their time, religious people lived in a world divided as Clean and the Unclean. Things are clean and unclean. Actions are clean and unclean. People are clean and unclean.

And according to their Law, anyone who touches a dead body will be “defiled” for seven days. And during this time, both the Priest and the Levite wouldn’t be able to perform their religious duties.

But the Samaritan didn’t think in this way. Because according to this world of clean and unclean, a Samaritan was already unclean. (Samaritans were half-breed Jews who were looked down upon.)  According to them, he was, by birth, already ceremonially defiled.

In other words, it was the “unclean” man who helped another unclean man.

Here’s my point.

After 32 years of ministry, I’ve realized that the best people who represent God in this world aren’t the most intelligent, the most eloquent, or the most gifted. The best representatives of God are the kindest and most humble people.

Those who know they’re not perfect.

Those who deeply respect people, no matter what they have done in the past.

Those who don’t have an air of spiritual superiority and religious arrogance.


But Alas, Christians Today

Are Seen As Arrogant People

Let me share with you some sad news.

A huge survey was done among young people ages 16 to 29 in America. They were asked what they thought of Christianity.

Here are the results: 87% of them said that Christianity was judgmental. And 85% said Christianity was hypocritical. And one out of four non-Christians said that modern day Christians were no longer like Jesus.

Mahatma Gandhi said the same thing many years ago. He said, “I like your Christ but I dislike your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.”

Why? Rick Warren explained it this way: “Christians are more known for what we are against than what we are for.”

In other words, we love to tell people what’s wrong with them. We do that to our kids. We do that to our spouses. And we do that to our unchurched friends.

If you’re a religious person, everyone instantly knows what you’re against. You’re against abortion and homosexuality and premarital sex and pornography and gambling and drunkenness…

That’s okay. But here’s my big question: Are you known for your kindness?

I give talks on parenting. I tell parents that correcting their kids without building a strong relationship with them will never work. It’s useless. If this is true of parenting, how much more with our unchurched friends?

If you want to bring people closer to God, you need to meet them at their level, speak their language, meet their concerns, and address their needs.


Is Your God Cruel?

When tragedies strike our planet, two types of religious people surface.

The first type is the religious person who rushes in and serves. The second type is the religious person who rushes in and shames.

The first one gives, helps, and cares.

The second one condemns, criticizes, and judges.

When Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991, devastating Zambales and Pampanga, I heard some religious people say, “God is punishing the areas of Olongapo and Angeles, both American camps, because of the many prostitutes in those areas.”

When a tsunami hit Phuket beach, Thailand, on December 26, 2004, I heard some religious people say, “That’s what those vacationers deserve for cavorting and partying on Christmas Day, instead of praying and attending church!”

And when the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on March 11, 2011, I heard some religious people say, “That disaster happened because Japan is a godless nation. Because 90% of Japanese are atheists…”

So sad.

And so cruel.

Religious people who worship a cruel god become cruel too.

We always become like the god that we worship.

My next example is even more tragic.


A Very Sad Story

One day, a man was writing to his parents a very difficult letter.

It was a very difficult letter because he had not been in touch with them for twelve long years.

The last time they talked was the day he told them that he was choosing the homosexual life. His parents told him that he was committing sin and that he was going to Hell. They asked him to pack his bags and never come back.

That day, he left home and lived life on his own terms.

Twelve years later, he was writing a letter of reconciliation to them. He was telling them that he had AIDS.   He said that his days were numbered. He asked if they could see each other one last time before he died.

One week later, the man received mail from his parents.

Excited, he opened the envelope.

And out fell small pieces of torn paper.

It was his birth certificate.

Plus a short note from Mom and Dad.

It read, “We do not know you. We do not have a son who is an abomination to God. From that day you walked out of God’s will, we no longer have a son.”

The young man wept.

A few days later, he died.

Here’s the irony of this story.

Do you know who helped him during his dying days?

His neighbors. His officemates. His old friends.

People who weren’t Christians.

Where were the religious people? Busy condemning. Busy protecting themselves from defilement.

So different from the next story I’ll share with you.


An Example Of Great Kindness

Celia (not her real name) got pregnant out of wedlock. And her boyfriend abandoned her.

At that time, Celia was a lost soul. She was far from God. She actually didn’t care if He existed or not. But something in her drove her to search for Him.

She learned that there was this small prayer group near her house. But she wondered if they would accept her.

In the entrance, a friendly woman welcomed her and said, “Welcome! Where’s your husband?”

Celia groaned. She braced herself for the rejection. She said, “I don’t have a husband.”

But the rejection didn’t come.  The woman hugged her and said, “We welcome you and your baby!”

She led her to the prayer meeting.

The first thing Celia noticed was that they were old women! “Oh no, what have I gotten myself into?” she thought to herself.

She told the leader, “I don’t believe in God.” And she answered, “It’s okay. We love you!”

For some reason, she kept attending that prayer meeting. It was their kindness that drew her back.

And during those prayer meetings, there was this old woman who would call Celia to sit by her side. When she did, the grandmother would press a small plastic bag of coins to her hand. “I saved this for your baby,” she’d whisper.

Celia was moved. This woman was poor. Yet she would save money for her.

A few weeks later, they threw a baby shower for her.

When Celia finally gave birth, it was a big celebration. And her baby was the prayer group’s baby. In each prayer meeting, the old woman would take turns carrying the baby.

Many years later, Celia became a preacher.

How did an agnostic, a lost soul, become a preacher?

It all started in a small prayer group of old women who showed her the kindness of God.


Why The Feast Accepts Everyone

Each week, I preach at the Feast, the main gathering of the Light of Jesus Family.

And in the Feast, we accept the sinners. Prostitutes. Adulterers. Addicts. Anyone!

Why? Because I was an addict for many years. I couldn’t control my urges. Yes, I was a great sinner (I still am). But God was kind to me. He accepted me. He forgave me. He loved me.

So how can I not accept others with the same kindness too?

The Feast is not for holy people. It’s for sinners.

The Feast is not for insiders. It’s for outsiders.

The Feast is not a museum of perfect people. The Feast is a hospital for the sick and the weak.

Because God is our healer!


When You’re Aware Of Your Weaknesses,

You’ll Be More Accepting

One day, a man had some puppies to sell. He even put a large sign in front of his house, “Puppies For Sale—P5000 only.”

One morning, as the man got out to pick up the newspaper, he saw a little boy looking at the sign.

He asked, “What do you want?”

“I want to buy a puppy,” he said. He then pulled out his little hand from his pocket and opened his palm.

On it were a few coins.

The man said, “I don’t think you have enough money.”

The little boy said, “Will this be enough just to take a look at the puppies?”

The man said, “Sure.”

He whistled and called out, “Here Dolly!” And out came Dolly from the doghouse. And following Dolly were the pups, like 4 balls of fur, running after their mother.

The little boy pressed his face on the fence, his eyes bulging, filled with joy.

And that was when he noticed something still moving in the doghouse.

A little puppy came out, much smaller, much slower.

It limped its way to its mother.

“I want that one,” said the little boy.

The man knelt down in front of the boy and said, “Son, you don’t want that dog. He was born with a short leg. He won’t be able to run with you or play with you.”

The little took one step backward, bent down, and rolled up the leg of his blue jeans.

The man was surprised to see a steel brace on the little boy’s leg. It started above his knee all the way down and attached to a specially made shoe.

“I don’t run too well, sir,” the boy said, “and the dog needs someone who can understand him.”


What’s Your Limp?

I’ve got news for you: All of us are like that little puppy. Because all of us have a limp. We just have different kinds of limps.

What’s your limp? Accept it.

Unless you do, you won’t be able to accept the limp of others. You’ll always be judging, condemning, looking down, being irritated by the weaknesses of others.

Let me briefly look at two other qualities of kindness.



2. Be Available

The Samaritan had lots of things to do.

In fact, Jesus deliberately included that snippet—where the Samaritan had to go somewhere and so delegated the wounded man to the innkeeper.

To tell us that the guy was busy.

But despite this, he went out of his way. He welcomed this interruption. Why?

To show kindness.

God is calling you to go out of our way, break your itinerary, welcome this interruption, and show kindness to those who are along your path.


You need to get out of your religious ghetto. Start building relationships with people who aren’t religious.


Build Relationships Outside Your Church

St. Augustine said Christians are like fertilizer.


If you spread it out in a vast track of land, it’s wonderful. It will nourish the crops. But if you keep it in a barn, all bunched up together, it will smell really bad, or worse, explode. Because fertilizer is very combustible.

That’s what happens to Christian groups who never welcome non-members. They become a smelly group. And they start fighting each other. They begin to nitpick, holding microscopes in their hands, analyzing each other’s little mistakes and magnifying them.

Welcome outsiders in your friendships.

And one more thing…



3. Be Affectionate

Jesus said, But a Samaritan who was travelling that way came upon the man, and when he saw him, his heart was filled with pity.

Do you have compassion for those suffering around you?

If you do, that is a great and special gift from God.

There are people whose hearts are calloused.

Today, as you walk in the world, there are many wounded people around you. I want you to open your eyes and see their wounds and feel their pain.

One day, a woman told me, “But Bo, I don’t want to! I have enough problems of my own. I don’t want to take the problems of others!”

Ah, but do you remember what Jesus said about the Samaritan? He went over to him, poured oil and wine on his wounds and bandaged them.

Tell me. Do you think this Samaritan was bringing a First Aid kit in his knapsack?

I don’t think so. Here’s what happened.  He tore his own clothes to bandage the man.

Here’s what I’ve realized: Kindness is costly!

Kindness is painful.

When you’re kind to others, you’ll lose something. You’ll lose time. You’ll lose money. You’ll lose your agenda. You’ll lose your convenience. You’ll lose your comfort. Yes, you’ll be tearing off your nice clothes to bandage someone’s wounds.

Are you ready to be kind?

And this is your great reward: The Kingdom will be known by your kindness. God will be known by your goodness. And the Lord will be known by your love.


Amazing God

Let me end with one last story.

A modern version of the Good Samaritan story.

One day, a man was travelling on a road.

And it was getting dark.

Suddenly, not seeing that there was a pit, he fell. It was such a deep pit that he couldn’t get out. He began to cry for help.

A priest passed by and saw the man in the pit. He shouted to him, “If you get out of the pit, I’ll teach you how not to fall into it again.” And he walked away.

After awhile, a preacher passed by and saw the man in the pit. And he shouted at him, “If you listened to me, you would not have fallen into that pit.” And he walked away.

After awhile, a pastor passed by and saw the man in the pit. And he said, “If you can reach for my hand, I’ll pull you out of that pit.” He bent over and reached out, but the man in the pit could not reach his hand.” And he too walked away.

And then Jesus walked by. Without a word, he jumped into the pit, and pushed the man out.

That is what Jesus did on the cross.

He took our place.


Serve Them

In the story of the Good Samaritan, the wounded man didn’t need someone to preach to him about God, or someone to debate with him about the right doctrine, or someone to teach him what’s morally right or wrong.

Instead, he needed someone to clean his wounds (yuk!), carry him to an inn (woe!), and pay for his food and accommodations (Oh no!).

He didn’t need a priest or a preacher.

He needed a kind person.

He needed a servant.

And that’s what the wounded world is looking for.

The Bible says, You are the people of God; he loved you and chose you for his own. So then, you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. (Colossians 3:12)

Are you known for your compassion?





I believe that’ll be how the wounded world will come to know the real Jesus.


May your dreams come true,


Bo Sanchez





Be Spiritually Contagious

Do you want to bring your loved ones closer to God?

A lot of people ask me, “Bo, please pray that my son (or daughter, or husband, or uncle, or friend, or classmate, or officemate) find God.”

What’s the best way to bring your family and friends to God?

What’s the best way to be spiritually contagious?

I propose three simple but powerful steps, which I’ll share with you for the next three weeks.

Step 1: Friend Them

Step 2: Serve Them

Step 3: Guide Them

At the end of this revolutionary series, I pray that you’ll be very spiritually contagious!


God Still Uses Imperfect People

To Share His Perfect Love

Read what Jesus said…

Matthew 28:19-20

Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age.

I have a very big announcement to make.

Your mission in life isn’t to earn money.

Your mission isn’t to enjoy life.

Your mission isn’t to have a good time.

Your mission isn’t even to be happy.

All those goals aren’t bad. They’re good goals. (Yes, like any father, God wants His children to be happy.)

But they’re not the sacred purpose of why you were born.

Your mission, my friend, is to make disciples.

I can hear you now. “Bo, you’re crazy! I’m not a priest. I’m not a nun. I’m not a preacher like you. I’m an ordinary Catholic.”

Ah, there lies your mistake.

There’s no such thing as an ordinary Catholic.

Every Catholic has a mission, and that mission is to make disciples. Your mission is to bring others closer to God.


Jesus is your model.

Jesus made disciples in a very special way…



Step 1: Friend Them

Here’s my big message for you today: The most powerful way of bringing someone closer to God is through friendship.

Look at how Jesus did it…

Mark 2:15-17

Later on Jesus was having a meal in Levi’s house. A large number of tax collectors and other outcasts were following Jesus, and many of them joined him and his disciples at the table. Some teachers of the Law, who were Pharisees, saw that Jesus was eating with these outcasts and tax collectors, so they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such people?” Jesus heard them and answered, “People who are well do not need a doctor, but only those who are sick. I have not come to call respectable people, but outcasts.”

Are You A Friend Of  Sinners?

I remember Anna telling me this story.

Anna said that the moment she joined Light of Jesus (my community), she stopped having lunch with her regular lunch-mates, because they weren’t spiritually renewed. She ate instead with another officemate who was a member of Couples for Christ.

Anna said she lost interest in her usual lunch-mates because their discussion was worldly. But with her new spiritual friend, they only talked about God. They spoke the same language. They quoted the same verses. They shared the same stories.

But after one year, she felt like God hit her on the head. She heard God tell her, “Go back to your former friends. Love them.”

Anna realized she made a mistake. So she went with her former lunch-mates again. And they told her, “We felt hurt that you suddenly left us. That we were not holy enough for you.” She asked for forgiveness. And they welcomed her back.

Today, Anna is able to bring God’s Love to her friends. And some of them are now attending the Feast, our weekly gathering.


Annoyance or Acceptance?

Let me tell you a sad fact: According to surveys, the longer a person attends church, the more he isolates himself from the unchurched.

Christians like Anna stop attending civic organization. She stops hanging out with her officemates. She stops joining the homeowners meetings. She stops attending PTA meetings.

Instead, she meets only people from her church.

Because she gets annoyed at non-Christian behavior.


o   “I don’t like their green jokes.”

o   “I can’t stand their cursing.”

o   “They believe in New Age stuff.”

o   “My old friends smoke. I can’t stand secondhand smoke.” (Daniel and his three friends were thrown in a burning furnace because of their faith, and we’re afraid of secondhand smoke?)

Suddenly, the proof of spiritual growth is “annoyance”. How annoyed are you at non-Christian behavior? The more annoyed you are, the more spiritual you must be.

But this is nuts.

Jesus ate with prostitutes, tax-collectors, and drunkards. You can be sure there was a lot more than cursing and green jokes when they gathered. But Jesus made them his friends. That’s why religious people called him a “friend of sinners” (Luke 7:34).

He ate in the house of Zacheus, the chief tax collector.

He allowed a prostitute to wash and anoint his feet.

The proof that you’re spiritually growing isn’tannoyance but acceptance. Here’s the real proof that you’re spiritually growing: If you accept sinners.  If you’re non-judgmental to sinners.   If you’re friends of sinners.

Just like Jesus.


My Wonderful Friends Today

Today, I enjoy friends who are unchurched.

Today, I regularly meet with people who would never enter a Church. I have a woman friend who’s never been to Sunday Mass for decades. Two of my friends are lesbians. One friend is in an adulterous relationship. And then there’s a New Ager who’s into the occult.

I love them. And I enjoy being with them.

I don’t condemn them. Because I know that Jesus doesn’t condemn them.

Guess what: Slowly, because of our friendship, they’re coming closer to God.

Oh, it’s exciting to see that happen!

Warning: Obviously, there are situations when you need to be careful. It may not be wise for a recovering alcoholic to spend time with his drinking buddies whilethey’re drinking. Or a recovering sex addict spending time with prostitutes. Be prudent.


What’s Your Greatest Evangelistic Weapon?

John 13:34-35

And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.

How will people know that you’re a disciple?

Not by how long you pray.

Not by how many Bible verses you know.

Not by how many scapulars hang around your neck.

Not by how many rosaries hang in your rear-view mirror.

People will know you’re a disciple if you love like Jesus.

And surprise, surprise! This same love will be your most important tool in winning someone to Jesus. I repeat: Your greatest way of bringing someone closer to God is your friendship.


Eleven Years Later

When I was in college, I had a friend who I met for lunch almost everyday for two years. Let’s call him Bill.

During those lunches, I remember trying to share my faith with him.

But no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t seem to convince Bill to follow Jesus. He said he had a lot of doubts. He had many other problems and he wasn’t ready to commit. But even if we didn’t agree about spiritual things, we enjoyed our friendship a lot.

We couldn’t talk about spiritual things (because we disagreed about them), but we talked about everything else: sports, girls, cars, girls, music, and… did I mention girls? (After all, we were college guys!)

I dropped out of college and we lost touch.

And I never heard of Bill again.

Eleven years later, I was walking in a mall and guess who I saw—Bill! I asked him how he was, and he gave me the shock of his life. He said he was a Christian missionary!

I couldn’t believe my ears.

He then said five words that made my heart leap for joy. “Thanks for showing me Jesus.”

For those 2 years that I was having lunch with the guy, it seemed like nothing was happening.

But it was true.

What showed him Jesus?

Our friendship.


Who Introduced Me To God?

When I was 12 years old, my father told me, “Bo, let’s go to the prayer meeting.”

I walked in, liked it, and never left. As a 12-year-old kid, I fell in love with God, and my life has never been the same.

People ask me, “One invitation from your parents and you said Yes?”

Actually, I didn’t get one invitation. All throughout my life, Dad was already inviting me—in a very silent way—to experience God’s Love.

How? By the power of relationship.

When I was a small boy, I remember that Dad treated me special. Everytime he came home from work, he’d look for me.

Dad would invite me to jog with him.

He wasn’t a great jogger. We jogged around the car parked in our garage.

After the jog, he’d sit down and make me sit on his lap. He’ll read to me 4 comic strips in the paper:Tarzan, Blondie, Beetle Bailey, and Peanuts.

That happened every single night.

I remember how during the day, I’d look forward to evenings.   Evenings were special to me. Because Dad came home and spent that precious one hour with me.

That wasn’t all.

Every Saturday, my father would invite me out for a date. He’d bring me out for pizza. Or watch a movie. Or go to a toy store.

By relating to me in a loving way, Dad gave me a glimpse of who God is. If my father thought I was special, then perhaps my Father in Heaven thought I was special too. If my father liked spending time with me, then perhaps my Father in Heaven liked spending time with me too.

Note: Dad didn’t talk much about God. He wasn’t much of a talker. His favorite word was “Hmmph.” I’d greet him, “Hi Dad!” and he’s grunt, “Hmmph.”

But by the loving relationship he had with me, I was slowly being “discipled”.


Be Another Jesus In The World

You can bring your family and friends closer to God.

How do I know?     Because God gave you a mission: To make disciples.

You don’t have to be a preacher, a writer, a singer.

All you need to do is be a loving friend. By your friendship, they will experience God’s Love.


May your dreams come true,


Bo Sanchez




Are You A Real Man?

The crisis of the world today is a crisis for real manhood.

My eldest boy Bene is turning 7 this month and he’s thrilled. One reason: I’m making him a special manhood “Ritual of Passage” for his 7th birthday. I told him it’s the first of a three-part series: The first at age 7, the second at age 14, and the third at age 21. I copied this pattern from the knighthood culture, where a boy becomes a “Page” at age 7, a “Squire” at age 14, and a “Knight” at age 21—and since my son loved reading about knights, he’s giddy with excitement. I’ve learned that ancient and medieval cultures always had great manhood “Rituals of Passage”. The Jews have the Bar Mitzvah. Australian Aboriginal Tribes had circumcision. African Tribes sent their boys into the wilderness—alone.

But prior to these ceremonies, Dads usually passed on their craft to their son. That meant countless hours teaching their boys how to hunt boar, or saw wood, or shape iron, or throw a spear. Fathers also taught their sons how to endure difficulty and pain so they could fight for what they loved.

But once they got initiated in these rituals, the boys knew without a doubt that they were no longer boys, but men. They took the leap—from irresponsibility to responsibility, from being carefree to being disciplined, from ignorance to wisdom, from being a follower to being a leader.

Today, we no longer have these “Rituals of Passage”. Why? Because we don’t know what a real man is anymore.

Some guys think they can prove their manhood by getting drunk or picking a fight.

Manhood, my foot. Drunks are Sissies with a capital S. And hot-headed bullies are really disguised kids still throwing temper tantrums.

Real men have so much respect for themselves, they prize their self-control.

Because we don’t know what real manhood is, many boys, for most of their teen-age life, lose their way. For many years, they get stuck in limbo. They don’t know who they are or where they should go.

As Christian Dads, we need to teach what real manhood is to our sons and also recreate “Rituals of Passage” for them today.

For example, before my son’s “Page” ceremony on his 7th birthday, I’ll have 3 weekly father-and-son sessions with him. I’ll bring him out to his favorite restaurant (Thank God it’s inexpensive Jollibee), and while he eats his burger steak with mushroom sauce, I’ll discuss with him the 3 virtues necessary for a Page: Responsibility, Obedience, and Service—one virtue per weekly date. I’ll read stories, answer his questions, and give examples.

And here’s the hard part: I’ll give him specific projects to do connected to these virtues. It could mean doing things he never did before—like walking to Lolo’s house on his own to visit and serve him.

And on his birthday itself, we’ll have his “Page” ceremony. All the men in the family (his Lolo, Uncles, etc.) will gather around him. We’ll ask Bene to offer a symbol of his being a “Page for the Lord”—which would be a pair of brown sandals. We then bless him, sing a song, and invite the women of the family to join us for a festive meal together.

I’m going to be very blunt here.

Do you know why the world is in crisis today?

I’ll tell you why: Because men don’t know how to become real men.

Because fathers don’t train their sons how to live life.

Because fathers don’t raise their sons in the ways of the Lord.

Because fathers don’t mentor their sons to take responsibility.

Because fathers don’t teach their sons how to relate to women.

Because fathers don’t love and protect their wives.

Because fathers don’t lead their families towards a vision.

They’re cowards. They’re macho on the outside but flakes on the inside. They’re irresponsible. They’re passive. They’re parasitic jello.

Fathers don’t really “father” their kids on a daily basis. They leave childrearing to the mothers. They have no vision for their families.

Make no mistake about it. Families are in crisis today because we lack godly husbands and godly fathers.

The crisis of the world today is a crisis for manhood.

Let me give you this set of facts you may not know:

· Men commit 90% of major crimes.

· Men commit 100% of all rapes.

· Men commit 95% of all thefts.

· Men commit 91% of all offences against the family.

· Men commit 94% of all drunk drivers.

In one study, they asked fathers how much time they spent with their kids.

They were very honest and apologized that because of their busy schedule, they could only spend 15 minutes a day with their kids. After the interview, these same fathers were equipped with audio recorders—and for the next few days—the behavioural scientists measured the actual time they spent with their children. Average time a father spends with kids? 45 seconds a day.

No joke.

By the way, raising your children isn’t just about spending time with them. A father could be spending time with his children watching TV. Hearts don’t engage when you sit passively in front of the idiot box.

Here are the three things fathers need to do with their kids.

First, you bond with them.
Play with them. Laugh with them. Do things they enjoy doing. Because my sons are small, I play their games, no matter how silly they seem to me. “Waste” your time with them, doing what you may consider totally unproductive. In reality, playing with your kids is the most productive thing you can ever do as a human being.

Second, you teach values.
Yes guys, you actually open your lips. Not classroom lectures, mind you. But you tell stories. Exciting, inspiring stories. Don’t leave this to Mom. Men, pick good books and read stories to your sons. Stories of courage. Stories of service. Stories of heroism. Stories about God.

Third, you pray together.
That’s right, Dads. Don’t let Mom be the priestess at home. You’re the priest of the family, so act like one. On Judgment Day, God won’t first ask the mother, “Did you bring your family closer to Me?” He’ll ask this important question to Dad first. Fathers, let your children watch you pray and see your heart for the Lord.

How can you do all these three assignments if you don’t spend at least a weekly date with each of your kids?

Fatherhood isn’t for wimps. It’s requires men of steel. It requires rocklike warriors totally committed to winning the battle for the hearts of their children.

Will you be a real man?



What Kind Of Daddy Do You Have?

A college student in Manila called up his Mom in the province.

“Mom, I need money,” he asked. “Can you send money over please?”

“Sure,” the mother said. “By the way, there’s a Math textbook you left here at home. I’ll send it over with the money.”

“Uh, oh yeah, Ok,” her son answered.

His mother sent the money and the book.

Later that day, the father asked his wife, “How much money did you send?”

She said, “I sent two checks. One was a P1000 check and the other was a P100,000 check.”

“What?” cried the father in shock. “That’s huge!”

His wife smiled. “That’s okay Honey. I taped the P1000 check on the cover of his Math textbook. I then inserted the P100,000 check somewhere in chapter 25 of his Math textbook. Believe me, he won’t find it.”

Your relationship with God is like a Math textbook. Because I believe the biggest blessings of God for your life are in “chapter 25”—when you go beyond the surface and go deeper in this relationship with God.

My goal today is to bring you to chapter 25 in your relationship with God.

Let me tell you how.

I want to start a new series today I’ll playfully call,OMG! If you don’t know what that means, LOL. (For those my age who didn’t grow up with chat and IM and facebook: OMG! means Oh my God and LOL meansLaugh out loud.)

For the next five weeks, I want to help you get to know God more—which will deepen your trust in Him. And the more you trust Him, the more you’ll be open to His blessings for your life.

I’ve met a lot of people who don’t trust God because they don’t know Him. They’re confused with misrepresentations of who God is.

Here’s what I learned: Your problems are big because your God is small.

Before Anything Else, God Is Daddy

I just arrived from the US the other day.

It was my shortest trip ever: Four days!

But I had to do it.

I was there to meet a very special man who was a spiritual mentor to Presidents, Kings, Prime Ministers, and other heads of government. In other words, he disciples them to follow Jesus. He’s awesome.

This spiritual giant has been working in the United Nations for the past 25 years. Each month, he holds 30+ face-to-face meetings with heads of government, ambassadors, and other high-level officials, guiding them how to lead their country using the Bible.

So for three whole days, I sat around his table (we were just four students—myself, two bishops, and a secretary general) to learn one thing: How to disciple Heads of States. It was mind-blowing.

So on my way back, I felt very important too.

I mean, how couldn’t I?

I spent three days with a guy who takes phone calls from Presidents and Prime Ministers before he has breakfast. How cool is that?

But the moment my plane landed in Manila, everything became clear to me. I knew the first Heads of States I would meet.

That entire day, upon arriving from the airport, I spent time with the two Kings who’ve conquered my heart since I saw them: My two boys—ages 9 and 4.

Together, we did very high-level, critical, world-changing, life-altering work.

We drew robots and airplanes.

We played with little cars.

We played a video game (I lost, as usual).

We jumped around the coach.

Why did I spend the entire day with them?

Because I believe that before I’m a preacher, writer, leader, missionary, and businessman, I’m a father.

And I suspect that God will say the same thing. This is just my personal opinion. I think before God is supreme judge and king of kings of the entire universe, He’s a Father. That’s why when someone asked Jesus, “Teach us how to pray,” He answered, “Say this: Our Father…”

The original word that Jesus used for “Father” isAbba, which doesn’t really translate to Father but Daddy or Papa. It was what a little baby would call his father.

But as I played with my boys yesterday, I began to think of all the other children who don’t experience what they experience. And I believe that one of the reasons why we don’t know God as Father is because of the wrong fatherhood we’ve experienced.

Specifically, I thought of four of my friends: Emmanuel, Grace, Dulce, and Fides. I’ve changed their names to protect their privacy.

But unfortunately, their stories are true.

Invisible Fathers

My friend Emmanuel’s father was a lawyer. Later on, he became a judge and was promoted all the way to the Supreme Court.

Emmanuel was proud of his father. But when our conversations became intimate, he’d tear up, and tell me that he rarely saw his father. When he woke up, his father was rushing out for his breakfast meetings. In the evenings, his father wasn’t home yet.

Emmanuel grew up knowing his father was an important man doing very important things. But as he grew up, he realized he wasn’t one of these important things his father did.

Years later, Emmanuel came to know God in a personal way. Yet for years, he wondered how important he really was in God’s heart.

Autistic Fathers

Some fathers are physically present at home.

But they don’t engage their kids.

Instead, they’re wrapped up in their own world. Either watching TV or surfing the web. That’s why I call them autistic fathers.

Many years ago, I met Grace. She told me that as a child, her goal in life was to make her father smile at her. Because he never did.

Oh, she would find him laughing with hisbarkada.

But never to her.

One day, she came home with very high grades on her report card. In her heart, she hoped that perhaps today, he would smile at her.

But when she gave him the report card, all her father did was look at it for two seconds, grunt, tossed it back, and went back watching TV.

Not one word of affirmation or appreciation.

Her little heart was crushed.

For years, Grace had a hard time imagining that God was pleased with her. She always imagined God having a perpetual frown on his face.

Cruel Fathers

Dulce’s father is the most barbaric father I’ve ever heard of in my life.

When she was 3 years old, he raped her.

Years later, she always had this nightmare of her head being pushed into a toilet bowl. She realized why. Because her father warned her not to tell anyone of the rape or he’d drown her in the toilet.

For the next ten years, for the slightest mistakes (such as a spilled glass of milk), her father would whip her with his belt until blood flowed. When he was lashing her, her mother would tell him, “Don’t hit her below the knees!” So that the wounds would be covered by her skirt.

He would then grab her ankles, hang her upside down, and bang her head on the floor. He would do this for thirty minutes until she stopped crying and was a lifeless rag in his hands. He would do this each week for ten long years.

Here’s the absurd fact of this story: Until the day he died, her father was an elder and deacon in church. To everyone else, he was an angel. Upon arriving home, he was the devil incarnate—and no one knew.

Dulce is now an adult but suffers massive physical, emotional, and spiritual torments. She has gone through 9 surgeries in various parts of her body. Her doctors discovered micro-strokes in her brain, caused by the head banging she suffered as a child. But her emotional pain was even more severe than her physical pain.

I’m happy to say that Dulce enjoys an intimate relationship with God. God has healed and continues to heal her. But it took years of healing and learning to trust a tender loving Father.

Unfaithful Father

Fides was still a small child when she saw her father walk out of their house carrying his suitcase. At that time, she didn’t know that he was abandoning her, her mother, and her two brothers for another woman.

Unlike her brothers who rebelled and got into drugs, Fides became even more obedient. She became even more responsible. Her school grades shot to the moon. Everyone praised her for being such a good girl.

Later on, Fides realized she blamed herself for the separation of her parents. Inexplicably, she believed that if she were only a better girl, her father would have never left. And for years, she secretly hoped that if she became that better girl, perhaps her father would come back.

For years, Fides’ relationship with God was also about buying His love. She would always try to be good to try to please Him—so He would love her. She had this constant fear that if she made one mistake, God would abandon her too.

May The Real God The Father

Please Stand Up?

For many Christians, it’s so much easier to pray to Jesus. After all, He died for our sins. He’s the sweet one. The Father was the mean guy who sent Jesus to die on the cross.

And for many Catholics, it’s so much easier to pray to Mother Mary than to God the Father. Because they believe Mary is more merciful than God. If you can’t go through the front door, go to the back door—Mary has the key.

Which is utterly preposterous.

We have these difficulties because we don’t know who the Father really is.

The Father and the Son are one. And Mother Mary is a beautiful reflection of God’s love for us.

May the real God The Father please stand up?

I changed the names of our four real-life characters. I chose each name deliberately to show you who God the Father is: He is Emmanuel, Grace, Dulce, and Fides.

Daddy Is Emmanuel

A tribe in Africa had a very scary manhood ritual.

When a boy turned 12, the entire community gathered around him for this once-in-a-life-time chanting and dancing ceremony. The elderly women painted red die on his face. His mother gave him a beaded necklace. And the tribal chieftain handed him a long knife with a carved wooden handle.

By nightfall, he was blindfolded and led by six men into the middle of the forest. Once deep inside, the men left him. Alone. In total pitch darkness.

The instruction was simple. Survive until dawn, and he gets accepted as a real man in the tribe.

But the young boy knew very well that the forest was an incredibly dangerous place. It was the home of tigers. Snakes. Bears. Hyenas.

And so for the entire night, this scrawny little 12-year-old boy was now all alone in the forest. The entire night, he held his knife trembling in his hand. Not for one moment could he rest.   Try as he might, his eyes could see nothing but shadows around him. In his imagination, every little sound—even a leaf swaying in the wind—was a wild animal ready to pounce on him at any moment.

The whole night, he could hear his heart pounding in his chest.

When his terror overwhelmed him, tears ran down his cheeks. He wanted to shout, “I’m just a little boy! I’m not ready yet to be a man!” But who could hear him now? He was all alone.

But after many hours of fighting his fear and exhaustion, his eyes could see more clearly. Dawn was approaching. The first shafts of sunlight pierced through the thick canopy of leaves above him.

That was when the little boy felt something move behind him.

In terror, he turned around.

And there, standing tall on a rock behind him, was the towering figure of a fierce-looking man holding a long spear.

The boy shouted, “Daddy!”

The father smiled.

“When did you arrive?” the boy asked, “Are you here to pick me up?”

The father said, “Before you arrived last night, I was already here. I stood guard, protecting you the whole time. I never left you for one moment, my son.”

Daddy is Emmanuel—which means God with us.

Friend, I don’t know what darkness you’re going through right now. Perhaps you’re praying for your child who is on drugs. Or your husband is having an affair. Or you’re having financial problems right now.   Remember that in your darkness, God is with you. He will never leave or abandon you.

When you’re in pain, God embraces you and feels your pain. He weeps with you. Because Daddy is Emmanuel.

Daddy is Grace

When I think of Grace giving her very high report card to her father—and all he did was grunt—I remember my own experience with my report card.

When I was in grade school, my report card had red marks. (At least, it was colored. Yours was just black and white.) Because I failed in Math and Pilipino.

That day, I went up to Mom and showed her my report card.

All she said was, “Show it to your father.”

Gulp. Oh boy.   I walked up to Dad and gave it to him.

He read it, nodded his head, and handed it back to me, and said, “Son, just study some more.”

No spanking. No scolding. No disapproval.

He then said, “Let’s eat.”

That’s why for the rest of my academic life, I kept failing. (Hehe.)

I guess Dad knew that my brilliance wasn’t in academics. It would bloom elsewhere. (Ahem.)

I thank God for having parents who loved me whether I performed in school or not. They just loved me, period. Unconditionally.

Daddy means Grace. Grace means gift.

Two weeks ago, my son Bene came up to me and showed me his Math exam. He was sad because out of 100 points, he got 92. I couldn’t help but laugh. Because if I got 92, my mother would have fainted.   Because when I was a kid, out of 100 points, I would get 36. One time, I got 28. I would show those test papers to Dad. And all he’d say was, “Just do better next time.”

Grace means “free gift”.

Here’s my point: You don’t have to please God so that He loves you. He loves you as you are. He accepts you totally.

I don’t care what sin you committed. I don’t care how many times you’ve done it. God loves you and will forgive you of your sins. It will be this love that will bring you to repentance and a new life.

Because Daddy is grace.

Daddy Is Dulce

Dulce means sweet.

I believe God is the sweetest Daddy in the world.

A few years ago, I was in a preaching tour in the US.

I remember one big event. After the last song, I was signing my books. There was an unusually long line of people who wanted my autograph.  In front of me were four ushers telling people to wait for their turn.

That was when someone ran past the long line of people, squeezed himself in between the ushers, and ducked underneath the table. He then climbed on my lap, handed me a bottle of water, and said, “Please open, Daddy. I’m thirsty.”

Bene was four years old at that time.

Obviously, I stopped signing books and opened his bottle.

How could Bene do that? Because he was my son and I was his Daddy.

He was confident that I wouldn’t reject him. He knew that I loved him more than the entire world.

This is what Jesus meant when he taught us the “Our Father”.

Like Bene, we too can run to God, climb on his lap, and ask for what we need.

Because Daddy is dulce.

Daddy Is Fides

I like to believe I’m a good father.

But I’m nothing compared to Dick Hoyt and his love for his son Rick.

In 1962, while baby Rick was in the womb of his mother, he was strangled by the umbilical cord—causing a lack of oxygen in his brain. He suffered cerebral palsy and couldn’t speak or control his arms or legs.

As an eight month old baby, doctors told Dick and his wife Judy to place the child in an institution. “Because he was going to be a vegetable all his life,” they said. But the parents refused and brought him home. Dick promised that he would try to give his son as normal a life as possible.

Fast forward today: Dick learned that Rick loved sports. After a lot of pain and exercise (Dick wasn’t athletic), he pushed Rick in a wheelchair in a 5 kilometer run. After the Run, Rick said that while he was in the race, he didn’t feel an invalid.

That was the start of a great adventure. Today, this father-and-son team has participated in 66 marathons and 229 triathlons.

While running, Dick would push his son in a wheelchair.

While swimming, Dick would pull him in a rubber boat.

While biking, Dick would carry him at the front of his bike.

When I watched the life of Dick and Rick Hoyt, I saw a glimpse of God’s love. This is the Father’s love for you.

I don’t know about you, but I must admit that I’m handicapped in many areas of my life. I’ve got weaknesses I still battle to this day.

But in this adventure called life, I’ve experienced my God pushing me, pulling me, and carrying me in his arms.

I know God does the same to you.

Fides means faith. The root word for faithfulness.

God has faith in you. He believes in you.

Daddy is fides.

Next week, I’ll talk about God as Leader.

May your dreams come true,

Bo Sanchez


July 2018
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