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Dear Joe,

Frankly, before I wrote this letter, I asked myself why should I confess to somebody who doesn't even know me. Joe, I am a preacher from a Christian fellowship here in manila and perhaps, this is one of the reasons why I was hesitant to ask your opinion regarding this matter. I preach the gospel and give spiritual advice to stregthen the weak and the confused, but here I am, longing for guidance.

Just call me Matthew. I'm 24 years old and it's been four years now since I decided to offer my life to the Lord. I'm in the healing ministry and God willing, will be ordained as a pastor soon. My problem began when my best friend Jayson asked me to patch things up with his girlfriend Cathy. When he came to me one night about news of break-up, I don't know, Joe, but something in me lightened up. I had been drawn to Cathy from the time Jayson introduced us, but naturally , I kept my feelings to myself.

Then came this moment, when Jayson asked me to intervene. He asked me to see Cathy to enlighten her and defend him. Jayson really trusted and respected me. With all honesty, Joe, I prayed the whole night before I went to see Cathy, to ask for strength that I may be spared from temptation. On my way to their house, I said to myself," Matthew, your mission is to remedy their differences and let them start all over again." Call it "biro ng tadhana" or "tukso" when Cathy started to talk and cry helplessly, I began to melt. I was not able to control myself. When she embraced me, the more I forgot that she's my bestfriend's fiancee.

For two months, I carried the burden of having a relationship with my bestfriend's girl. I didn't know how to tell Jayson about me and Cathy. I never found the courage to confess my sin to the man who is almost like a brother to me.

Until one day, the news broke out. It was the first and biggest controversy I ever got into. I know how painful it was for Jayson to accept the truth. I know what I did was unforgivable.

Joe, God knows how hard I tried to ask Jayson to forgive me and Cathy when we met with our pastor. I cried and begged for forgiveness and understanding, but he was too cold and deaf. The room was filled with his anger.

It's been a year now since it happened. Jayson stopped attending our fellowship. I had lost my bestfriend. And now I lost my girlfriend. Cathy stopped seeing me and worse, I saw her one night, arm in arm with another man. It was only then that I realized that Jayson and I were victims of a woman who treated love as a child's >play.

This is my story and this is my problem. I have already confessed this to the Lord but I can still feel the loneliness and burden. I know, it's only Jayson's forgiveness that will ease the pain in my heart. And I can say that the next time I fall in love, I know better what to do.

Thank you for the time you spent reading this. God Bless you and more power to your show.

Matthew Arbaleda
Cathedral of Praise
Taft Ave., Mla.


Dear Matthew,

Temptation can come and present itself in so many forms. Not even Jesus's disciples who were so close to him and listened intently to his teachings were spared from Satan's traps and failed to recognize his deceit during many times in their mission with the Lord.

Since our birth, God has shown us ways to tell what is right from wrong. He has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide us in everything that we do. But sometimes, no matter how hard we try to faithfully carry our cross, we still fall and stumble. We gave in to our human desires and forget about the ill consequences it would bring. The urge to satisfy our selfish needs would often impair our judgement and cloud our thoughts. Then what is right falls out of sight and what is wrong becomes irresistibly tempting. We would try to justify our wrongdoing by blaming our own human nature but, most of the time, the wrong we do is with our own conscience's consent. We willfully sin against our brothers. We willfully hurt the Lord.

But our God is a forgiving God. I'm sure he has long cleansed you from your misdoing. Matthew, I know it wasn't easy but by openly confessing the truth, you have done the act of a true Christian. I pray and hope that Jayson is reading this right now. Jayson, Matthew may have betrayed you and lost your confidence but he's sorry for what he did. I hope that, difficult as it is, you may find a place in your heart to forgive him. Let us not allow hatred to rule our lives for there will never be happiness for as long as there is bitterness in our hearts.

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