Who am I really?

            I have many aliases. My legal name is Hin Lun Mak in America. On my Hong Kong identification card, my name would be 麥顯倫 and Mak Hin Lun as the direct transliteration of the Chinese. People do not know the Lun part of my name usually, until we become friends on Facebook, where my full name is shown, in Chinese and English. My name is also Tommy. I made this name when I was a tad boy immigrant from Hong Kong in April of 2000, when people at church asked for my name. It was surprising why my parents would go to church. Back in Hong Kong, we rarely went to church on Sundays. Instead, during the weekends of my childhood, most of the time my immediate family would go and visit grandma and grandpa Chow up in the mountains where grandpa Chow built a house up in the mountains after he escaped from mainland China and had a farm of chicken and bananas. It was one of my many uncles who invited my family to the Chinese church, the church my parents still go. I wondered why they went and I still don’t know the reason why. It used to be in the corner of my mind, but eventually, what has passed is history and nothing will be changed, what matters is the present.

            I have other names as well, such as MakDaddy, Mak, Lommy, etc. My name does not matter to me, because I know who I am in my core essence. Names are tools to help people from the outside identify. When one know one’s true self, the name is not needed, for a name is merely for the convenience of others to communicate and identify. Through this reasoning, it matters not to me what people call me as when I already have a firm identity of who I am.

            I knew who I was before, but who I was before is dead to me now. I am now a new creation, with a renewed soul. I am a Christian. I do not justify my identity through myself or others, but the Creator alone. I remain in the imperfect physical flesh, but my soul is freed from the bondages of the world and strives to seek God. I have many talents and many things I enjoy to do, but I am at my best when I love.

            As I learn about humanistic psychology, the more I see it as incomplete. No human is perfect, thus self-actualization, or full realization of one’s potential, is limited. If I truly look inside deeply myself, I can confess I have no morals within me. Without God, who set the perfect standard, if there are no consequences, no punishment to my actions at all, I believe I would have easily murdered many people many times; with knowledge of the consequences, I am deterred from murdering, seeing as how I would get bored, tired, and stressed from killing people who comes after me for my heinous crimes. My deepest flesh desires are of survival and of being able to live the most comfortable life I can in this world. Another example, I can also appear as someone loving and kind, because that would be able to satisfy my belonging and esteem need, but those acts of kindness are conditional. If acts of love are conditional, are they truly acts of love? Not at all! Instead, those acts of kindness are actually acts of selfishness for self-gratification. Who sets the standards for morals? When Hitler sanctioned the genocide of the Jews, where did the morality of the Germans go? The morals were decided upon and educated to the people by the Nazis. Good thing the rest of the world didn’t get the memo and fought to fight off that “morality”.


            So I question, do people really have a superego? Or is the superego a result of the combination needs of belonging and esteem? Honestly, I don’t know if I would care about other people if I did not know of God’s love for me. My flesh desires for the most comfortable life, both socially and materialistically. For people who do not really care about what others think, without deterrence of punishment, those people would easily act what they think is best: Hitler thought it was best to eliminate the Jews to protect Germany, Communist Party thought it was best to eliminate and reeducate all opposition to ensure stability, Countries thought it was best to create weapons of mass destruction to deter countries from attacking them. All these morals are fully subjective. Quoting Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, a writer from the Soviet Union, “There’s a Stalinist in each of you; there’s even a Stalinist in me. We must root out this evil.” I know I have a Stalinist in me for sure, and the evil must be rooted out, but how? Humans are capable of doing great good and great evil, but without a clear definition of good, who is justified?

            Then there’s the even deeper question of if evil or good actually existed. Without perfect goodness, there is no standard in the world. Good and evil would be an illusion the humans created. Nietzsche quoted “man needs to supplement reality by an ideal world of his own creation.” Humanity would have created the concept good and evil to see the world through illusionary moral lenses. I did not know where my evil came from, neither my subconscious desire for fairness. Freud would have explained the cause as animalistic instincts of the Id. Skinner would have explained the cause as social consequence. Maslow would have explained the cause as a need for esteem and belonging.

            And then there is the explanation from the Bible, through Adam and Eve’s disobedience, sin (lawlessness) entered into the world, and mankind became to slaves to sin. Sin is the despairing refusal to find the deepest identity in one’s relationship and service to God. So mankind, without any help, is stuck in the cycle of denying God and denying one’s fullest potential as the Creator intended. For without God, there is no stable identity in anything. If I build my identity based on my personal freedom and independence, when I lose that independence, I will lose my sense of self. If I place my identity in my occupation, when I lose it, who do I become? My identity, however, is built on God, and because of that, I can face everything. Honestly, I still hesitate to do things, like randomly going to a homeless person and buy him Betty’s, or go up to a random stranger in the science and engineering library to share the Gospel. Most of the time, I am just lazy; there’s really no excuse for some of the things I do. Without love, I cannot do these things. If I buy food for a friend, there’s probably a subconscious reasoning that the friend will buy food back some day in the future, but if I give food to a homeless person, I really get nothing in return, maybe except the company of one who is a social outcast. When I go up to a random stranger to share the Gospel, there’s always at least a fear of rejection. There are a lot more fears involved depending on the person I’m approaching; without love, there is no way I would be able to do these things. But despite all my flaws and imperfections, God is unchanging in His love for me, and everyone else. For all the evil and suffering in the world, Jesus already paid the final price to reconcile man to God, so that humanity can find its true identity as the image of God, as sons of God. It is through His unchanging love I have an unchanging purpose and identity.

            Without Jesus, I am nothing. But by His grace I am truly blessed because I am justified in God’s eyes. Not by my own actions, but by faith in Jesus who paid the price for my debts, so I live to be with God and share this Good News. I went through the full system of intentionality to accept and believe Christ as my Savior and Lord. Mankind is hardwired to have the impulse and intentions to seek the purpose of life. The purpose of life is to know and love God, but this is a preconscious desire that is buried deep down. At the wish stage, is when problems begin: the things that are seen, that this world has to offer replace the preconscious desire to seek God. At the want stage, it becomes a realistic picture; it is so much easier to picture things that are seeable. The want will become the will and allow one to act, or retreat back to the thoughts. After the will, external actions and results will result. Sin distorts mankind’s wish stage and creates all the problems we have today.

            As I write this, I wonder if I can really love; since God still loves us while we were denying him, cursing him, I wonder if I have the same love that God has. I don’t remember the last time people were shouting curses at me other than one Sunday morning someone flipped me off in a moving car while I was walking to a bus stop. I remember that thought of the moment “Oh, wow, really? He really needs to know Jesus.” Normally, I would probably flip him back and chuck something at the car. Oh, how I would have loved that. But through the identity that I have in Christ, I do no desire no such thing. My instincts of my flesh would have loved to launch many rockets at the car, but my soul longs for the person to be reconciled with God. This is the battle between my flesh and my spirit.


            I have many natural talents. I love music. One may reason that because I have talent for it, but I should note that I began liking music before I knew how talented I was in music. There has been many times when I completely ignore my physiological needs for food and for excretion (I kept holding it in) and kept my creative juices flowing. By definition, when I create music, either by playing instrumental or singing in the shower, I am self-actualizing.  I am not sure if I used to treat music as a way to satisfy my belonging and esteem need. There was a time when my identity was built on my music talents. It helped me build up my esteem. I know music perfection through my perfect pitch. Since I know what perfection is, I know I can’t attain it, all I can do is to try get as close to perfect as I can, even though it’s pretty far off. After my life is renewed, music has become a tool for me to love God and love people. And even though the music I create sounded so flawed in my perfectionistic ears, my identity is built in God, and what God wants from me is for my soul to long for him. As long as I produce my music with my feeling of love towards Jesus, I am satisfied with what I create.

            I love to entertain as well. I didn’t really learn to harness its power until my 7th grade in my math class doing some type of group project presentation. From 4th grade to 6th grade, I rarely uttered a word of English. One reason could be that I was shy, and insecure in my ability to speak English. Another reason could be that I was bullied. There could have been many ways I could have responded, I remember I opted for safety at the time. My organismic value was safety for myself. The present me now, I make peace (or at least attempt to) with the aggressor out of love, regardless of the consequences; I will do as Jesus does. For God so loved the world that Jesus died to take upon the wrath of God for his enemies, so I love and engage the aggressor and overcome my organismic value. I have also overcome most of my shyness. Part of the reason why I was shy was because I was insecure of my communication abilities. I have to admit even now, my speaking abilities are not up to my standards. It is true that I have a minimum accent, but not too distinct that one can recognize me as a former immigrant. However, through my firm identity in Christ, I don’t care how I present myself to other people. I don’t know how to be embarrassed, because I constantly do it to myself already, and I blatantly exaggerate my flaws so I entertain. Again in this case my organismic value is overcome through the identity I have in Christ.

            Humanity truly has free-will, free to accept and deny truth, free to follow true purpose or make up its own purpose. I can see my flaws and imperfection, but all that does not matter because God’s love for me is unchanging. My identity is a child of God.