|Dr Hayden Kho|
A simple social media post containing a Bible verse triggered quite an avalanche of criticism, and with it, a reminder of God’s gracious gift of forgiveness for those who call on him.
The verse was 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
The person who posted the verse was Dr. Hayden Kho - and that explains some of the critical responses.
Meggie Sy’s response on Instagram represented most of the criticism: “This coming from you is a joke.”
To understand the critique you have to know something about Dr. Hayden Kho, a celebrity in the Philippines but not very well known in the West.
Kho went to Christian schools but was a self-avowed atheist. He is a plastic surgeon to the stars who worked in the Philippines’ largest cosmetic surgery business. He became famous as a television actor, earning the moniker “Doctor Hunk” for his stunning good looks.
But in 2008, his idyllic life disintegrated. He was embroiled in a series of sex videos of himself with other local and foreign celebrities. The videos showed up on the Internet without his knowledge and consent.
He was tried publicly on national television as part of a senate hearing. He was also taken to court in both criminal and civil cases. His case was dubbed the most controversial sex scandal in Asia.
The Professional Regulation Commission deemed Kho “immoral” and unfit to practice medicine and stripped him of his license to practice in 2012. The fall was great and Kho turned to drugs and alcohol to ease the pain…and finally to attempt suicide, twice.
“When the (sex) scandal happened, it was like being caught in a flood,” said Kho. “Every problem that came my way before was like a downpour. Since I’ve been underwater for so long, what was another downpour? But when they took away my license…it was a totally different experience.”
In the scandal’s aftermath, Kho said, “I lost my name and my so-called friends.” No one came to his defense.
HAYDEN KHO MEETS RAVI ZACHARIAS
Instead, he went in search of answers. The journey took him to a private talk by Ravi Zacharias in Manila. Kho’s friend Dioceldo Sy, owner of Ever Bilena cosmetics, had an extra ticket to Zacharias’ talk that night.
Having read Zacharias’ book Has Christianity Failed You? as part of his research before choosing to become an atheist years ago, Kho also knew the author’s background as an engaging writer and leading Christian apologist.
Soon after Zacharias’ talk about the truth behind the Gospels, Kho’s hand was the first to be raised with a question.
“I asked a question that soon turned into a confession,” Kho said. As Zacharias recalled, Kho said that he was “living with pain, shame and guilt.”
“Tears were running down his face,” said Zacharias. “He began by asking me what meaning can he find in life. That was where the dialogue between us began.”
Zacharias had no idea who Kho was and didn’t know his story. He told his staff later that Kho looked like a man made for the movies and yet he was talking about life’s meaninglessness.
Zacharias is fond of quoting a line from theologian G.K. Chesterton; “Meaninglessness doesn’t come from being weary of pain. Rather, it comes from being weary of pleasure.” Kho personified that insight.