Afflictions of a bleeding society (2)
In the story of the Last Judgment (Matt. 25:3146), Jesus highlights the importance of the corporal works of mercy for our salvation. Those who enter heaven will be those who give food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, clothes to the naked, shelter to the homeless, and those who visit the sick and imprisoned. Those who will hear the words, “Depart from me,” will be those who fail to carry out these corporal works of mercy. Here, Jesus is definitely not speaking in metaphors. He is speaking plainly. When you become rich like the woman of Shunem, don’t raise your standard of living by buying new cars, new phones, new houses, etc. Raise your standard of giving. The more God blesses you, the more you should bless the lives of others. God has entrusted the good things of life to your care so that you can put them at the service of others. How often do we say, “I worked for what I have. I didn’t steal them.” But the truth is that we are merely stewards, “useless servants,” as Jesus said in Luke 17:10, who are entrusted with what is not our own.
Sometimes, we hear the call on social media and on radio and TV inviting us to show love and kindness to someone in grave need of financial assistance. Most times, these calls are for people who need urgent medical procedure to save their lives from a ravaging ailment. For instance, “Mr X urgently needs N10 million
1. A man and a woman (not women, not two women or two men) brought duly joined together spiritually and legally. There is no place in the Bible for live-in lovers.
2. A union of two mature adults. Marriage is designed to be a union of two adults or matured individuals and not children. God did not create children first; instead, He made two adults and brought them together. “For this cause shall a man” -not a boy, leave his father... Maturity is not just about age but about wisdom, principles, relational and other skills etc. People should develop themselves spiritually, mentally, etc. before entering into marriage. How many books have you read on the subject?
3. A union of two spiritual and God-loving people. Spirituality is simply living according to the Word of God. It says, “…who delights greatly in his commandments.” Psalm 112:1-3. A Christian should not only marry a Christian but ensure they have high regard for the Word of God run their lives accordingly. They are committed to for a kidney transplant to save his life.” Very often, the beneficiaries of such campaign are oscillating between life and death; and the earlier good-spirited people respond to the call, the better for the sick person. Sadly, in many cases Mr X is unable to raise the money for his medical procedure, and he dies. Do you know that all we needed to have done to save the life of Mr X is 10000 committed Nigerians who are willing to donate N1000 each? The inverse would be 1,000 humane Nigerians who can part with N10000 each. Are there not such people in any one single locality in Nigeria who can make this sacrifice? Are there not millions of Nigerians who can donate N1000 each without bathing an eyelid? Why is it so difficult for many people to make this somewhat simple sacrifice?
The answer is simple and you know it: We are a compassionless and care-less society. Mr X is neither my father nor my mother. He is neither my brother nor my sister. He is not my son or my daughter. So why do I have to give a damn about his medical condition? Is this not how many of us think? But this our attitude to Mr X, is it the same attitude we put up when our blood is involved? No. If it were my mother or my father, my brother or my sister, my son or my daughter, would I not do everything possible to make sure I raise the money for his or her medical treatment? So how come we don’t feel we should treat other human beings with the same love, care and sensitivity we show to our own blood? The answer again is that we simply don’t care. Everybody imagines that somebody would help. Somebody thinks that everybody will help. In the end, nobody helps anybody. This attitude is partly responsible for what has made us a haemorrhaging society. Nigeria today is like the woman with the issue of blood in the Bible. We are losing so much blood and so many innocent lives on a daily basis, human beings who have no reason to die. In a certain way, this has also made us a vampire society that feeds on the blood of its innocent children.
There are millions of wellto-do Nigerians who live in stinking affluence. They can afford anything and everything that tickles their fancy. They can go for summer holidays in the posh locations of the world. But they live their lives solely for themselves and their immediate family. Love and compassion is not the sort of word you find in their dictionary. They’d rather prefer to buy a toothbrush that sells for N10,000 in the posh superstore in town than to buy the same toothbrush in a kiosk where it is sold for N100. That is how they massage their ego. It is always a thing of pride to them that they shop in the most expensive stores and malls, where they do not have to bother about pricing the goods they want to buy. But these are the same people who would haggle back and forth with a poor widow selling bananas in the hot sun to feed her family. They throw their wealth to those who don’t need it and deprive those who need it.
In his 2016 Message for the World Day of Peace, Pope Francis says that the reason our world is suffering from compassionfatigue is because the cobweb of indifference is growing in our hearts. Many people are just insensitive to what is happening around them. They are tired of doing good. They close their hearts to the needs of others and close their eyes to what is happening around them. They have no sense of involvement in what is happening to others. They are not bothered. Their hearts are never moved by the sight and plight of people who are suffering. If it does not touch them directly, it doesn’t concern them. Almost without perceiving it, we grow incapable of feeling compassion for others and for their problems. We have no interest in caring for them. We feel that their troubles and sufferings are their own responsibility and none of our business. When we are healthy and comfortable, we forget about others. Our hearts grow cold and hard like ice. Even the most touching sight of human suffering is unable to melt our frozen hearts.
In the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk. 10:25-37), Jesus teaches us that my neighbour is anybody who needs my help, anyone I encounter on the way. My neighbour is that person who has no one else to help him but me. He is that person who may never get help if I do not help him. A neighbour is not to be defined by religious, cultural, or social origins, but by compassion for the other. Thus, Jesus teaches us to open our hearts and be moved to do something when we come upon someone in need of help. That person who needs my help, whoever the person is, is my neighbour. There is no question of nationality, tribe, creed, language or social status. The real question is I come upon a person like me, created in the image and likeness of God.
Sometime ago, I found a very inspiring video story on Facebook. It was about the great Albanian missionary, Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Speaking at her award ceremony for the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1979, Mother Teresa narrated how on one occasion she brought a girl child from the street to her home for destitute children. Mother Theresa narrated: “I could see on the face of the child that the child was hungry. God knows how many days she had not eaten. So I gave her a piece of bread and the little child started eating the bread, crumb by crumb. I said to the child, ‘Eat the bread. Eat the bread.’ She looked at me and said, ‘I am afraid to eat the bread, because I’m afraid when it is finished, I will be hungry again.’” Mother Teresa continued: “This is a reality. Maybe we are not hungry for a piece of bread, but maybe there is somebody there in the family, who is unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten. Love begins at home. For love to be true, it has to hurt. This is what I bring before you. To love one another with great love.”