They’ve said, “Set a thief to catch a thief.” This has been on assumption that this thief knows the hide-outs and strategies of all thieves, thus better positioned to easily deal with the other thief being chased. However, I don’t think that this applies in all of life’s spheres. For instance when it comes to moral uprightness, one does not need to live an immoral life himself to apprehend the immoral elements around him/her. Sadly, that is what is happening today in many societies. As a matter of fact, there are people in our societies who have been given or have acquired, naturally or by imposition, a responsibility to be agents of moral uprightness, yet are abusing that responsibility to the bone.
A Case in Example:
A teacher, for instance, is expected to build the nation through imparting knowledge, skills, values and/or discipline among the students he teaches. But what happens when the teacher – a moral agent, is the one defiling the young female students, selling dangerous drugs to the students, encouraging them to rebel against some administrators and fellow staff members, dressing both indecently, going around the community drunk, and all sorts of immoral behaviors? What happens when his/her speech is full of vulgarity, blasphemy, obscenity, and profanity? What happens when he instead becomes a discouragement to the students, living a life that clearly displays no purpose, mission, or exemplary virtue at all?
There, we simply produce a crowd of educated fools, clever devils, who are not only functionally illiterate but also valueless in their ways. Our educational institutions continue to churn out half-baked products who add to the lot of the immoral, abused, depressed, misdirected, and immoral citizens. The importance of education gets lost since only the head and maybe the hand are equipped, but leaving the heart empty, devoid of values, attitudes, and principles around which a total human being’s life must rotate for productivity. We end up with an élite group of unmotivated, purposeless, unproductive, and functionally barren individuals flooding the streets of every town begging!
Looking at a parent or guardian, he/she is responsible for protecting the children under his/her care, providing for them, and teaching them how to live a decent and upright life. But what happens when this dad is the one forcing the daughter to sleep with him at the beginning of every school term/semester before giving her school fees; scheming for her to get forced into sexual relations with other men who can buy the dad a bottle of liquor; having extramarital relationships with other women and young girls? What happens when the mom is the very person taking the daughter out to the night clubs; forcing her to get married at a very young age just to get wealth through bride price; training her in prostitution as a way of getting money?
There, we accumulate bands of frustrated, desperate, unkind, merciless, and ruthless youths who see no importance whatsoever in upholding strong, godly family values – a people who see the institution of family as a military torture system, and they thus have neither regard for it nor any desire to strengthen it themselves. We end up with curses that accrue from the terrible sin of incest, and a high influx not only of teenage pregnancies but also of abortions, prostitution, and drug abuse. The future of the children is not only blurred but also totally doomed. What is left is a fraternity of youths that have lacked mentors and role models, thereby navigating their lives on the guidance of sex saturated tabloids, nudity promoting TV stations, and immorality heralding radio stations! Their identity is not clear to them and so they tag themselves onto vulgar celebrities, drug-obsessed film stars, and dangerously indoctrinated peers who appear ‘cool’ and fashionable, ending in destruction.
Now consider the religious leaders. These are (or are supposed to be) the voices of moral sanity in the society and prophetic trumpets to the nation. Nature expects them to show the way, set the pace, and engineer moral uprightness in the community. With all divine powers in their “custody” or at their disposal, they’re heavily endowed with authority to demolish uncouth systems and set a strong precedence for uprightness in society. But what happens when the same religious leaders are the ones who either shy away from condemning all evil, or support immoral behavior under the cover of freedoms and rights? Remember that “He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD” (Proverbs 17:150). What happens when some Sheikhs are corrupt, some Reverends are sexually immoral, and some bishops are dictatorial in their administration of leadership over the flock? What happens when some of these religious leaders are cited in dubious business deals, undercover illegal operations, and abominations?
There, we get a society that gladly blasphemes God without fear and has no regard for spiritual values at all. We get a community that ridicules things of God and mocks those who are ambassadors of such things. We get a political leadership that has guts to abuse God’s messengers and does not respect their counsel whatsoever. We get a religious fraternity that merely retains a name for being alive but is actually dead (Revelations 3:1-6), and a nation that partially agrees to the existence of God though denying His power to save and provide, judge and protect, lead and chastise.
For the political and/or civil leader, in the same breath, he/she has a responsibility, among others, to ensure that the society’s moral fabric is strong and unadulterated by any forces that present a moral challenge to the nation. This can ably be through stringent legislations that prohibit immoral behavior in society, strict regulation of the media houses that broadcast immoral programs, running campaigns that reinforce and strengthen the moral uprightness of the nation, empowering such entities that spearhead maintenance of sanity in the nation, and leading by example a life of unquestionable integrity, among others. But what happens when the leaders themselves not only do but also shamelessly approve immoral misdemeanors in the nation; shield the immoral from prosecution; go soft on immoral legislation in councils and parliament; shy away from strongly condemning immorality in the public; harass those who advocate for moral sanity; or openly get involved in immoral behaviors themselves such as grabbing public property, sexual scandals, bloodshed, witchcraft, corruption, among others?
We end up with a disgruntled and hopeless society that is capable of doing anything deadly, a community built on the foundation of blood, bitterness and dishonesty. We end up with the misuse of the available resources for development; loss of national values and pride; open advocacy for evil and immoral pervasions; unstable political institutions; poor civil institutions; and a whole wave of national mistrust among all citizens.
Shall we therefore go back to the drawing board and reform our lifestyles? Shall we, the teachers in our educational institutions, once again become the teachers they were dreamt to be? Teachers who guide and counsel students appropriately, living an exemplary life. Shall we, the parents, reestablish the family institution and all its precious values so that we can build strong, principled and godly families upon which the nation can stand? Shall we, the religious leaders, return to the God-given mission of making disciples of all nations, worship God in truth and in Spirit, living godly lives, so that we can once again regain credibility and moral authority to rebuke evil in our society? Shall we, the political leaders, live sensible lives again, having honest concern and authentic love for the people under our leadership, giving proper guidance and direction to the citizens so that we can live in peace, harmony, and godliness?
If the above is not done, we will continue to live in self denial, calling ourselves what we are not:
- Calling ourselves Good leaders yet we do and promote a lot of bad in the society, and are actually more of a liability than an asset to those we claim to ‘lead’
- Calling ourselves Christians yet we are far removed from the nearest nearness to being and acting like Christ in our words, thoughts, and deeds.
- Calling ourselves Good teachers who claim that “Because We Are, The Nation Is” yet we teach students that they came from animals and then go on to wonder why they actually act like animals in and outside our schools!
- Calling ourselves “Men/Women Of The People” yet all we plan and execute are aimed at self aggrandizement and attainment of selfish, inordinate ambitions
- Chanting mottos like “For God and my Country” in the midst of a totally ungodly community that values individualism, self-pleasure, and survival for the trickiest.
I beseech you, therefore by the mercies of the Creator, that you reestablish the moral fabric of our nations, starting with your own behavior / morals, those of your children, neighbors, workmates, and the whole nation. This will be ranked your most reasonable service and contribution to national development and kingdom living. Do not live your life in imitation of what “others” are doing or what others have called good, but be transformed by the examination of self and the rebuilding of moral pillars and resurrection of universal, godly tenets in you so that you may prove that a good, morally upright, and decent world is possible and within our reach!