LEADING THE PEOPLE - RANDOM THOUGHTS

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LEADING THE PEOPLE - RANDOM THOUGHTS

P S Khual

 

We are intended to see through the eye, with the conscience. Now we see with the eye, devoid of a conscience – Dr. Ravi Zacharias

 

The much talked about Assembly election 2017 in Manipur is knocking on our door and is the main subject of discussion in almost every home, every available forum including, social media and roadside tea stalls. In the backdrop of the three bills passed by the government of Manipur on August 31, 2015 and the consequent death of nine lives whose mortal remains still await an honourable farewell, the people are both keen and anxious about the outcome of the forthcoming election. The perceived failure of the present leadership in the society, especially the elected representatives, in the wake of what happened on August 31, 2015 has been the key issue that pre-occupies everyone’s mind since then. From what could be gathered through inter-personal discussion, information from social media like, facebook and whatsapp, the issue that preoccupies most people is “who would be the best person to represent us?” or “whom can we trust to voice our concern and speak on our behalf?”The question is a reflection of the leadership vacuum in the society/ community or, rather, the lack of man of integrity and vision who can provide credible and trustworthy leadership. What seems to be the common perception and understanding is that the society has allowed it to prevail for so long and should no longer let this continue.

 

As I ponder over ‘who should choose to lead and represent us’ or ‘whom should we elect’, and mentally attempt to find an answer, random thoughts - connected or unconnected - crosses my mind. The values or principles for these thoughts comes from various quarters and ranges from the Bible to the lyrics of Pink Floyd. Utmost in my mind is the motivation of the person for choosing to stand up and be counted in an attempt to represent and lead the people. Everyone considers himself a nationalist when it comes to tribal issues in general and our political future as tribals, in particular. Yes, we must be nationalist. Mighty men of God in the Bible – Moses, Joshua, David, Daniel, Nehemiah, St. Paul, to name a few – were true nationalist. It is noteworthy that their nationalism was always undergirded by the love of God and His people. It was what motivated them to stand up and be counted. Without fear or favour. Unless our nationalism is undergirded by the love of God and His people, we are only an imposter and our nationalism is nothing but idolatry - the love of money, fame, position and power. Are we in a position to say, here is the man who truly love God and, thence, selflessly love His people? Our rallying cry in rallies and protest sites, found in banners across Delhi and tribal areas of Manipur, has been “our land, our rights and our identity”. To possess a land as large as the biggest planet with no people to govern it is meaningless. To possess a land but be governed by ungodly people is to travel along the path of ruin and destruction where our rights and identity will be crushed beneath the shadow of idolatry. Hence, our need has always been and will always be a man of character, mighty man of God, who will lead and govern us in God’s will and God’s way. That man, we shall find, in the one whose nationalism is unshakeably founded on his love for God, and God’s people.

 

Most of us hold the general opinion that politics is a dirty game and, hence, good people should keep themselves away from it. Considering our context and the way we have misgoverned ourselves and are being misgoverned, such opinion do have merit based on its own underlying values and perspective. Most of us, if not all, in Lamka profess to be Christians and we take great pride in it. Hence, it may be wise to look at ourselves and our circumstances from a Christian worldview, if we have not done so. We are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being. Over the past few decades, we have forced the Supreme Being out of our individual as well as corporate lives. Jesus announced the starting of His earthly ministry by quoting from Isaiah 61, and concluded by saying “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4: 18-19, 21) If we who believe in Jesus are to follow His footsteps, we must continue what he has started. Our faith, therefore, is not just about attending church service occasionally or organising ministry trip or conferences. The Kingdom that is in us must grow outward and touch every aspect of our lives - economic, social and political. A thermometer adjust itself to the temperature of the room while a thermostat controls the temperature of the room it is placed in. We must be thermostat Christians who impacts the culture we are placed in, bringing Godly values in its social, economic and political life. The Christian worldview, therefore, is the perspective - the lens - through which we look at our world and conduct ourselves in it. To hold the notion that politics is a dirty game and keep ourselves away from it would be to allow evil to rule and reign. Perhaps, it is an unbiblical notion. If we desire good governance, it is our moral responsibility as Christians to engage our culture and bring about Godly values in its social, economic and political life. Daniel must enter the lion’s den for the glory of God to be revealed. We are waiting for our Daniel, a man of character and integrity, who will enter our political arena because of his love for God and his people, for the glory of God.

 

In a deeply polarised society with history of long drawn mis-governance, emotions run high. Ask anyone you come across on the street and chances are that a good number will claim to be true nationalist, a man who love his God and his people and will dare enter the lion’s den and stand up. The case would be more so for those who intend to represent the people. It would be wise not to miss the fact that the political arena is a slippery ground because of the power and privileges that comes with the responsibility. Herein lies the need for a man of character, a man of conviction and commitment, both personally and socially. Every aspirant is capable of making tall claims and big promises. What matters is the underlying values and principles he holds dear, the values and principles that are the foundation of his life and are non-negotiable, whatever the cost. Someone with unquestionable commitment to Godly values and principleswill inevitably impact the culture he is placed in rather than be impacted by it. This is a good indication, though not entirely, of whether a leader is there just for the privileges – money, fame, position and power – or he will dare stand up for God and his people. A person most likely will either stand up for something or will fall for anything. It would, therefore, be wise to remember Mark Twain (The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg) who said “The weakest of all weak things is a virtue that has not been tested in the fire.”

 

There is a tendency to assume or take it for granted that God is on our side because we are Christians, because we pray and invoke His name. It is highly probable that we assume this even when our values are ungodly, our motives are evil and our intent unjust. Let us always be reminded of the word of Jesus in Luke 4: 18-19 where he said “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” In other words, our vision and mission, as we follow our Master, is to preach and restore liberty, equality and JUSTICE – social, economic and political. Curiously and interestingly, the preamble to the Constitution of India has also solemnly resolved to constitute India on the same principles. As I reflect on our society and what we are going through at the moment, I cannot but be reminded of an often-told story about the conversation Abraham Lincoln had with one of his general. It is said that on being asked ‘Do you think God is on our side?’ Abraham Lincoln replied,Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right.”We need a leader who will not only lead us back along Godly path, but will also lead us to be on God’s side to establish God’s Kingdom here on earth, in God’s way.

 

It is scientific knowledge that the period of rotation and revolution of the moon are the same on account of which we get to see only one side of the moon from the earth, the side that reflects the sun and is, therefore, bright though the moon has no light of its own. It also means that there is the other side of the moon which we never get to see and is always dark. Drawing analogy from this, Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon album talks about certain aspects of life which is always with us but of which we never care to notice or even think about. In short, it is about a different perspective on certain aspects of life, such as, time, money, social divide, etc. The album concludes with the song titled “Eclipse” and the last line of the lyrics reads “…All that's to come and everything under the sun is in tune but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.”In concluding the album a voice speaks out,"There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact it's all dark."As I ponder over what we are going through as a community and what we will face in the near future, I am filled with a sense of fear and unease at the prospect of this concluding line becoming prophetic. When all the hurlyburly’s done, when the election’s lost or won, will we end up resigning to a fate of concluding that “matter of fact it’s all the same people and nothing new”? My prayer is that God will give us a leader whose virtue and mettle will be tested and he will come through because the eternal God has always been his foundation.

 

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THROUGH THE FIRE

By The Crabb Family

 

So many times I question certain circumstances

And things I could not understand.

Many times in trials my weakness blurs my vision

And that's when my frustration gets so out of hand.

It's then I am reminded, I've never been forsaken.

I've never had to stand one test alone.

As I look at all the victories, the Spirit rises up in me.

And It's through the fire my weakness is made strong.

 

He never promised that the cross would not get heavy

And the hill would not be hard to climb.

He never offered a victory without fighting.

He said help would always come in time.

Just remember when you're standing in the valley of decision

And the advisory says give in, Just hold on.

Our Lord will show up (Yeah)

And He will take you through the fire again

 

I know within myself that I would surely perish

If I trust the hand of God, He'll shield the flame again.

 

He never promised that the cross would not get heavy

And the hill would not be hard to climb.

He never offered a victory without fighting.

He said help would always come in time.

Just remember when you're standing in the valley of decision

And the advisory says give in, Just hold on.

Our Lord will show up (Yeah)

And He will take you through the fire again

 

Just hold on

Our Lord will show up (Yeah)

And He will take you through the fire again