All we need is love
The two greatest of the commandments that Christ affirmed to humanity while on earth are: love God and love your neighbour as yourself. Love is the very nature of God, and the greatest of the Christian virtues. Attributes of love include patience, kindness, protection, trusting, hoping, and persevering. Love is not envious, boastful, proud, rude, self-seeking, easily angered, a recorder of wrongs or take delight in evil. The Bible in I John 4:8, says that, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” Now, every one of the Ten Commandments has direct bearing on love. If you love God, you will respect Him, and if you truly have regard for Him, you will not want to offend Him by disobeying His directives. Now, no one has seen God physically, though we all see the works of His hands on a daily basis. How do we show our love for God?
It is by respecting His creation: humans, animals, and nature. When we show adequate regard for all of creation, we are able to tell God that our love for Him is genuine and not borne out of pretence.
We are all aware that our country is going through turbulent times. But the truth of the matter is that we are where we are today because we fail to love our neighbours as ourselves. How? When we oppress others, or appropriate for ourselves and families things meant for all, then we are not faithful to God and our neighbours. Take the case of prevailing fuel scarcity; it is caused by our greed and selfishness. We have few individuals who are gaining so much from the impunity in the land. We cannot move forward as a nation, unless we learn to respect and accommodate one another. Those who oppress others with their wealth are ignorant and need help. They forget that wealth cannot give true happiness. Rather, when you help those in need, you will enjoy a sense of fulfilment that money cannot buy.
We are a praying nation. We love to taunt our religion to whoever cares to listen. But are we truly living out the tenets of our belief? What is the essence of calling yourself a Christian, when in practice you are not good a Samaritan to your neighbour? What is the essence of contributing so much to the building of your local Church, when you cannot even assist your poor neighbours who have little or nothing to feed on? Why do we like to pretend before our pastors, when in our family lives we are terrors to our wives and children? We have reached to a state where we have to tell ourselves some gospel truth. Nigeria can only move forward when we begin to truly love and respect ourselves. We must begin to be our brother’s keeper. All the kidnapping and killings around us would be no more, if we realise that we must be our brother’s keeper. Don’t say it does not concern me. Don’t say because it is happening in Borno or Kano it has no bearing on me. No. We all have equal stake in the happiness and tragedies that befall humanity, because we are all children of the Most High God.
When there is true love, those in public office would not steal and loot from our collective wealth. There would be no need for favouritism in appointments, neither would there be any need to offer and receive bribes. When there is love, the armed robber would have no need to rob before surviving because he knows that his God-given talents would help provide all his needs. Truly, love is the tonic that we need to move forward. My prayer today is that we all learn to begin to truly love one another by showing more empathy. It is by so doing that the oppressive spirit of greed; anger and other negative vices plaguing our nation can flee for good.
Very Rev. Msgr. Osu, Director, Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos.
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