By Alexander Redd
We are clamoring for lasting change in Liberia, and hoping that we change the way and manner in which we treat each other and focus on uniting our efforts to rebuild our country. It’s a fact that we have experienced many turbulent course of historical events that divide us rather than unite us as one people under one nation and one GOD. Despite our past failures, it is never too late to step up in the spirit of oneness, and a sense of purpose, to accomplish goals that will lead to genuine national reconciliation and development. We are hoping and praying for good governance in every strata of societal institutions – such as the national government, church, and other private and public functionaries that exude goodwill and friendship. Moreover, we anticipate a robust and effective economy that provides opportunities for investments and jobs as well as restoration of great family life.
It is crucial that we begin to learn and practice the essence of godly principles and values upon which Liberia was fundamentally established. While we may fathom the reality of genuine change to enhance quality of life, the problem is that too many people are looking to the government for solutions. They believe the government can save them from all woes of life. And because of that, they see the ballot box as a way out in the election of public officials. Thus, putting their hope in the political realm. But God warns us about what happens when we put our hope in kings (I Samuel 6:8-18). There is no salvation in such thing as government (Judges 8:22-23). Authentic change in Liberia begins with trust in God.
In oneness of spirit and sense of purpose, framers of the Liberian Constitution realized that “survival” of the Republic of Liberia depended on the omnipotence of God and His character, according to Preamble of the Constitution: “Acknowledging our devout gratitude to God for our existence as a Free, Sovereign and Independent State, and relying on His Divine Guidance for our survival as a nation.” The framers not only acknowledged and accepted the certainty that only upon the reliance on God can we survive as one nation under “His guidance,” they provided the premise for invoking God as the only anchor upon which Liberia shall stand: that we as a people of “one common body politic have had many experiences during the course of our national existence which culminated in the Revolution of April 12, 1980.”
Realizing that “His Guidance” is our hope to survive the terrible experiences of the past, present, and future, then our attitude of inertia and neglect of godly principles and values must inevitably change. Why have we abandoned these indelible imprints that are imbued with the character of Christian heritage? The framers were theists with a theistic worldview, knowing that “We the People” firmly established Liberia upon the watchful eyes and guiding light of God. Our failure to learn from the painful course of national history and neglect of “His Divine Guidance” culminated into the 1980 revolution and the dastardly civil war. These unfortunate historical events caused a seismic generation of cultural change that chipped away godly principles and values upon which Liberia was established. Therefore, Liberia finds itself entangled in spiritual battles that hamstring national unity, progress, and development. The absolute truth of “His Guidance” is missing, and we seem to have lost trust, authentic love, and respect for the dignity in each other. Our country is not at its worst, but far from its best. Only together in oneness of spirit and heart that we shall rebuild the fundamental cultural principles and values for which we were established as a nation-state. How do we rebuild our homeland, so that we can experience authentic change and genuine progress in every aspect of life?
You can be an agent of change by doing what Christ Jesus metaphorically said in Matthew 5: “You are the light of the world,” He tells His disciples (v.14). Light has one purpose: to shine. That’s all it does. Of course, the world is dark, and we can expect it to be so, because the world is contaminated with sin. That is why it is not the light. We are the light, so Lord Jesus Christ tells us. He has given us the light of his life that shines in the dark. Christ declares emphatically that the light is “you” who confessed, repented of your sins, and wholeheartedly accepted Him as your Savior and Lord. Therefore, when it comes to giving light, it is Christians like you and me and nobody else. Just likened us to “a city set on a hill that cannot be hidden.” It is like buildings that were emblazoned with white limestone, so that they would reflect the light of the moon in those biblical days. Travelers knew they were approaching a city when they saw reflection of a building on top of a hill. Since many cities were built on higher elevation of hills, white limestone made them easily visible from afar.
We are called by God to shine as the beacon of light. He wants us visibly represent him in every strata of society. We are cautioned never to hide our light under a basket (v.15). Our spiritual light needs to be put up high so the beam can reach as far as possible. There is no room for “secret agent” Christians. We are not called to be the spiritual “light” to effect change and, at the same time, be covert political operatives. During a political campaign season, people will publicly announce who they are for by placing placards in their yards, affixing bumper stickers on their cars, wearing pins on their shirts, among other things. They do this all the while knowing that some people will accept them and some people will reject them. Yet that reality does not stop their advertising or their public alignment with where they belong based on their choice. They are not ashamed to show the side they represent or support.
The same should be true for us. We need to be clear in our boldness as Christians. For that reason, Jesus said in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Glorify means “to show off.” It means to make God look good, to display His goodness to the world. Jesus said the way we glorify God is by our good works. Sinners can do good things like build hospitals and orphanages. They can feed the poor, and so forth. However, sinners cannot do good works in the biblical sense. What’s the difference between good things and good works? Good works are God’s goals achieved through God’s way for God’s glory based on God’s Word that benefits people. The Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 2:10, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. “Good works are God-created works. They are not things we can make up on our own.
We find God-created good works as we become disciples of His Word: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:6-17). Apostle Paul tells Timothy in this passage that scriptural discipleship equips us to live a life of good works. We need committed Christians who are tired of the status quo, and who want God to use them to turn things around in Liberia. The time is now! No excuses or delays! If it’s not you, then who? And if not now, then when?
My brothers and sisters of the faith, our decaying culture needs the church of Jesus Christ. The church must wake up to the reality of Christ’s sacrificial atonement that established the church. Knowing such reality as the basis for our light of life, we must shine to overcome the dark world of evil that has engulfed Liberia. The church must be the church. It is not enough to profess the name of Christ Jesus. God wants us to visibly represent him. Our decaying culture needs committed disciples of Christ-followers to effect change through “His Divine Guidance,” which the Liberian Constitution has invoked for the sake of survival and progress of our homeland.
Alexander Redd ([email protected]), is a servant of Christ and Christian theologian at Gracious Hope Bible Fellowship. He hosts the Gracious Hope Fellowship TV program on Kmtv Live every Saturday @ 3:00 pm CST and 8 pm Liberian time.