You might wonder and ask “Who is this Alexander the Coppersmith? This story is from 2 Timothy chapter 4 verses 14-15. Paul an apostle of Jesus spoke out vehemently of a destroyer of the gospel and community; Alexander the Coppersmith. He was a thorn on his flesh. We all know who Paul is; an erudite scholar, a Persecutor of Christians who miraculously encountered Jesus on his way to Damascus. His Damascus experience changed his life and made him have a brand new life. He is the one talking about Alexander the Coppersmith; a man who didn’t know his onions. He came into the ministry with a hidden agenda as Judas did. Paul, being an outspoken man, without mincing words, expressed how he felt about this man with a flawed script who came to bring a divide in the community of Christ. Instead of uniting, he brought divisiveness and was spreading falsehood instead of the truth of the gospel.
He started by attacking Paul, who sincerely left all else and followed his divine master without turning back. What was the anthropology behind this negative thinking? Had he enough Theology? Had he enough wherewithal to raise this falsehood in the community of Christ? Did he know what the gospel stood for? Did he come to the ministry with ulterior motive? Why was he acting out the script in him? We noticed it in that chapter where Paul voiced out to the community without prejudice, the harm he had done to the great apostle. Paul said “Alexander the Coppersmith has done me a lot of harm: The Lord will repay him for what he has done” After saying this, Paul added “Be on your guard against him yourselves because he has been bitterly contesting everything that we say”. You can see that he didn’t come with the right motive but as a contender. Paul discovered him in time.
He raised an alarm to let the community know the kind of person he was made up of. From this story, we can know the script of Alexander the Coppersmith who pretended to be with Paul and others while in reality, he was an outsider in things pertaining to the gospel. Alexander the Coppersmith is a typical example of a person who wants Jesus but really does not want him. He was a man full of contradictions and leading others to be like him. He was a Rebel! His mind was somewhere else. He could not work with others, not even his master because he did not respect the hierarchy. He was not qualified to be a follower of Jesus when he could not respect the authorities. If we examine ourselves properly, we can see the Alexander the Coppersmith in us. Many of us hide under the umbrella of being in a group but there we undermine the group because of our flawed scripts.
We may be there to look for power and position. When we fail to get it, we create hell for the entire group. We pretend to be good Christians to work in the Church, while many don’t have spiritual eyes to know who we really are. We may have gifts that make people admire us, but deep down, those gifts do not convey spirituality to people because we don’t live the life of the gospel. We might be deceived that people love who we are in the community but the community is deceitful to confront our rottenness. When we act, they laugh and clap hands. Everything is social not spiritual just like when we go to the cinemas, we laugh at the absurdity of life the Actors portray in the film. Some Actors portray their real lives in the movies but the audience might think they are just acting.
The heroes we have today are not spiritual heroes but social heroes. Little children see them as special people but they lack spirituality. Is the community ready to rate those who seek positions in the Church? Do they see spiritual merit in them or allow them to loaf with no spiritual lives in them? Do we allow them to discredit men of God like Paul while deep down they do not know the Jesus they came to look for? Do we allow them to influence the community with bizarre values, values that are not Christo-centric but lack Christian ethics in what they do in life?
We Christians of the 21st century lack something Paul in us; the ability to speak out courageously to help a person who feels that he is good but not. We need to be Apostles of courage not apostles of compromise. Finally, look out for Alexander the Coppersmiths in your communities, organizations, Institutions, Church groups/Societies etc. and handle them as Paul did otherwise they will infest the whole community with an odious virus. Very Rev Monsignor Livinus Ukah