When a person comes into a community with this sort of mind set, the people will receive him with skeptical smiles while adopting a wait and see attitude. His first day in the community will be a tough day. If he has elementary psychology, through his observations and critical distances from his new community he will know that there is something going wrong. He will be searching his mind often to see if he had offended any one. But how could he offend anyone when he has just arrived in his new community? Is it because his first address provoked them? Or is it that his first speech renewed the wounds of the past. People are all different. The new leader must have been living in a limbo of uncertainty not knowing what to do with his new people.
If he is a reflective thinker, he must engage himself with different questions! First of all, why am I not welcomed? Warm welcome to a community creates good friendship, good neighbourliness. It helps to affirm the stranger in the new community. It makes him establish trust in the people he is going to serve. It helps him test their sincerity and honesty. It helps him know the community he is going to serve. He will know if the community is hospitable and spiritual. Propaganda and biased information from people outside can help to poison the people. But a community with mindset will not have these wonderful characteristics.
They are already biased, fed with unspiritual food, nourished by hearsay and gossips. They live with statements given to them by a biased enemy whom they think is their friend. This so called friend may have a “hidden agenda” for setting this community on fire and making them have such a mindset over a person they don’t even know or lived with. Before his arrival the people have concluded that he is a bad man and a tough man. The man who sets fire on the community is like Nero who set first on Rome and blamed the Romans because he didn’t want to take responsibility. When we have enemies whom we cannot conquer, we form cliques to help us fight such enemies. This group may also be called factions. They are friends who fight the enemy of their friends.
This faction does not really want to know whether they are fed on false information or not. They just want to make a victim of the man because their friend sees him as a bad man. Judging without facts to back up with what we have heard creates a divided community. How can a civilized man accept such a garbage, un-researched information? A part of the community with Jesus yardsticks will have the patience to verify and watch to see if this man sent to us is really what we were told. It takes time! When they know that they were fed on false information, they try to pull out from those who spread hatred and confusion in the community.
They come to know that your enemy is not their enemy. There is only one common enemy; the devil. We shouldn’t as Christians convince our neighbour to be on our side to fight someone we don’t love or like because of certain misunderstandings we allowed to linger on for a long time. Many people have become victims by fighting and destroying the enemies of their so-called friends. Spiritually speaking, the person you are told to fight may not really be bad. The man made him an enemy because he isn’t on the same spiritual wave-length with him. Perhaps he wants to cut corners but he refused. He wants freedom; he refused. He that stops you from doing what you want becomes your enemy. He confronted you but you did not want to change.
Then what type of Christian are you, spreading the Gospel of mistrust. Selfishness creates enmity. Recruiting people to fight such imaginary wars destabilizes people. It makes nonsense of values. Those who don’t want to live by the Jesus values that confront them every day cause confusion. They know that confusion is sin. They know that sowing seeds of hatred is sin. They know that making people reject the leaders is a sin. They know that this type of mindset discourages both spiritual and material developments. Interestingly such people are fade-away Christians. The agents of discord in the community may not be in the community but operates from outside. This group that comes once in a while is nourished by false information.
They don’t want the community to have peace and development. All these are bad politics. The agent of destabilization hopes to have his own peaceful community and development but wouldn’t like others to be peaceful. This is nothing but bad politics; a way of putting the community down. Putting a community leader down is pulling down the whole community. A community inspired by God and Jesus values will not wait for someone to define or point out an enemy for them. It only takes Jesus to wipe away the mindset people have for others. Having a mindset isn’t healthy. It is not even socially healthy to have such a mindset.
It is a pollution of the mind with unspiritual stuffs that bring hatred and division. A community whose mindset stagnates, such a community with mindset rejoices at the down fall of its perceived enemy. In fact, it needs spiritual rebranding to get out such structure of the mind for it enslaves such a community. Such community cannot sing “our Father” properly at liturgical celebrations when we are supposed to be celebrating our oneness, at Mass. Christian community is good but they should not allow themselves to be seduced by those who do not respect the values of Jesus. There are those who come to Church but they are not looking for Jesus but to create problems. We must handover what is good to our children. That is legacy, not a legacy of negative mindset.
• Very Rev. Msgr. Livinus Ukah is a Catholic Priest, Author of many books and a social Justice and Peace Advocate.