We live in a world of changing what is called truth to suit our purpose. We don’t take time to analyze things and situations; we rush to accept them which later bring out disastrous consequences. It leads to a life without meaning and purpose. The only meaningful life is the life of Christ. It is not a life outside Jesus. The word of God is beyond garbage in and garbage out because the word of God is the word of eternal life. To have eternal life is to re-root ourselves in Jesus who is the way, the truth and the life. Either you embrace Jesus or have your life devoid of meaning, a frustrated life, a dead life, a life you will regret later. Look at what is happening in Nigeria today. Is that really life? Politics has polarized our lives and politicians are garbaging in and garbaging out, causing confusion. We do not know our brothers anymore. Anybody who is not called Adebayo, Chinedu or Abubakar is not our brother. God did not teach us this but politics has taught us how to differentiate and become tribalistic. When you garbage the truth out of your life and garbage in what you like, you will be the loser. When you allow the devil to toss you up and down you miss the real way that leads to Jesus.
The devil is a rebel. Our life here on earth is a life that should be lived in accordance with the values of Jesus. We cannot garbage out Jesus values and replace them with our own. From the gospel of Jesus we cannot take what we like and drop what we do not like. Politics has garbaged our lives and togetherness. You cannot garbage out the truth you dislike without mutilating or distorting the word of God. When you do that it is no longer the truth. It becomes something else. When we destroy the truth of the gospel; we destroy ourselves. (Read: Rev. 22: 18-19). How do we destroy the truth of the gospel? It is when we give false meaning to it. It is when we falsify the truth. It is when we do not allow the word of God to take root in us. It is when we do not allow the truth of the gospel to rule our lives. It is when we dismiss the truth with a wave of hand and assign meaning other than that intended by Jesus Christ. We become somebody else. You better accept the gospel the way Christ intended it. Pentecostalism is another way of garbaging in and garbaging out the gospel for ulterior motives. They play on the psyche of their congregation and playing on their needs to get them closer. This is a sort of manipulation. The man of today prefers to garbage the message of Jesus in and out. He takes away what frightens him in the message and feels some cold comfort. That is why he fights any person who reminds him of his sins and his life. Many Nigerians are becoming neutral to truth.
The problem of their brothers is no longer their concerns anymore. That is a political attitude. When one part of Nigeria is suffering it should affect others because we should be a part of humanity. Today where one comes from affects the way they see and feel about him. It affects our daily lives and denies us of opportunities and our “Nigerianess”. When truth is given a twist; it will cause harm to the community and dislocate people. Distorted truth will enfeeble the people. The truth that favors you and does not favor others is not really truth. It is a man’s construct. Truth that is doctored creates division in the Body of Christ. Fabricating lies and spreading it in the community is like spreading wild fire or virus. The harm it does to the community lies in the hands of the fabricators. No one can garbage out the truth because the truth always points its accusing fingers to the evil doer. Political truth is affecting us today but we do not know that politics without morality is a nonsense bargaining. Truth remains truth even if you try to destroy the defender of the truth. When you kill a man that speaks the truth, never feel comfortable that the truth is dead. Truth is eternal. E nor dey die! The Pharisees tried to destroy Jesus but they could not destroy the truth because the truth cannot be destroyed. Anyone who garbages Jesus out of his life pays dearly for it because it is the truth that sets us free. Truth must be spoken to enable us to be free; otherwise, we enslave ourselves to the devil who is the father of falsehood.
What does it profit us if we tell lies to dislocate others, destroy their good names, rubbish them, and accuse them of things they did not say? Why do we garbage out the truth from the history books written by others? Why are the names of enemies of humanity not written in capital letters in such books? Why continue to garbage in and garbage out? Today, priests who say the truth as it is are adjudged mean by the society as was the case with Jesus. Imagine the weakness of man. Pilate handed Jesus to the crowd who tossed him up and down. People could say anything they like to Jesus. Everything was aimed at discrediting Jesus, reducing his self-esteem, making people not to trust him including those he cured and brought meaning to their lives. The reason behind all those things was that Jesus prevented them from oppressing people and continued to falsify the truth. He destroyed their hidden agenda. The same thing is happening today. We are living in a world of revenge and envy and it is destroying the modern man. If you cannot reach him in his high achievements, why do you hate him? That is politics! Do you see how politics is creeping into our society to mess us up? Achievers should be admired because they promote the economy of the country.
Nobody is born to rule. It should be on merit and not a dish out otherwise you mess up your country. You must stop garbaging all these out to the society. The society should not be seen as a society of morons that can accept garbage. It is a society of men of knowledge who worked hard to make it to the top and patriotic. It should not be a society that thinks that primitive accumulation of wealth is a symbol of real wealth. Did Jesus not say that the reproaches they made on me fall on you too? Who are they if not His ministers of today? To garbage out ministers of today because they preach the truth of the Gospel is to garbage out Him that sent them. That is the same way politicians garbage out those who preach the truth in the society. Shall we continue living on false truths, demarcating the world and continue to live in crises; political, economic and moral crises ravaging us here and now?
• Very Rev. Msgr. Livinus Ukah is a Catholic Priest, author of many books and a Social Justice and Peace Advocate.