‘Because our leaders don’t love us’
As we continue with intensive search for purposeful and dynamic leadership for our great country that failure of leadership continues to diminish, let’s step aside this week from analysing prominent but insignificant issues and switch to some significant ones that can guide our search and even prayer points – for good leaders at all levels.
It is indeed surprising that since 1983 when an oracle called Chinua Achebe looked into the seed of time and proclaimed that for his country to make progress, the citizens had to deal with the then incipient crisis of leadership. This is the way Professor Achebe succinctly put it 35 years ago in his little book titled, The trouble with Nigeria: “The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership”.
Sadly, the struggle for servant leadership continues till date. And curiously, we have ended up in what Chris Ali, a General and former Chief of Army Staff calls a “Federal Republic of the Nigerian Army” in a remarkable book. There is no doubt anymore that the 57-years-old republic is not recording any significant progress. Unfortunately, most us (analysts) are even bogged down by the spirit of fear. And so instead of telling the leader that the country he has been leading is fast failing and increasing the black man’s burden, we have been artfully dodging and blaming cabals and yesterday’s actors for our peculiar mess. Sadly, these shenanigans and peccadilloes we have failed to highlight, will not remove the reproach and hardships that the citizens have been facing.
So, let’s face some reality this week too and borrow a leaf from the spiritual man we recently referred to here. After reviewing some literature and listening to some “deep who are calling to the deep” about this our wonderful country (it is well with the country) I am fully persuaded that our leaders at all levels lack quality, some deep ones will call a gift of the spirit called Love. I mean here that our leaders simply do not love us. From their manifestations, they hate us and they are shamelessly distorting facts. They are using a genre of modern weapon of mass distortion – the media to impose a strange law called “hate speech” to prevent us from telling them that they actually hate us. Yes, they don’t love us. And that is why there is so much agony in the land of our birth. Here is why?
Writing on Purifying Love Like Gold, Robert Elias Najemy notes that, “Love is a word used in many contexts. It can mean anything from lust, desire or attachment to romantic love or the highest spiritual love”.
But then it is also clear that the purity of our love can only be measured by the happiness it brings us. When we suffer because of our so called “love,”, Najemy posits that this means that it is not yet pure. It is mixed with ignorance, need, attachment, fear, lust, expectation, dependency or other mental states. These are always the real causes of our suffering when our love is not pure.
Love, then, is like the gold ore, which is dug up from the earth. It is mixed with other minerals. We need to heat it up and melt it so that we can separate it from the other unwanted substances.
Our relationships with people close to us are the fires, which help us to purify our love. Every time we feel hurt, anger, fear, resentment, bitterness, hate, jealousy, disillusionment or any other negative feeling, it is because our love is mixed with expectation, dependency, need, attachment or fear. We believe that our needs are in danger of not being satisfied. When this happens, our “love” turns to hurt, disappointment, fear, loneliness, inferiority, or bitterness, and sometimes, anger, hate, rage and desire for revenge.
Another legend, Dr. Benito F. Reyes, a Filipino academic and founder of World University, Ojai, California while contributing to the discussion points on “The Power of Love” in 1955 said the story of civilization may sometimes be conveniently summarized as the story of man’s unabating search for more and more sources of power.Dr. Reyes argued then that almost every major movement in the history of human progress was brought about by the unlocking of some mighty source of power in nature.
Accordingly, these include the power of the wind, the power of water in motion, the power locked up in coal and in oil, steam power, magnetic power, electric power, and now, atomic power. Man has tapped them all and harnessed them to the service of his needs and his desires. He has learned, in fact, to use even the mysterious power of thought, as shown by its increasing employment in war and peace.
But wait for this Dr. Reyes’ clincher: There is one power, however, which people, in general, have not learned to use at all, or have refused, somehow, to use, in solving their individual as well as collective problems. This is the power of love. Either they have no faith in it, or they do not know how to use it effectively.
One reason for poor understanding of the power that love gives probably, is that most people usually identify love with sex. As a consequence of this wrong attitude, they lose contact with its higher dimensions and superior possibilities, and thus find themselves unable to release its hidden and inexhaustible stores of energy. These people do not know that sex is but one of the many possible expressions of love, and that love has powers more abundant, more profound, and more significant than the power of procreation or the propagation of the species.
In the same vein, when Jesus told his disciples to love their enemies, he was not giving them, as some of us might suppose, a piece of stupid, even impossible, advice. On the contrary, he was telling them to use the greatest, most irresistible, power in the universe – the power of love. He did not advocate the use of any kind of physical or material force. He very clearly advocated the use of the spiritual force of love. He knew very well that most men would counter hate with hate. That is the ordinary way: the way of the natural man we just contrasted with the spiritual man. That is the human way. In advising the employment of love against hate, however, he underscored and advertised a new technique. This new strategy would seek to tap for man’s use of an inexhaustible source of power – the heart of God himself.
This extraordinary way would release from the depths of human personality, where God is, the power of love for use in the solution of human problems.
Some of us might think that loving our enemies is just some kind of moral strategy. The truth, however, is that it is not just a bit of moralism. In fact, it is technology of the highest order. It is spiritual technology. It is human engineering at its best.
Iconic Reyes, would like us to note too that people should not think that love is just a sentiment good for poetry or for novels. How easy it is to forget that love is a law as inescapable in the world of human relations as gravitation is in the world of physical objects.
But it is precisely just that – an inexorable law of thought and emotion the violation of which can bring about broken hearts and broken lives just as the violation of the law of gravitation can bring about broken arms and broken legs. Being a law, its operation involves energy transformation.
What is more, the energy of love is the most unique kind of energy in the universe. It is creative. It is intelligent. And it is wise. Its transformations are the very expression of the Divine Mind itself. It fills the entire universe, but its mightiest seat of operation is in the heart of man. Every object in nature manifests, but man and man alone can manipulate it by the use of his mind and thus demonstrate the workings of God’s mind.
This energy of love, this power of love, which is the very energy of creation itself, is the technique which Jesus advised his disciples to use when he told them to “Love your enemies.” That is also why any manager, any leader that love overwhelms and empowers can never fail.
In fact, it is a very ancient technique among those who have discovered that God is love, as the fourth gospel very clearly states.All the great teachers of humanity from the earliest times taught it and demonstrated it in their lives. Buddha, Mahavira, Lao Tzu, Confucius, Zoroaster, Nanak, Mohammed, St. Paul—to mention only a few—all declared in varying ways that love is the law as well as the fulfilling of the law and that without it no peace, no happiness, no perfection is possible.
It is pretty obvious, however, that very few people, despite the weight of Christ’s authority behind it, believe in the technique of “Love your enemies.” Most of us think it too much to expect of mere man. But that is just the point. Christ did not for one moment assume that we are just mere men. He said very strongly that we have the power to become sons of God, if only we had faith in him and in the power of love he demonstrated. A little thought is sufficient to convince us that it is the power of love, which enables man to rise above his human limitations and perform superhuman feats, whether it be the love of truth, which impels scientists to never-ceasing research, or the energy of passion which creates literature or music, or erects an awesome monument.
Love has many powers. Let us begin with the more obvious ones. Love has the power to create happiness. This fact is so common an experience to most people that it is not even necessary to mention it. And if the happiness it creates is sometimes short-lived, the reason probably is that the love that creates it is still imperfect or unclean. This is the truth that no propaganda can successfully assail.
Which is why experts in this area feel it is trite to say that the scarcity of happiness among many people is due to the corresponding scarcity of love among them. It is also commonplace to say that the unhappy man is almost invariably also an unloving man.We forget that selfishness is almost always at the root of all unhappiness and that love, unselfish love, is the basis of all happiness. The man who says, “I am unhappy,” actually proclaims to the world what he would be ashamed to admit openly, namely, that he is selfish. To be happy it is necessary to love, and to love truly it is necessary to be completely unselfish. Only the unselfish heart is capable of love and only the loving heart is capable of happiness.
***This evergreen reflection first appeared on this page on Sunday March 11, 2018.
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