The enemy in Our Hearts
To start with, I think the best place to look at is history, or in other words the Bible. We are all very much familiar with the famous stories of the Bible and of God choosing for himself a special people, freed them from the bondage of Egypt and took them to the promised land – a land that flow with honey and milk !!! What a wonderful land.
We also see, or rather read how God split the red sea into two to make a dry passage for his people to walk on, how he fed them with manna from heaven and even protected them from their sworn enemies. Even with all the enumerated provisions and interventions, it wasn’t an easy journey.
God took his people through the desert, in the “wilderness” and wilderness in the correct meaning of the word is another name for harshness, cruelty, wasteland just to name but a few. In fact God took his people through a very harsh environment, through a very cruel weather. And as you read the Bible stories you are suddenly confronted with this contradiction: Why did God who is mighty and supernatural subjected these poor people to this cruelty, can he not simply take them overnight to the Promised Land?
Here is some explanation from Bible scholars and it says: “that God took his people through the wilderness in order to expose to them the wilderness of their own hearts”.
Many people did died in the desert, whereas they could just follow the instructions and survived, for example one time they did wrong and God sent them serpents. Many were bitten by the serpents because of their wrongdoings (wilderness of their hearts). For God to save them he told Moses to erect a bronze serpent with the instructions that anybody who is bitten by a serpent can survive only if he\she looked to the erected bronze serpent, alas many died without looking to the serpent, the scholars called it disobedience. But after all it was their choice, look at the bronze serpent and be saved or don’t look at the bronze serpent and die. It all has to do with the attitude of the heart.
At least this explanation makes some sense, especially if you can relate it to the way of life the Israelites were living in Egypt or more correctly in the hands of the Egyptians. They had been enslaved, broken, exploited and marginalized. The Israelites were in a constant state of need, of lack, of insufficiency and all these long years had altered to some extent the social fabric, it had given birth to greed, to selfishness as well as leaving a big vacuum. This vacuum is very evident socially, economically and even culturally.
Southern Sudanese fought for the last twenty or more years to attain their basic rights, to simply enjoy the milk and honey that flows in their land. And as they fight for the attainment of their rights the southern society in large has lose some of its values, culture and customs that have been neglected or weaken over the course of the long fight. Good enough one enemy is defeated and as the peace is signed, we had done away with the first enemy which is war and destruction, but the worse enemy is not yet handled, it will very soon show its ugly head and sad enough this enemy is in our hearts. It’s the corruption, greed, selfishness and the like.
It grips me with fear to find out that Southerners Sudanese are more vulnerable now during the CPA then they were when they were being bomb, killed, looted etc. they are more vulnerable now because of the wilderness of their own hearts. There is a potential risk now that a big majority now can simply and easily sell their birth right, sometimes in exchange for a political post or just for a piece of bread.
What could be expected from somebody who had fought for more than 20 years without leading a decent life or even have access to his basic needs, is that person not prone to selling his birth right. We are in a very hot soup unless we take extreme care.
Therefore, southerners should take care and handle properly this ferocious enemy in our hearts. We should get rid of poverty and selfishness and the like from our hearts. It is the only way if we are to survive and see a bright future for south Sudan, otherwise, all the blunders that we did or are about to do will only help to show or expose the wilderness of our hearts.
Stephen Chol Mayak
NRC Office Rumbek
10th Sept. 2005
Time: 11:58 am