The battle between good and evil never ends. That much is undeniable.
It means that wherever there are efforts to do good; we can be absolutely sure the forces of evil will also be at work.
It’s the way life is. It cannot be any other way.
If ever there is a moment when goodness is the only thing we see, we might not be living in this world anymore. If you believe in heaven, it might be the only place where that might be possible.
In the meantime, the reality is that as long as we live in these carnal bodies, we will always be the subject – and victims - of the battle between good and evil.
It’s because we are vulnerable, we are mortal and as human beings we are susceptible to temptations and weaknesses of the flesh.
This partly explains why we are experiencing so many problems today.
When we stop to ponder for a minute or two, we will find that we live in a world fraught with difficulties and challenges. Yes there are also lots of blessings.
Unfortunately, it seems as if there are problems everywhere we look.
The only consolation is that we are not alone. You see, most of our problems are universal. They are global challenges even the biggest and wealthiest of countries are struggling with.
We are struggling with unemployment, poverty, deteriorating health statistics, economic hardship, crime rate, environmental issues, spiritual challenges and so forth. But these are global challenges. They are not Samoa only issues.
But here is a thing. They exist because somewhere somehow we opened the door to allow them to exist. In Samoa today, most of the problems we are confronted with are a reflection of a seed that was sown somewhere. It is also a reflection of how poor these issues have been handled.
Take unemployment for instance. We can never address unemployment unless the government is serious about creating an enabling environment where the private sector will flourish to truly function as the engine of economic growth. As long as corruption and collusion are allowed so that favouritism dictates the way government handles certain multi-million-tala contracts, the private sector will never flourish. Despite the efforts, it will continue to struggle.
Poverty is another challenge. It is poverty that is responsible for the sharp climb in our crime figures as well as violence within families and communities.
Folks, let’s not kid ourselves, hurt people will always hurt others. Fathers who cannot make ends meet and raise enough money to feed their multiple children will end up abusing their wives. We can talk all we like about different solutions to family violence but at the end of the day, we will have to address the domestic issues at home that leads to instances of wanton violence against women and children we’ve become quite accustomed to seeing.
How do we address the question of poverty of opportunities, money and sometimes food that inevitably leads to violence and the unwanted abuse we are struggling to cope with?
We can ask the same questions about all the other problems we’ve highlighted here.
Now someone once told me that if we want to make our problems small, we should magnify the solutions. It makes sense.
We say this because if we continue to magnify these problems and declare that we cannot overcome them, we will always be bogged down and end up being defeated by them.
But we are not on this earth to be losers. You were created to be victorious, we were created to come up with solutions and as we’ve said so often in this newspaper, it is our response that matters. There will always be problems but together we can rise above it all. We are overcomers.
And in times like this, we need to look to our strengths to begin with.
We need to use our very own social structures and the pillars of our community to mount our defense. Do not be ignorant, we are at war. It is the war between good and evil. The scriptures say for we are not fighting against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world.
It demands that we use the right weapons. Spiritual warfare dictates our response to be spiritual. We cannot have it any other way. And in this regard, we need to look to the churches. Where are they? What are they doing? What is their response? If the spiritual morale of the country is decaying, the church has a moral obligation to react. How? By magnifying the solution and the only solution is shining the light of God into these dark places.
What about the cultural challenges?
Our response should be cultural. It should start from the individual chiefs in families and then the villages. We need to look to our cultural systems to begin the process of finding ourselves again. Our own indigenous reference is there, nobody knows this better than ourselves.
It’s ironic that some of our strengths are also our weaknesses but that is okay. We need to start somewhere. And we must be strong enough to persevere even when the results don’t look very promising.
The fact of the matter is that there are consequences for everything that we do – whether it’s in private or public. It goes without saying that what we sow is what we reap. Some other people put it this way, what goes around comes around.
Somewhere somehow a bad seed was sown so that we are now paying the ultimate price. It includes the violence, young people misbehaving, sexual immorality, spiritual decay and the corruption that’s been allowed to flourish uncontested.
These have hurt us, quite badly too. Think of the poor people who cry on their pillows in their sleep at night. During the day, their bitter sweat drops onto the soil as they yearn for a better life. Something in the spiritual realm is being shifted by all this pain and suffering. And one day there will be true justice.
But let’s not wait until then. You have a role, we all have a role to play. What’s encouraging is that in midst of all these problems, there are many wonderful initiatives that should make the difference. These initiatives are a ray of hope.
As a community, let’s rise up. Let’s do what we can to turn things around.
It’s not easy but it can be done. In the words of 2 Chronicles 7:14 it says: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Meditate on it and then do your part. We all have a role. This is our country, it belongs to us. Have a great Friday Samoa, God bless!