Straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel. Part I

Dear Editor,

When things are out of control in a nation then it means there is a big problem with the leadership. 

The most difficult thing that was faced by people of Israel before and during the time of Christ was the camel that was swallowed by leaders of Israel and the problems of a gnat that they have left behind unresolved.

In other words, the main problem that was faced by people of Israel was the authority and the leadership style of the leaders of Israel. Jesus called that kind of leadership style as blind guide.

That kind of leadership has really affected the right directions of where Israel should have gone and the destination that Israel should have been.

Therefore, the problem of the left behind as just mentioned above, is not the only problem for the leaders of Israel. The direction and destination are the other ones. They became as other problems for leadership when the leaders of Israel abandoned God. 

Samoa today and its problems are not different from Israel and its problems of those times. Since the introduction of globalisation with its different seeds of co-operations and affiliation aiming to develop our economy and to transform our political and cultural means, it changes every thing in our country especially the leadership style.

Take for instance the strange leadership of the government and its impact on the country.

Because of the development goals of globalisation for the economy, our government’s leadership has shifted its main focus on globalisation and as a result, our country has become more and more isolated. 

The book of (Matthew 23) can enlighten us more about the whole situation about blind leadership, the left behind and the isolation of a nation. It explains the whole scenario about blind leadership, the cause of blind leadership, the problems caused by blind leadership, what has left behind as a result of blind leadership and how Jesus dealt with blind leadership.

Apart from that, we can also discover from the whole scenario the situations about the direction and the destination of Israel.  According to the studies and researches that I took, the blind leadership was leaders of Israel.

The cause of the blind leadership was because of the leaders’ bondage with sin because they did not follow the process or the Law of God. So it was not a fault of Caesar or Rome, it was the fault of the leaders of Israel.

The problems caused by blind leadership are - the desiring and aiming for fame and popularity, adultery, cover-up, misleading and misinforming of people, neglecting of justice (judgment), neglecting of mercy and faithfulness, greed, self-indulgence, hypocrisy, lying, hatred and the ‘straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel’. 

The things were left behind as results of blind leadership are - same mindset of blind leadership, great burdens on shoulders of people of Israel, suffering, wickedness, confusion and having no hope and solution.

The places where the leaders had left the ‘left behind’ were the inside of Israel and the inside of people. Jesus called things were left behind in the given places as - (1) the inside of the cup and plate are full of greed and self-indulgence, (2) the within (inside of tombs) are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness and (3) the within are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

At the end of my studies and researches, I concluded that the summary of the whole scenario is covering in one proverb as in (verse 24) – “You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel”.

That single proverb can explain the full meaning of the whole situation about blind leadership and problems. But, the solution for the whole situation is found in the opposite meaning of the proverb.

So the opposite meaning is this - “You great servants, straining out a camel and swallowing a gnat”.   According to Jesus’ viewpoints about the whole situation, the only concern of leaders of Israel in relation to their leadership style was about the outside or the outward appearance.

If the outside appear clean, beautiful and righteous to people then the inside is also in the same appearance like the outside.

That is, the leadership style was all about leaders, their fame and their reputation. They don’t care about people and their difficulties.

They just abandoned people to be isolated in their own nation. Jesus’ solution for the situation was about the inside first and then the outside.

The leaders must clean the inside or the inward first so that the outside will also appear clean as an impact from inside.  In order for Jesus’ message for the solution (truth) to reach the leaders of Israel and all through out Israel, Jesus did two things.

The first one - He established a new group of leaders known as servants (also known as disciples).

The second one – He faced the leaders head on by preaching to them in crowds and in the presence of His disciples. 

The aim was not about changing or replacing of leaders with disciples or with other followers of Jesus.

The aim was about correcting of people’s wrong thinking or their wrong ways of thinking with the message for the solution (truth). Once they become aware of the truth, then they will be able to identify their wrongs and problems as well as solutions to solve their wrongs and problems. 

Therefore if Jesus’ proverb is applying as a great challenge for leaders then it is going to come out as something like this – “You blind leaders, straining out Samoa and swallowing the world and its globalisation”.

And, the solution is something like this – “You great servants, straining out the world and its globalisation and swallowing Samoa”. By comparison, there is a lesson. That is, the leadership must put emphasis first on difficulties, needs, problems and issues of Samoa and its people and leave association with different co-operations of globalisation until the inside of Samoa and its people are cleaned and sorted.

In order for the leaders to accomplish that important goal for Samoa, the leaders must clean their inside first. Put faith in God and follow the right process as explain in detail later on in my viewpoints about the principle of faith (Part 2 of 2).

If leaders reject the lesson, then the problem of left behind will still remain as a big mess. Rejection of the lesson will also put more and more problems on the globalisation method that the government introduced to smooth the direction of Samoa in order for Samoa to get to a better destination according to the leaders’ expectation. 

The globalisation method about the development of the economy according to its goal suits the need of our country. So the globalisation method for the development of the economy to our leaders was an important opportunity to be embraced.

However, there was a problem as already identified above. The problem is not the globalisation method but our leadership, our people and problems that have been left behind unresolved on our soil for so many years in the past.

That is, the seeds of the globalisation method were sown on the soil that was already mixed up with problems that have been left behind unresolved by our leaders. The minerals of our soil are our country’s foundation, democracy, culture, belief, freedom, rights and other systems.

Therefore, the fruitfulness of the globalisation method for the development of our economy is relying on the reaction of the soil and the impact from the leadership and our people. 

So far, the globalisation method is still growing but it is not fruitful because of the two following reasons. The first one is about the process. The appropriate growth of the globalisation method and its fruitfulness is relying only on the right process when people follow the right process. 

However, our leaders did not follow the right process. Firstly, they didn’t solve the left behind which was the first thing that they should have begun with before the seeds were sown. I will discuss more on that subject afterward because it is a huge subject but for now, I am going to move straight to the second reason. 

The second reason was about rushing or the leaders’ intervention in the work process in order to speed up the process for fast accomplishments. Their intervention has affected the growth of the globalisation method and its fruitfulness. Not only that, but also, it has really affected the development of people who were/are growing out of the globalisation method for the development of our economy.

To accomplish their goal, things were demanded to get done as fast as possible. At the same time, they underestimated the cost of not following (which was speeding up of the process) the right process in order to get to their expectation. 

As a result, things turned out to be harder and harder for our leaders because what they have achieved from rushing did not solve our difficulties and did not minimise our debt either.

So the meaning of what they did is just adding up of more difficulties on shoulders of our people and building up of more costs by increasing the amount of our debt. As we have noticed in some few years in the past, our leaders have been trying all the bests they could in order to put things under-control.

They were struggling in figuring out of a direction of where Samoa should go and a destination of where Samoa should be. So the direction and destination have just become as new problem for their leadership. Getting caught in such kind of situation is so tough.

Because of that very tough situation therefore, our leaders turned their attention to our Customary Lands and Church Ministers earnings with the help from the Samoa Airways in order to strengthen the outward appearance of their leadership. Again at this point, our leaders did the same mistake like before. 

They didn’t follow the right process. Instead of believing in God the foundation of Samoa and instead of working closely with the country by engaging in the right process to seek out for the country’ opinions, they did things in the wrong way.

They cancelled God and distance themselves a lot further and used their own way and power of leadership to manipulate our possessions, identity and belief. We already understand that the result of doing wrong things is always a negative. It means, the consequence of doing wrong things is falling straight on the globalisation method.

Therefore, the outcome of the globalisation method will never be fruitful. They have made serious mistakes and also, they have moved from one mistake to another without considering a solution to solve their first mistake. 

Like they did in the past, they just left it behind unsolved.  Speaking of ‘left behind’, it brings us straight back to the subject about the first reason why the globalisation method is still growing but not fruitful.

As I said before, the things that our leaders have left behind unresolved is the first reason why the globalisation method has just grown up without rewarding.

Those things are new ‘left behind’ together with lots and lots of old ‘left behind’ from many years in the past that are still left unresolved on our soil.

The new left behind are – the leasing out of Customary Lands and taxing of Church ministers’ earnings. The old ‘left behind’ are - burden of systems, burden of suffering from a lot of activities in systems, burden of struggling under clashes of mixed authorities responsible for systems, population growth, minimum wage, corruption and collusion. 

Because of the fact that those things were left unresolved for years after years after years, therefore our people are dying for a solution. Our systems are the real burdens of our people.

Those systems are – matai, faletua ma tausi, taulele’a, aualuma, Church systems, School systems, Govt. taxes, general expenses (electricity, water, car, food, etc.) and faalavelave (maliu [tasi le maliu po o le tele], saofa’i [tasi le saofa’i po o le tele], fa’aipoipoga  [tasi le fa’aipoipoga po o le tele], aso fanau [tasi le aso fanau po o le tele], anoanoa’i o fono eseese atoa ai ma le [toulu fa’atasi uma o faalavelave eseese i le taimi e tasi] faapea fo’i ma isi mau faalavelave eseese fa’apei o asiga [malaga, fono, gasegase], o fa’aulufalega ma ifoga).

The cycle of faalavelave is repeatable almost instantaneously. 

So, as always, the only mentality or mindset of our people is just about those systems. To put it in a different way is this; the mentality or the mindset of our people is just about SPENDING but not saving. So it is all about the camel, not the gnat. It is all about the outside but not the inside.

Remember, money is involved in all systems and also, all those systems usually come about together simultaneously. As a result, we are still here as slaves in our freedom on our own customary lands because of our systems. 

There are too many systems for one family. Apart from that, that one family has to face too many involvements everyday because there are too many activities in systems. The saddest thing about that situation is that there is only one or two source(s) of money in a family.

The worst case scenario is when the source(s) of money is/are in the minimum pay rate or the source of income of that one family is not from here in Samoa but from families overseas. (The negative impact of that situation on families overseas is huge).

The combination of those systems cannot save poverty in our country. So, can love, faith and hope transform the mentality and mindset of leaderships so that the systems can be economised in order to save our people from poverty?  The population growth is another issue but there is a solution already available which is family planning but not abortion.

Remember, the oath about Abraham’s children through faith is already fulfilled in our own country. So now is the right time to use the ‘concept of love’ to take control of the population growth or birth control. Remember, love is greater than faith and hope.

The other important situation to be considered here is that the land cannot grow like the population and the Yazaki is already gone and the government is still struggling to create more jobs. The majority of people in most families in Samoa do not have jobs.     

Behind those systems there are powers and authorities. They have caused lots of confusions because of the lack of knowledge and skills about leadership in relation to the economy, prioritisation, democracy, justice, rights, investigation and awareness, identification of issues and problems and love.

For instance, if a matai or a woman of the aualuma is unable to fulfil some of his/her responsibilities or unable to pay a contribution twice or more than twice because of poverty, he/she could be in very big trouble in the village council and could also be treated as a crime but it is not theft of murder. Penalties are tough and inescapable.

The situation can affect every thing physically, mentally and physiologically. It is fair for everyone involved if the right process is taken in order to confirm if the given reason is right but that situation is depending on the quality of the leadership. 

There is only one result of all those things and that is poverty. Poverty is growing out of family isolation because of systems as mentioned above. The cost of poverty is our children and as a result of that cost, our children will always be slaves like us.

Likewise, our children’s future generation will follow the same path. Also, reproduction is real; it should be taken seriously by our government. The birth rate is million times faster than the death rate. 

Accordingly, our leadership will never found a better direction or a better destination for Samoa unless they do something first to resolve the left behind. Also, the appropriate growth and the fruitfulness of the globalisation method are relying on the right process.

That is, the leaders must follow the right process by taking necessary actions and fix the left behind in order for the globalisation method to become fruitful. 

 (Last piece (part 2) of this discussion will be ready tomorrow or on Wednesday)


Nanai Malonuu Lealaiauloto Nofoaiga

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