The moral decline in Naga society
“No great nation has ever been overcome until it has destroyed itself” ~Will Durant
I REALLY believe the morality of the “olden” days hardly exist in our Naga society today. The idea of what is good and evil, what is morally reprehensible and praiseworthy, of course exist in our mind, but in reality, what exist in our mind and what is actually happening in our Naga society seems to be an exact opposite. I don’t remember a day that our daily local papers have no news (at least one) about suicides, robberies, murders, sexual abuses, extortions, and the list goes on, that are happening in our state. And forget not how many such incidents are unheard. Of course, we have other good news as well, but consider the dark side of our Naga society today. It is exceedingly mounting day by day. August 26 morning gave us, what I believe, is one of the worst news this year. The minds of our daily local paper readers would have amply disturbed, as I was. The news read, “10-Years-old brutally killed in state capital”. “His naked and mutilated body was found dumped in a river… His eyes had been gouged out, apart from a broken arm and skull and a major injury in the back”. Extremely dreadful, isn’t? Yet again, another heinous crime on September 6, a young man was found murdered with his neck slit from behind inside a commercial building in Dimapur. A movie I watched a few years ago flashed back: a man killed his enemies: The eyes gouged out, tongues cut off, bodies stabbed all over, blood split everywhere… This was in a movie, a fictional drama. But what is happening in our Naga society today is a reality. My grandfather’s words echoed, “Those days we never lock our doors even when we go to field.” Alas! But this is a utopian today. The moral devolution is taking place in our Naga society not from a chimpanzee to a man, but from a man to a chimpanzee. A few weeks ago, I visited my neighbour’s place and he told me, “Someone has stolen our dog, a healthy big dog.” Gosh, that ain’t good uncle, I sadly replied. Later a few days ago, a friend of mine again told me that some years ago, one of his neighbouring villager’s truck was stolen, and after many days it was found in Dimapur, and this time, it was a well painted truck.
I have a feeling that the readers of this article might not find such incidents a surprise truth, after all we read our daily local papers filled with such news. Vehicle lifters are around in our town and state; business people are worried of the illegal tax collectors; unmarried couples in motels and bars; briberies in the government offices; dishonest gains in business; papers signed for constructions and poor people’ funds consumed by some of our so called Naga intellectuals and officers; religious commercialization; drugs and alcohol concern; sexual assaults and abuses; distortion in religious institutions; and the list goes on and on.
“Nagas are hardworking people, honest and fun loving people”, commented one of the foreigners who visited our state a few years ago. Was he lying or was he deceived? Perhaps he met some genuine Naga Christians. I remember a man addressing hundreds of university students, remarks: do you know why revival lasted only three years in Nagaland? Well, the answer is simple, because Nagas will have a state election after three years. The Non-Naga students amused and the Naga students embarrassed. Was he lying or the truth was spoken? God and the Nagas know the answer.
I may be wrong in this, but it seems to me that most of the Naga public and especially the young Naga generations have lost their faith in the Naga politicians. To make sense of what I mean, you simply need to visit a discussion by Nagas in social networks, or join a group of people talking Naga politics. You may not expect good remarks people will offer on behalf of most of our Naga politicians, and not forgetting about our Naga National workers. Has the public misjudged our Leaders? Or is this a false allegation? There are times too, some of our government officers are honoured when they are in front of the public, but are despised when they out of their sights.
It also seems to me that many of the young Naga generations today have lost their trust in their Church leaders. What buzzes in my ear is a prayer of Billy Graham for America. Graham prayed, “Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, ‘Woe to those who call evil good,’ but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem. We have abused power and called it politics. We have coveted our neighbour’s possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honoured values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment. Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from sin and set us free. Amen!”
So what now? I want to talk about a solution or perhaps an opinion now. The “Church”, I believe is where the Nagas need to seriously look back again. I am here talking about a genuine Church, the called out one and the body of Christ, whose Head is Jesus Christ Himself. A Church whose foundation is Jesus Christ alone. Let’s begin with some basic questions here: Do you think Jesus Christ has failed the Nagas? Has our Lord Jesus changed? Is Christ defeated today? Is Jesus no longer a King? If your answer is, Jesus still reigns: “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8), then the good news is: a genuine Church has a solution to offer and our Naga society can once again be restored. “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” (1 Chronicles 7:14). The attitude of Naga Christians who call the name of the Lord must be what Sir Winston Churchill spoke of the world’s dilemma: “Our problems are beyond us,” and therefore we need Jesus Christ. The Nagas today need a Savoir Jesus Christ, who is the Head and the Foundation of the Church.
The moral decline in our Naga society, I believe, can be reformed, if we the Nagas relocate ourselves back to where we have started when the Good News of Jesus Christ reached us a little more than a hundred years ago. To the Church of Sardis, Jesus said, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold- I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’
But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked… Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent” (Revelation 3:15-19). Or perhaps, Nagas have forsaken their “First Love” (Revelation 2:4). If so, the call for repentance is the need of the hour. The decline of Morality in Naga society, I believe, has a solution, and the solution is Jesus Christ who is the Head of the Church. Apart from the Cross and the Resurrected Christ, I see no hope.
Inaugurating by the Naga Church leaders, the confession of Apostle Paul must be our confession, “We are but called by God’s Grace, and therefore take it as privilege. It is a ministry of Grace”.
The Church leaders like Apostle Paul must serve the people as true Shepherds, commissioned by God’s Grace, watching their lives and doctrines closely; rebuking, correcting, pointing out the falsehood, and encouraging the Nagas (cf. I Timothy 3, 4). Likewise, the Naga politicians need to work as genuine Christians, whose profession is politics. If their doings are motivated by “who” they are in “Christ”, and not by “who” they are in “politics”, I believe change is at hand, and equally with the state government servants, and our Naga national workers. To bring changes in the Naga society, every Nagas need to look at ourselves as the Temple of a Living God (1 Corinthians 3:16), fearfully and wonderfully made in the Image of God (Psalm 139:14; Genesis 1:27). Every Nagas who consider themselves as a Christian need to understand what the Bible says, “You are the ambassador of Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20), and therefore the ambassadors of peace, justice, love, etc. the ambassadors who are willing to bring changes, healing, standing for the truth and justice so as to reform our society.
Yes, the Naga society is in a moral decline. This decline is still progressing. It is up to us as concerned Christians to take an active role in the democratic process of our state. Don’t be afraid to stand up and be counted. We have a voice. Make it heard. God has called on us to all contend for the faith. Our faith that Jesus is the solution; that He alone can bring changes when we make Him the in charge of our society. I leave you here with what I think is the problem that causes the moral decline in our Naga society today, ‘Nagas have forsaken the Love they had at first’, and the remedy of this moral decline is to go back again to Christ the Saviour of the world. God Help Us!