We should live a life of forgiveness, love and sacrifice

As we rejoice with Christians all over the world on this most important occasion, there is a lot in the Easter story that resonates not only for them but indeed for all humanity. The sacrifice, love and mercy that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ exemplified are some of the enduring values that transcend doctrine and they are worthy to be reflected upon by all Nigerians, especially in a season like this.

More than at any other period in history, this Easter provides an opportunity for Nigerians to identify some common values from which to build a new national order as we respond to the threat of the rhetoric of hate and all forms of incitement to violence that are increasingly being given voice in our country. Easter indeed demands that we all rise above bitterness by becoming beacons of hope and peace wherever we find ourselves. Besides, we need to erect effective bulwarks against corruption in all its manifestations while shunning unbridled individualism.

We must restore the power of moral indignation in Nigeria. We cannot continue to live in a society where most citizens cannot afford the basic necessities of life. To address that challenge, we must raise the standards of public conduct, at all levels. As St. Francis De Sales reminds us, “If you are inclined to avarice, think of its folly; it makes us slaves to that which was intended to serve us. Remember how we must leave everything when we die; perhaps those who get our wealth then will only squander it, and even to their ruin”.

It is therefore important to pause and reflect on the central mystery of Easter which is about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross so that adherents of the faith would enjoy the blessing of joy on earth and the promise of eternal life. Unfortunately, we are well aware that, just like Christmas, Easter celebrations have not only become mundane but have also taken on traditions that sometimes seem to overshadow the real essence of the season.
Instructively, Christians stake their eternal destiny on the message of Easter which is about the resurrection of Jesus Christ who demonstrated a remarkable form of servant leadership, by washing the feet of His disciples in the days preceding His death on the cross. It is only when those in authority, at all levels, adopt this selfless attitude that they can focus attention on citizens, their safety and welfare as well as on the optimal allocation of scarce resources and the effective implementation of policies for service delivery to the greater good of our society.

In this holy season, the enduring message of love can be transmitted by sharing with the less privileged of our society not only material possessions but also through simple gestures like kind words and sincere smiles. That is where we fail most miserably in Nigeria. And the tragedy of that failure can be seen in the poverty and deprivation of majority of our people. But to the extent that with Easter, death did not get the final word and an empty tomb was not the end of the story, there is still much more that we can all do and hope for in Nigeria.

As we therefore mark the triumph of the risen Christ, people in authority, at all levels in our country, must begin to imbibe the lessons of Easter. Jesus Christ is such an eloquent testimony to the virtue of selfless service to the people. Throughout His earthly sojourn, He lived among the people, spent His whole life with them and shared in their anxieties, hopes and aspirations. He fed the hungry, healed the sick, consoled the sorrowful and wept for the dead. He remains a model for those who would lead, especially at a time when human miseries continue to worsen.
As the message of a resurrected Jesus Christ continues to give hope, peace and strength to people around the world, we wish all our Christian readers a very happy Easter.

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Easter demands that we all rise above bitterness by becoming beacons of hope and peace wherever we find ourselves. Besides, we need to erect effective bulwarks against corruption in all its manifestations while shunning unbridled individualism