We need to contend for the soul of this nation

[notice]As recent headlines of sadistic and callous deeds have shocked South Africans, Pastor Afrika Mhlophe grapples with the dark state of the soul of our nation and the proper Christian response to our moral descent.[/notice]

The soul is the part of you that is a seat of the mind, will and emotions. It is in this part where choices are made and this is the part that is mainly targeted by God’s word. The Apostle Paul implored us to surrender this part of our lives to God so that He could renew it and reconstruct it in a way that it can be align to God’s way of thinking. Our souls are depraved and debased.  They have been corrupted by sin and immorality. According to Jesus a corrupted tree can only produce a corrupted fruit. Here, I am talking about a spiritual condition and I am not talking about a social or an economic or even an academic condition. Many years ago former President Nelson Mandela mooted an idea of a RDP of the soul.

RDP of the soul
RDP stands for reconstruction and development programme and it is has been the government flagship programme for housing and empowerment of those who have been previously disempowered. Many of us are familiar with the RDP houses dotting the landscape of our new South Africa. But Dr Nelson Mandela had something else in mind. When he saw the degeneration of the nation and the corruption that sullied public service he called for the rot to be arrested. Thereafter something called the Moral Regeneration Movement was formed and for many years it was led by the then Deputy President Jacob Zuma. These were well intentioned initiatives but they did not get far beyond the starting block.

Murder and gang rape
Now we are in 2012 and we have to deal with the consequences of our ineptitude. I am not only referring to government here but also to the Church and other social partners. The consequences are terribly heart breaking. We are on a sliding slope and it is difficult for us to find our balance. We are being bombarded by news that detail acts of unimaginable cruelty and callousness. The killing of a young lady hitchhiking to her graduation ceremony in Rhodes University is extremely painful. No matter how distant we are from her family we cannot help but feel saddened by this vile act. All she wanted to do was to graduate and then contribute meaningfully to our country. Was that too much to ask? The issue of whether hitchhiking is the best transport model to choose is not even the point.

The point is that someone decided to stop for this young lady while knowing very well he had no intention of driving her to her destination. Sadly this person continues to roam the streets of our country and we don’t know who might be his next victim. Even before this lady’s body has been laid to rest we now have to deal with the story regarding the gang rape of a 17 year old mentally disturbed teenager. She was abducted and held against her will while being repeatedly raped by at least seven men and deprived of nourishment. As if this was not bad enough they then decided to film this dastardly act and this video has subsequently gone viral online.

Blurring of lines
Should we see these and many other unreported acts in isolation? No we can’t. The continual blurring of lines between morality and our country’s laws has a bearing. The social re-engineering of our lives by our government and the media has contributed immensely to this downward spiral. What do we do? We continue to engage, we continue to pray and to speak out. Although I must admit I have been feeling powerless these last few days, yet I know I must take off my mourning clothes and call on the name of the Lord. We are all in a terrible place. I have been asking for God’s forgiveness for being part of such an evil and sadistic society. I consider myself to be also responsible for this mess. I consider those who watched the video of this rape also responsible.

I consider those who have pioneered the breakdown of the family unit responsible. I consider those who choose to keep their peace while we are in a state of war responsible. I am experiencing a range of emotions that are difficult to understand. I feel guilty for being blessed and living a, fairly comfortable life. This is why, during the week, I had to drive to Motherwell to express my condolences to a family I do not know for a death of a young lady I never knew. I got lost finding her home but I think I would have lost my mind if I didn’t try.

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