Friday, August 17, 2012

Forgive Them, Father!

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Luke 23:34 NIV
Just this morning, I was reading another all-time classic from Dr. Myles Munroe titled: The Spirit of Leadership. I came across a paragraph where Paul had to defend himself to the faithfuls at Corinth in his second letter to them.
Dr. Munroe writes: Paul's right to be an apostle of Christ was harshly criticized . They said that he was not really called by God and that he was not worthy of the respect he was getting. But we learned later that they themselves were false apostles, yet they attacked Paul's credibility and spiritual qualifications...

I read the 11th verse of II Corinthians in my Bible and the sincerity of Paul's letter touched my heart and brought me into thinking about some of the personal criticism I have received from my own circle of friends regarding the running of Jacobu Youth Association. Affiliating myself to the agony of the verbose first-century apostle exuded some humility on my part, contemplating whether or not I am exalting myself too high. But knowing our common human-ness and 'flesh and blood-ness,' I decided to write this anyway. My hope here is not to attempt convincing anyone to like my endeavours in our humble Association but simply to share myself which is not uncharacteristic me.
I have often heard well-meaning people question my role in the Association:
  • Some say they will never join until I leave
  • Others say I should not be included in executive meetings
  • Many others find me repulsive and intimidating when it comes to debating on issues at general meetings
  • One particular friend (until lately) claims I am exploiting the public reputation of the Association to exalt myself and advance my parochial/selfish interests
  • Still there are some who doubt my claim of citizenship to the roots of Jacobu since they can refer the day I first arrived with my family from our sojourn and so on and so forth.
As funny as it may sound in the ears of those close to me, I am seriously affected by such hasty conclusions my folks draw anytime my name pops up in their discussions. I am passionate and committed to causes I am involved in. If there's anyone among us who sleeps and wakes with Jacobu in mind, such a fellow's heart beats same as mine.
To my co-leaders who often leave me alone to defend myself, I owe them so much gratitude, for in so doing I have come to understand myself better. I now know what it means when ancient writings say there comes a time on one's journey when s/he must walk alone. The courage it takes to walk such a path is better felt than described. I encourage whosoever is in touch with the spirit of leadership within to awaken and start working the dream.

In taking stock, Dr. Munroe's book helped me to understand such simple truths possessed in people like myself who have awoken the lion that sleeps in them and have taken the leadership mantle through thick and thin.  I have spent years and unrecoverable number of times - day and night - integrating the following attitudes which have not only catapulted me to where I am today, but also have helped in diverse ways to advance the cause of our own Jacobu Youth Association to the so-called good reputation it is now enjoying.
May I ask fellow critics to carefully consider putting into practice these practical ingredients sorely needed to be incorporated into the everyday thinking processes of whoever identifies him/herself with leaders:
  • sense of purpose and passion
  • sense of initiative
  • sense of prioritizing
  • goal setting
  • the spirit of teamwork
  • sense of innovation
  • accountability
  • persistence
  • discipline
  • self-cultivation or grooming
  • and sense of gratitude!
Such attitudes are always frowned upon especially by mediocre minds and timid souls whose conscience has been seared with the biblical hot iron, and whose hand and hinds have been shackled into fear, low-self esteem and hate. My prayer is that their eyes may be healed from the spiritual blindness that they have unconsciously accepted as their default programming so they may not only see what is but also what ought to be.

Of all the accusations hurled at me, what I find most ridiculous is their claim that the Association is making me overly popular. I have personally worked for my reputation with all the good and the bad. I claim responsibility for both with no shame or regret and of course with no pride.

I was brought up to the presence of public eye at a very tender age when I didn't have much sense into what the future held for me. I starting performing to a large audience from primary school through campus to present day. All this while, the Jacobu Youth Association had not been reborn as it thrives today. I read scriptures at church gatherings, recited poems and performed in plays for every school I have attended - creche to university! I have represented my university in serious competitive debates on and off radio (and won all of them!) and hosted very high profile statesmen in gatherings at which my introduction included nothing from the Association. But never at any of such functions did I run away from the fact that I come from Jacobu. I have said and I say again that Jacobu to me is as Jerusalem to the Jews!
If something should be said about my fidelity to the Association, it rather should go like: Kwasi Mensah is marketing the association!

Someday I may have a bigger audience to share more profound real-time life-stories with. Until then, keep believing...