Let’s Give Credit Where It Is Due

Viliame Gavoka posted on his Facebook page a 15-paragraph critique of my letter to the Editor, published by the Fiji Sun, on Saturday, June 23, 2018. I thank Mr Gavoka
13 Jul 2018 10:56
Let’s Give Credit Where It Is Due
Isimeli Bose

Viliame Gavoka posted on his Facebook page a 15-paragraph critique of my letter to the Editor, published by the Fiji Sun, on Saturday, June 23, 2018.

I thank Mr Gavoka for his comments and since he had taken the trouble and liberty to respond to the views expressed I would like to reciprocate and answer the points and views he posted.

Firstly, the letter was simply a commendation of the Government’s actions, giving credit where credit is due, for the recent Homes-CARE, Farms-CARE assistance and other welfare schemes dispensed to a wide cross-section of the communities in various parts of Fiji.

I could not and still do not understand therefore why there was so much fuss and criticisms, particularly from anti-government politicians.

I am glad that the Prime Minister adequately put things in proper perspective when he posed the question during his 2018-2019 National Budget response asking which and who among the opposition politicians in their right minds would dare tell or stop potential recipients such as the Sigatoka farmer, the Fijian school girl living in deep rural Vanua Levu, the grandmother living with diabetes in Lami, the mourning widow in Lautoka, the tertiary students coming from a low-income family studying engineering in Suva, the mother of a new-born boy in Nadi and so on not to accept the assistance given by Government.

Would any politicians or detractors dare tell the recipients to return what they have received?

They simply cannot and will not because they know the dispensations did meet the needs of those concerned and that Government was right in doing so.

So if it is right, why can’t we be humble and concede it so and be gracious, be grateful to say a word of thanks rather than criticise because you are a member of the Opposition and as an alternative government opposed to whatever the ruling Government does?

Paragraphs #2 – # 11 of this critique is designed to portray that it is only Mr Gavoka and his political comrades who are the only ones who are anxious and raise issues such as the cost of living, unemployment, the minimum wages, TELS, GDP etc.

But yet again the Prime Minister has pre-empted Mr Gavoka’s worries in his Budget contribution showing that  the politicians on the government side, who are currently in the driving seat of leadership, are already addressing the very the issues and concerns “that Mr Gavoka’s  politicians” are raving about.  Simply put, all the issues you have raised are being addressed and implemented.

A positive critiquing of Government’s budget allocations would be of great value rather than empty rhetoric just to score political points.

The second point raised in my letter is that some of the political parties include those that have led and run past governments and all of them had handled welfare in their own way.

But none did it to the degree and extent that this present Government is doing.

This point is related and underpinned by the scriptural passage in the book of Esther when Mordecai said to queen Esther “Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such as time as this”.

Essentially, Mordecai was telling Esther, that her appointment as Queen of the kingdom, at that point in time, was no accident but preordained by God.

This interpretation is supported by another occasion in another epoch in the Bible when Nebuchadnezzar, emperor of the Babylonian Empire, finally realised “that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men and giveth it to whomsoever he will”.

Applying the two scriptures to the present generation, there is no question that this Government has been ordained by God.  Since independence, FijiFirst is the seventh Government popularly elected by the people (post-coup interim administrations precluded) the first under common roll.

Being the elected Government for this generation they cannot be compared with the previous six, because times and circumstances – particularly its structure and constitution – are different and their performance clearly unique.

Thirdly, Mr Gavoka has also criticised the “extensive use of quotations from the Scriptures”. If he cares to study my letter of June 23, this portion of the letter was not addressed to him or to any politician .

It was addressed to “fellow believers” who are also voters. By that, I mean those who believe and have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, knowing that faith cometh by hearing the word of God.

The scriptures are inspired words of God.  So if it says “let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God, the powers that be are ordained by God’, (Rom 13: 1-2) or ‘First of all I exhort therefore in supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and for all that are in authority”. (I Timothy 2:1). As Christians and believers, we have no options but to obey the words of God. To do otherwise means you are disobeying.

Fourthly, paragraph 13, Mr Gavoka stated that I quote extensively from the Scriptures forgetting that this Government removed the name of Jesus Christ from Constitution, I did not.

The Constitution states clearly that religion is personal and that State and religion are separate.

There is very good reason why the State must not be tied to a particular religion.

History shows when a State adopts a particular religion, there have been persecutions, killings, discrimination and fanaticism against those who do not adhere to that belief.  It has happened here and is happening elsewhere in the world.

Religion is personal. Biblical New Covenant states; I will put my laws into their minds, And I will write them upon their hearts, And I will be their God, And they shall be my people, And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen, And everyone his brother, saying, know the lord. For all shall know me. From the least to the greatest.  (Heb 8:10-11)

The President is a Christian, so is the Prime Minister and so are a lot of Government ministers and parliamentarians including the opposition.

This is admirable.

Mr Gavoka in your penultimate paragraph you rightly state that the central figure in the Bible is the Lord Jesus Christ and the FijiFirst action is condemning its fundamental and telling the surrogates/voters of FijiFirst not to quote from the Scriptures.

I hope you don’t mean that! Because it clearly shows confusion and lack of knowledge.

I am a believer and believe the scriptures, particularly the Lord Jesus Christ through His Grace I have been saved and have become son of God being born again in the spirit, not in blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man but of God.

The grace of God that bringeth salvation has appeared to all man through Christ who is the propriation for our sins and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

This means that everyone professing faith has access to God through Christ including FijiFirst members and voters.

The challenge is for all believers to live according to the commandments.

And these are summarised in the two commandments. “Love God with all your heart, with all thy soul, with all thy mind and with thy strength”.

The second law is to “love our neighbours as ourselves”.

In paragraph 13 of his critique, Mr Gavoka has lamented the fact that the prayers crafted by Government is to preclude Jesus’ name.

Prayers of believers to God cannot be made under any other name except in the name of Jesus.

It is obvious from what transpired there was no agreement among the Parliament, including the Speaker, not to invoke the Lord’s name.

This is something that has to be sorted out among individual parliamentarian rather than blaming the Government.

The Constitution clearly states that religion is personal, therefore, the individual members should determine parliamentary procedures regarding prayers, noting the scripture declaration that Blessed is the nation whose God is in the Lord.

I suggest that you to take your cue from the Bible and apply its testimonies and experience as in the story of Daniel and his friends refusing to bow and worship the golden image or follow the edicts of the heathen government of Babylon. Though they were persecuted for their beliefs and were thrown it into the lion’s den and the blast fire oven, God vindicated their faith and saved them which in turn influenced the views of their monarchs about God.

The same happened to Joseph who being always faithful to God in the end he was promoted to be Prime Minister in Egypt a heathen unbelieving nation.

You will find that you may change even those who don’t believe around you.

Last but not least the Lord Jesus himself categorically stated without any trace of ambiguity that:

“My kingdom is not of the world, if Kingdom were of this world, then would my servant fight that I should not be delivered to Jesus, but as it is my Kingdom is not of realm. (John 18:36). All attempts to make him a political leader proved futile.

In relation to paying taxes, he asked the question whether the son of a King should pay taxes, they said no, but he said nevertheless in order not to offend the authority, he said that he should pay his taxes and he did. (Mathew 17: 27)

He even declared to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and give God what belongs to God.

Clearly, as can been seen above the Lord Himself distinguished the kingdom of man and Kingdom of God. The kingdom of man in Fiji is guided by the Constitution and the laws of Kingdom of God are embodied in the Bible and the believers whether Jews or gentiles are one new corporate man responsible for building up the body of Christ and the Kingdom of God. Jesus himself left the business of running the government to man.

In conclusion, the above quotations and examples from the Bible illustrate the way and thoughts of God and his perspective in relation to politics and government and provide a guide particularly for believers.

I respect the choices of each and every individual citizens and voters according to their belief.

For me and my household I am guided by grace and truth to trust in God and exercise my volition according to his will.

To Mr Gavoka, as koi calevu and your comrade, I wish you all the best.

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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