News Archives

Commentary: Liberians must 'pave road to justice'

11/21/2003 News media contact: Tim Tanton · (615) 742-5470 · Nashville, Tenn.

This commentary is adapted from a statement issued by Bishop John G. Innis, leader of the United Methodist Church's Liberia Area, on Oct. 16. A photo and video footage of Innis are available.

A UMNS Commentary By Bishop John Innis*

The United Methodist Church of Liberia welcomes wholeheartedly the national transitional government of Liberia under the leadership of Chairman Gyude Bryant and Vice Chairman Wesley Johnson. We pray and hope for success of the implementation of the comprehensive peace agreement, which brought the transitional government into existence.

Although the road to the comprehensive peace was very long and very difficult, through the Grace of the Almighty God, it came to pass. We are most appreciative of the role of the international community in providing assistance leading to the establishment of the transitional government.

We applaud the initiating role of the people of Liberia in their collective efforts for peace over war. No doubt, this action for peace on the part of the Liberian people provided the basis for the assistance received from the international community.

Let us be completely honest with our people and say that what we are experiencing is the cessation of hostilities, the absence of war. But the absence of war does not necessarily mean the presence of peace. Real peace is the peace that only God can give. And the peace of God, the real peace, comes through justice.

To have peace, we must have justice; we must be fair to one another. We must love our neighbors as ourselves. At this point in our lives, we must love our country more than ourselves and make decisions for the betterment of all our people.

We have to pave the road to justice. To do this, the security environment in Liberia must be stabilized.

We look forward to the completion of the 15,000-strong United Nations stabilization force. Most crucial for the stabilization of the security environment is the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants. Unless the former combatants are disarmed and engaged in useful activities, they will be available for another armed conflict. When former combatants and potential combatant become useful citizens, then there will be no more armed conflicts.

As the security situation improves, internally and externally displaced Liberian can then be resettled.

For effective resettlement to occur, there has to be in operation meaningful programs for the rehabilitation of infrastructure and the provision of basic social services.

The war has led to the loss of lives and properties. However, the most damaging aspect of the war is the low value that many people have placed on life.

To raise the value on life among people, there must be widespread spiritual renewal, where people place the highest value on life rather than material things.

The deep hatred underlying the great harm done from person to person must be eradicated through genuine confession, reconciliation and forgiveness. We must develop a truthful approach to living so that our hearts are cleansed of hatred and become filled with love for one another. It is essentially this spiritual renewal that will encourage us to install and sustain a system of justice for all. Then, with justice for all, peace can prevail.

Since this support will not last forever, let us become truthful, honest and committed to work together for the full implementation of the comprehensive peace agreement, as we pave the way for the holding of free and fair elections in 2005.

Many agreements have been signed in the past only to be thrown into the dustbin of history with critical aspects unimplemented. The United Methodist Church of Liberia pledges here and now to mobilize its internal and external resources to spare no efforts whatsoever in motivating Liberians and friends of Liberia to implement fully the comprehensive peace agreement.

Let us drop the "business as-usual" attitude and pick up the "business-as-progress" approach to build a new Liberia for the better.

Let us therefore empower Liberians to maximize their own resources for the growth and development of our nation. It is our hope and prayer that those who are placed in public positions will practice honest stewardship and adhere to the laws of this country.
# # #
*Innis is leader of the United Methodist Church's Liberia Area, with offices in Monrovia.

Back : News Archives 2003 Main

Contact Us

This will not reach a local church, district or conference office. InfoServ* staff will answer your question, or direct it to someone who can provide information and/or resources.


*InfoServ ( about ) is a ministry of United Methodist Communications located in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. 1-800-251-8140

Not receiving a reply?
Your Spam Blocker might not recognize our email address. Add to your list of approved senders.