Bishop John G. Innis of The United Methodist Church in Liberia gave a Christmas speech addressing the congregation and the people of Liberia, urging elders and youth alike to respect the Bible's fifth commandment.
In an interview with The Christian Post, Bishop Innis explained that the speech was given in the spirit of Christmas and to save life in Liberia. He said that Christmas reminds us of God’s sacrifice so that we may live healthy prosperous lives.
He began the speech explaining that the fifth commandment, “Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee,” (Exodus 20:12) is the only commandment which is followed by a covenant. Should Liberia adhere to this commandment, the bishop says the promise of God will be fulfilled.
“We are just recovering from 15 years of civil war,” said Bishop Innis, “It is mostly young people who are used in war. When it was going on they were drunk, fighting, and disrespectful.”
He said that the destruction, death, and little prosperity that Liberia was seeing was indicative that the commandment was not being followed.
“We need that continuity of love and respect for continuity of nation and to live long, healthy, lives,” said the Bishop, “so we can have ongoing development.”
When asked if his statement that Liberians must “first admit the wrongs that we have committed which have led us to the unfavorable situation we have faced over the years,” could be deemed offensive, he countered that the country can look back at the way it was and be proud.
“Well they were forced into it by people who persuaded them to be disobedient,” Bishop Innis said about the young men who fought in the civil war and led riots during last year’s democratic elections.
“We have to have dignity. We have to have love and respect for those in authority. They were put there for us. Love and respect is paramount to human existence.”
In his speech, Bishop Innis said that he wanted to be fair by pointing out that adults have to play their role in representing God’s love and setting the example for young people so they would learn to be respectful. He added that church and state must continue to work together to reach out to those youth afflicted by war, poverty, and lack of education.
He acknowledged several churches besides the United Methodist Church that have implemented counseling programs, youth camps, Bible study, and built schools in lacking communities.
“We need to redeem the young people from the darkness of ignorance to the light of education,” he said, “and they should look back and share their knowledge.”
The Bishop's entire address along with Church youth efforts can be seen on the church's website http://www.liberiaunitedmethodistchurch.org./