R.B. Thohe Pou
A Confession – only two words which many people might have ignored to read in detail as they glanced the headlines on 24th July 2007. However, for some people – that was the day the controversial issue on Dr. Shishak Tuisem’s confession began. Any controversial issue is an eye opener to the people and I personally believe that it may give a great impact to the Nagas to learn a good lesson. There are many people who are supporting Dr. Tuisem’s confession just as there many who are against his confession on behalf of the Tangkhuls…
There were copious articles published in response to Dr. Tuisem’s confession. I do not know if he was expecting such a good response from others – may be against or in support of him. I am sure that some of those who responded to his confession might have not had a second thought before they responded to Dr. Tuisem’s confession.
A Confession – was something like a small Pandora Box that was opened. Reading all the responses from religious leaders, politicians, student leaders and concerned Naga people – a question came to my mind as, “if you are going to write an article in response to Dr. Tuisem’s confession and TNL’s excommunication, how would you react? Personally, I do not want to support him nor against him. However I have some expectations from both the groups – those who are against him and those who are supporting him. For everything, there is cause and effect; everything that we do should have the impact – whether we support or against him.
I personally believe in practicing what I talk and write. If we become a talker or writer without putting it into practice in real life – we become another hypocrite. I am also very religious like others; at the same time, I can also be very irreligious. Henceforth, I can give my full support to him by accepting him since no one is perfect or be against him by pointing out his mistakes.
It seems many people are confused with the word, “Confession” and “Freedom of expression”. We also need to understand the Biblical meaning of Confession before we condemn or give our support to him. I believe that repentance leads to confession but confession may not lead to repentance. Is Dr. Tuisem’s confession a repentance to confession or confession to repentance? There are different Christian denominations; some believe in confessing their sin to Pope, Father, and Pastor. However some Christians believe in direct contact with God and confess their sin to God with repentance. There are some people having strong faith, while others having a weak faith and people having weak faith may not accept confession of any crime and pleading to forgive.
There are pros and cons in public confession. We all need to repent our sin and confess our sin to God. But it may not be necessary to confess a sin that brings chaos to the society. Will God not accept our repentance and confession without confessing in public? How will you react if some one confess to you that he had raped and killed your sister or mother? Is that a confession and repentance or is that an insult to you? Will God not forgive us if we repent from our heart and cry to the Lord in private? Or do we need to confess publicly? God is the God of love and peace. God may not want us to confess like the hypocrites and bring chaos in the society. If we go according to Dr. Tuisem’s confession – I am afraid that those who support him may confess to serious crimes and bring chaos to our society. Personally, I do not believe in public confession but we all need to repent and confess our sin to God. Some times it may be good to have public confession but I think it is not necessary to confess our sin publicly.
Freedom of expression seems to be another confusing word for many people. Some of the people who are in support of Dr. Tuisem also claim that the excommunication restricts freedom of expression. I think freedom of expression never means that we can defame our own tribe, other tribes or put to shame someone intentionally. Many people may think that Dr. Tuisem calling his people as arrogant, with false pride, disunited and then asking the forgiveness of the crime committed by the Tangkhuls may be freedom of expression. But what about those who do not believe in such kind of public confession and freedom of expression?
There are many people who are in support of Dr. Tuisem and they want to revoke the TNL’s decision to excommunicate Dr. Tuisem. However they are also many people who are against him.
To those who are against Dr. Tuisem:
1. How can we have better unity and peace in our society without being called to repentance and confession?
2. What are the other means to bring more unity and peace in our society?
3. How can the political system survive without involving the church leaders?
4. Is it Nagaland for Christ? If yes then why is it not relevant to confession of sin?
5. Why don’t you believe in public confession and confession of sin on behalf of his tribe?
6. Why should or should not politics and religion mix together?
To those who support Dr. Tuisem:
1. Should we expect all those who support Dr. Tuisem to confess their own sin and come to repentance and bring more unity in our Naga society?
2. As there are many who are supporting Dr. Tuisem’s confession – shall we expect that all the leaders will help the others to bring into repentance and confess their sin – bringing great revival in Nagalim within a few years? If there is no great revival in Nagalim, then people might have just blindly supported him for the sake of supporting him.
3. Dr. Tuisem’s confession and its supporters will be proved right if more leaders come out to confess and are in turn accepted by their tribes.
4. Should those who support him also confess the sins on behalf of their tribe and ask forgiveness from other tribes?
5. Do you believe that one person can confess the sin for whole tribe? If you believe in this kind of confession – are you ready to confess the sin of your tribe?
6. Do you believe that God will forgive our sin only through public confession?
If Dr.Tuisem would have written the article calling to repentance and confession without confessing the sins of the Tangkhuls, many people might have accepted to his call to repentance and confession to God. If we are not ready to repent and confess our sin from our heart, the repentance and confession by some one for our sin may not be acceptable by God. We need the inspiration and the work of the Holy Spirit to repent and confess our sin but we may not need some one to repent and confess for our sin. If our sin can be forgiven through some one’s prayer and confession – we may not need to pray and believe in God since we have our Pastor, Father, Brothers and Sisters in the church to pray and confess our sin for us. Should we be against him because we have personal problem with him? Or should we give our support to him because we respect him? It would be unfair to against him because of our personal problem; it would also unfair to support him because of he is a respectable person.
Personally I don’t want to defend and I don’t want to condemn him but I think we have differences in our Philosophical and Biblical understanding of partaking of sin, public confession and confession of sin on behalf of the whole tribe. Some of the Tangkhuls might be arrogant, have false pride, harass, torture and murder others – but what about those innocent villagers? It seems he has generalized the whole tribe taking into consideration of partaking of sin. When we read his article, he starts with, “they say, ‘confession is good for the soul’ but I am not sure. Individuals, peoples, and nations the world over have confessed with no tangible results”. I think he knows that confession without repentance cannot bring any tangible result; it brings more confusion and chaos in the society. But I don’t know why he has to confess the sin instead of calling them to repentance and confession. When we talk about partaking of sin, which he is talking about, I think not a single Naga will be saved because we are still living under India and we are also partaker of the Indian sin; more than 80% of the Indians are non-Christians. However if we are going to be condemned and will go to hell, because of our family or village sin – I think our God is not our personal Savior or God. The Bible says that you and your households will be saved if you believe in me. Then the Bible also says that because of Achan’s sin the Israelites could not defeat a small city Ai unless Achan repented and was put to death. Now the question is shall we put our God as our personal Savior or common God in which we cannot be saved if some one in my village or tribe commits a sin?
Dr. Tuisem’s call to repentance and confession is very appreciable. However his repentance and confession on behalf of his tribe is not appreciable; it may not be helpful to confess without repentance from other side. Shall we also pray and encourage one another to repent and confess our sin before God instead of us confessing and repenting on behalf of others? Who is sinless in this world? We are all sinners and we need to repent and confess our sin to God from our heart. How can we kill some one in cold blood when our heart is filled with God’s love and peace? We all need to repent and confess our sin before God then only we can have a better society in our nation. Shall we also compete in doing good thing for our people instead of trying to compete in creating more problems in our peace loving society?