The Biblical Thomas, who is read in the New Testament of the Bible, heard of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but doubted it until he saw and touched him.
The refreshing news is that Thomas believed and acted appropriately after seeing and touching Jesus Christ. His response to Jesus after clearing his doubt was: “My Lord and My God”, an affirmation that he now believes the resurrection of Christ.
The contrast to this Thomas of the Bible are the array of people in our world who have heard the ravaging effect of COVID-19 yet have not believed and acted appropriately; have seen the evidence of the effect, yet have not believed and acted right; have had a touch of the effect and yet have not acted.
These types of ‘doubting Thomases’ are those who have made the fight against the ravaging and virulent COVID-19 disease extremely difficult, and thus if the battle against COVID-19 is to be won, these ‘doubting Thomases’ should be converted to ‘believing Thomases’.
The COVID-19 disease found its way into the world in 2019 and ever since its uninvited visit the world has never been the same. It has had diverse effects on different groups of people who live in different parts of the world.
The effect of COVID-19 has caused lives, livelihoods, families, friendships, marriages, businesses, economies, movements, education, physical meetings (at the work place and Church assemblies) etc. The concomitant effects of the aforementioned are the daily life of stress, anxiety and uncertainties.
No one knows when the disease will depart from us so that life can be brought to normalcy. No one knows when the next job will fall or the next pay will be cut if the effect of COVD-19 is not subsided. No one even wants to think of the daily fear of death. Health workers are not sure of when their lives will go back to the days when they did not have to think of the scare of the virulent virus which threaten their lives, including that of their family members.
The sad part of the state of affairs regarding the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic is the effort of some members of the society who do not follow the protocols that are meant to safeguard lives and our collective future. Protocols such as ensuring some distance during meetings, wearing nose masks, washing of the hands with soaps and running water, avoiding excessive crowding etc are difficult for some people to obey.
It is not as if they have not heard that people have lost their lives and that of the lives of their dear ones by contracting the virus; it is not as if they have not heard that the world’s economies are on their knees; it is not as if they have not heard that people have lost businesses, jobs and sources of income, but like the doubting Thomas of our time, they have heard it all, seen it all, touched it all but they don’t want to believe or act to safeguard the situation.
It is now certain that the doubting Thomas of our time has become an obstacle that we have to overcome to have assured future where life becomes normal with new values and lessons inculcated in our practices.
How do we overcome the state of affairs where all cautions have been thrown to the dogs? The first step in overcoming the hurdle of lowering our guards regarding the fight against COVID-19 is to focus on how each of us can ensure that we do what is right at all times. Self-consciousness is important because the enemy within is always stronger than the enemy without.
We all become the Thomas who hears, sees and touches without believing and acting when we fail to comply with the protocols at any point in time when necessary. Second, we must preach the protocols to our families, friends, colleagues at work, those at the market place, in public transport, at the church auditorium etc. We hope that with constant admonishing they will become like the Thomas who doubted first but changed to believe and act in the right way.
Last is for the government and the state institutions to enforce the applicable laws without fear or favour to ensure that we all find ourselves on the same page to ensure that we all safeguard lives and the future for ourselves ant the generations unborn.
In conclusion, I would say that the fight against the COVID-19 menace should be a collective decision and effort. There should be no room for doubts, unbelief and inaction.
It is our action that will determine whether we are determined to fight for a cause that ensures our collective safety or whether we care less about what is happening around us. It is important that we do not only act right when we are affected personally but also act appropriately even when we have not been affected personally.
It is important that we remind the ‘doubting Thomases’ of our time that by their failure to believe and act appropriately people are dying every day, losing their businesses and jobs, children cannot go to school, families are breaking, and economies are on their knees. Hence the need for all to do the right thing and cause others to follow the protocols. May our collective belief and actions win the battle of overcoming the COVID-19 menace.
The writer is the Literacy Promotion Manager