Chairman of the National Leadership Prayer Breakfast (NLPB) Committee, Rev. Dr. Peter Garth, implored the country’s leaders to be careful of their words and actions, as even their simplest decisions affect an entire nation.
“As leaders, I call on each of us to live in light of the fact that the things we do and the things we say make an impact on every Jamaican,” he stated.
Speaking at the 33rd staging of the NLPB held at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Thursday (January 17), Rev. Garth told the nation’s leaders that their words and deeds are also a reflection of who they are on the inside.
“While our walk is important, our talk is just as important to validate and verify who we really are,” Rev. Garth noted.
He stated that graceful interaction, which includes kind words and careful actions, must be a defining trait of every leader.
“The way we speak with each other and about each other is important and we must come to recognise this in this hour. It is a fact that the way we speak with each other has become Jamaica’s shame,” he remarked.
“Our speech should reflect grace and should be seasoned with salt. There is far too much verbal diarrhea in this country. If Jamaica’s soul becomes totally poisoned, I believe, the autopsy must read tribalism, crime and a poisonous tongue.”
Rev. Garth therefore called on all leaders and all citizens of Jamaica to “rise up and speak well of each other… (and) stop cutting down each other.”
Reflecting on Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae, in which he warned them away from false teachings and reiterated the importance of the Christian ethic,Rev. Garth urged Jamaicans to have faith that God’s transforming love can heal and restore the country, even as it continues to grapple with issues of crime and violence and economic turmoil.
“I challenge us as leaders and every Jamaican to be faithful. If we are going to pull ourselves through as a nation, God requires of us faithfulness to the task,” he said.
This year’s NLPB was held under the theme: ‘Love that transforms’.
Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen; and Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, lead the list of dignitaries in attendance, which included Opposition Leader, Andrew Holness; parliamentarians; custodes; the judiciary; local government representatives; business, church, community and labour leaders; and members of the security forces, and the diplomatic and consular Corps.
Prime Minister Simpson Miller read the first lesson from Joel 2:13 and 14, while Mr. Holness read the second lesson, from 1Cor. 12:13 and 13:8-13.
Proceeds from the event will go to the Muirton Boy's Home, a government-supported orphanage in Manchioneal, Portland, which was damaged during the passage of Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.