Counselling South African nationals in a situation of xenophobia : a biblical approach
Dienga, Mukanya Ada
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This study attempts to develop Biblical guidelines to minister South African nationals in a situation of xenophobia. The guidelines were developed from an interaction between normative indicators from Scripture and literature describing the sociological and psychological interpretative perspectives regarding the phenomenon of xenophobia with the indicators of a descriptive empirical study as focus point. Xenophobia in South Africa has been a result of people believing that they deserve what they consider theirs but stolen by foreigners. Migrants tend to be blamed for crime, corruption and other socioeconomic ills; they are seen as the source of illegitimate competition for jobs, trade and houses. The unfulfilled expectations lead to nationals taking out their frustrations and bitterness on foreigners. The poor are perhaps now more conscious of their rights and that create good ground for xenophobic sentiments. In addressing the problem of xenophobia in South Africa the study attempted to answer the following questions: 1. What does literature from human sciences indicate with regard to counselling in a case of xenophobia? 2. What are the factors that bring about fear and hatred as they are expressed in acts of xenophobia? 3. What is the Biblical view on xenophobia? 4. What pastoral counselling guidelines should be suggested that specifically communicate and minister the full implications of the Gospel message of reconciliation in the context under scrutiny? This study has employed the research methodology described by Dingemans (1996: 62) as he reasons that most practical theologians in recent times distinguish three aspects in a practical– theological research project: · The analysing description of the practical– theological situation; · research into normative viewpoints; · the development of a strategy for change flowing from the description of the normative viewpoints. The interaction between meta–theory, normative perspective and the empirical findings has led to four major pastoral guidelines for counselling South–African nationals impeded by xenophobia: · Perspective– renewing dimension: South Africans should show kindness to the physical foreigners knowing that they are spiritual foreigners here on earth. · Covenantal dimension: God wants South Africans to demonstrate grace and social justice to those who are the vulnerable in the society (Poor, widows and foreigners). God is love and those that find themselves connected to Him by means of the covenantal relationship should also live in love. · Eschatological dimension: South Africans should know that there is a day of judgement and therefore they should know that the attitude against the foreigners should be either punished or rewarded. · Missiological dimension: South Africans should know that the world is at their doorpost and take the opportunity to reach out to foreigners with the gospel.
- Theology