The fall of humanity is projected in racial differences and languages. All were one in Adam. The first incident of deterioration is recorded from the point when Cain saw a different individual in Abel. This was an illusion, as Cain and Abel were two personalities projected in one man, Adam.
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets”(Matthew 7:12) (ESV).
The story of Cain and Abel projects Cain, doing the opposite of what is intended in Law and the Prophets—according to the above Scripture. The behaviour of Cain continues in our time.
It is as if doing unto others as one likes others do unto one, is impossible. The term ‘different,’ applies to humanity, as understood in language. In God all are one. This was clarified by Jesus—when conversing with a Jewish lawyer:
“…….Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him ‘what is written in the Law? How do you read it?’ And he answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.’ And he said to him, ‘You have answered correctly, do this and you will live.’ But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’”
In answer to the later question, Jesus gives a popularly regarded parable—in Christian circles—the Good Samaritan. Humanly speaking, no Samaritan could be considered as brother to any Jew of that time. There had been historical division between the Jews and the Samaritans. Nevertheless, the two groups were distant cousins.
The Jews are also Israelites—whose term qualifies them entirely—having collectively been the children of Israel (Jacob). But, the descendants of Jude are the only ones qualified to be called Jews.
The Jews had all along regarded the other ten tribes as having invited God’s wrath on the entire Israelite nation. Those other tribes had violated God’s Laws, after Jeroboam had led a rebellion that broke the relationship between the two groups.
After the death of Solomon, Rehoboam inherited the Kingdom, left by Solomon, his father. But Rehoboam’s folly had invited a rebellion that ripped the nation into two groups—being hostile to each other. Details of the cause of this division are recorded in 1 Kings 12.
Through the prophet Shemaiah, God thwarted what could have been a brutal civil war. The newly crowned King, had assembled an army—to initiate a gruelling fight against the rebelling ten tribes.
Only the small tribe of Benjamin teamed up with the tribe of Jude, to support the new King, Rehoboam. The Levites could not have left Jerusalem—due to their bestowed ministerial commitments in the Temple. Among all Israelites, no other tribe had been allotted with priesthood responsibilities.
Of the twelve sons of Israel, the tribe of Joseph is divided into two—Ephraim and Manasseh. Careful analysis of the Israelites’ story reveals that the entire tribes of Israel had, therefore, become thirteen, instead of twelve.
Having rebelled, the ten tribes anointed Jeroboam, an Ephraimite, who had previously attempted to initiate a rebellion against King Solomon. Jeroboam had become a fugitive in Egypt, before Solomon’s death (1 Kings 11:24-40). He returned to lead a rebellion, after King Solomon’s death.
Without access to Jerusalem, for purposes of religious rites—Jeroboam’s Kingdom, had to establish a different religion. Unfortunately, the new religion could not be sustained on precepts of God’s Laws—requiring Levitical priesthood.
This facilitated the deterioration of Israel—as a God’s chosen nation—towards demise. That division established a condition of enmity—as existing between the Jews and the Samaritans, at Jesus’ time. The hatred had been on public display.
This is, as also currently recognized, even in our African cultures. Families get ripped apart due to suspicions that some forefather of the other group would have invited some negative spell to the entire clan.
Newly born children on either sides, are influenced to avoid relating to those from either the offending, or defending groups—due to such historical hostilities. Under those circumstances, foreigners would rather be treated more kindly—than those considered to have caused the misfortunes of the entire clan.
Aware of that inherited divisive culture—Jesus brings up a parable that would effectively answer the Jewish lawyer. In His parable Jesus could have used a foreigner in place of a Samaritan. But that could not have had the impact. For an injured Jew to receive assistance from a Samaritan had been viewed as whimsical.
The truth that ought to be appreciated is that any human being should be regarded as a brother—being loved as oneself. Jesus addresses a reality that ought to have been—before Adam’s transgression. This is why, even in marriage the two become one (Genesis 2:24).
There is no doubt in that most Christian church denominations find the story of the Good Samaritan, not only entertaining, but also educational. Yet the same Christians are unable to address the cause of division in Christianity—if this parable is taken seriously? See [There is no denomination that represents truth].
At the end of the parable, Jesus then asked; “’Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbour to the man who fell among the robbers?” The lawyer said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go and do likewise’”(Luke 10:25-37) (ESV).
The lawyer had been well-educated on Jewish Law, as summarized in “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your strength and with all your soul, and with all your mind and your neighbour as yourself” (verse 27).
And Jesus commended the lawyer, as far as his knowledge of the Law was concerned: “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live” (verse 28). However, the knowledge of the law, and application of the Law, can be ascribed as two different matters.
Jesus could have ended the discourse after stating: “You have answered correctly.” It is the phrase, “Do this, and you will live,” that prompted the lawyer to then raise the next question, “And who is my neighbour?” This is what led to the parable of the Good Samaritan:
This last phrase is the one that—though clearly stated, it is foreign—even to the majority of our Christian brothers across the world. A pollster could reveal that all Christians give what they consider to be genuine reasons for not applying the principle: “doing this in order to live.”
It would always be the other party, found with the fault—not the one offended—or vice versa. Christians find it so relieving, when faults are with the other party—instead of themselves. Yet it is the faults of others that makes the one considered as without fault to bear more responsibility (Matthew 7:1-4).
Interestingly, others prefer remaining in the cover of not breaking away from the offending group—though being in total disagreement with them. This serves, just to keep such Christians in the comfort of doing what is required.
Unfortunately, such people may be living within the cocoon of hypocrisy. In God there is no grey area. It is, simply, either something is acceptable or unacceptable. It is either those considered different are loved as self, or they are simply not loved as self.
What does it mean to love another person as self? Well, Jesus succinctly clarified this point; “Do unto others as you would like them do unto you” (Matthew 7:12) (ESV). Apparently, this sounds like succumbing to doing the wrong thing, as the other person may prefer the unacceptable way?
This is how well-meaning Christians fall dismally. They imagine being well intent to love their brothers. But at the same time assuming that their brothers are not co-operative. They clearly see what the Bible commands. But their opponents appear as stubbornly intent to violate those Scriptures.
Such people want to be at peace with God—especially when considering the fact that God has called us to freedom. The apparent violators of God’s law make it impossible for the law-abiding Christians to practice what they consider to be truthful. See [Jesus the unifier of Christians and humanity].
Breaking away from such people, appeals as the only way to attain freedom—so as to comfortably worship God without restraints. To start with, what those people fail to appreciate is that—while called to freedom—they were not called to be comfortable (Matthew 5:10-12 and verses 44-48).
Freedom has got a price—and that price is responsibility. This is just as, a nation that declares freedom—but without taking responsibility—is living in fool’s paradise. My country, Zimbabwe, may probably be a typical example of what this means. See [The greatest Civilization emerging in Southern Africa?].
However, for Christians, the paramount handicap is failure to appreciate what effective communication entails. The ability to always give an answer—concerning the hope that one displays—ought to always come from sincerity. “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good”(1 Thessalonians 5:21) (KJV).
My own experience with most Christian brothers, reveals lack of sincerity with most of them. When engaging them into communication on some Biblical topic, they go as far as they assume being on top—concerning the subject in question.
When assuming being placed on tight corner—unable to reject the truth from another person’s point of view—they terminate the conversation. Their lack of sincerity would, therefore, be exposed, henceforth.
They place you on the pile of dreaded enemies—instead of appreciating you as a genuine friend—having given them the truth that they previously lacked. The question is on whether those people would be Christians or not.
A true Christian treats others as he/she would like to be treated. However, there is no need to worry much about those walking out on you—having heard the truth. What transpires at that point is that such people do not hold the same conviction as you, after all.
“…If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me. When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions”(Matthew 19:21-22) (ESV).
John echoes Jesus’ unveiled reality: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us”(1 John 2:19) (ESV).
The most uncomfortable reality about Christianity is that the one who holds the truth carries responsibility to help others. Sincerity is dicey, due to consideration of governance in Christianity. Hierarchical structures make it impossible to equally treat all as brothers, according to Jesus (Matthew 23:8-12).
Christian leaders go so far as preferring that the one holding the truth leaves to form his/her own Church—than them acquiescing to a person considered junior. Succumbing to a ‘junior,’ is viewed as reducing their dignity?
Some Churches would, actually, dis-fellowship such people, accusing them of causing discord. The terrible mistake, for those with truth is to succumb to resigning, without being forcibly ejected. See [Discordant reality projected through the gospel].
Under those circumstances, the forcibly ejected person probably considers such ejection providential. Than doing what most people view as honourable—peacefully resigning from the organization. But, any form of departure would be the most dis-honourable thing to do.
In Christianity, no-one is right, as to be compared with those considered to be wrong. All are wrong and only God is right (Romans 3:4). Having accessed the truth the person concerned is bestowed with the responsibility to help others.
Volunteering to part ways with them is irresponsible. They need you because you represent the light. But that does not mean engaging in arguments with them. See [Influence is the method].
But, still, that does not make the person with the truth, superior to those without the truth. Christians are dependent on each other, and not independent against each other. The failure of a brother is the failure of everyone, and the success of one, ought to be the success of everyone. See [There is no denomination that represents truth]
If all Christians understood this principle, the entire world would be on its way to recovery. The cause of division—even in Christianity—emanates from the current evil culture, associated with humanity. Racial prejudices and other forms of division in societies, are a reflection of division, as observed in Christianity.
The goal of Christianity is not to enhance the current civilization, but to influence changing upside down, what is currently viewed as normal. While, currently, everyone thinks in terms of benefiting self, the new way—as advocated by Jesus—thinks in terms of benefiting others.
Our topical question is: Why racial differences—when all are in God’s image? We have dwelt more on examining behaviours in Christian faith. The reason is that Christians are expected to represent what Jesus addressed—being principles aimed at redemption of humanity.
Appreciating differences among human beings—yet treating others in ways that one would like to be treated should be the aim. Human beings were created in God’s image. Without adopting Godly attributes, yet pretending to adopt those attributes—humanity continues to wallow in obscurity.
Christians are expected to appreciate Godly attributes ahead of everyone else—through values disseminated by Christ. The physical nature that we see in human beings is not the reality of what was created in God’s image.
The physical nature of a human being returns to the ground—not created in God’s image. This is irrespective of the skin-colour, or racial class of an individual concerned. All problems of humanity emanate from failure to appreciate this simple reality. See [Everything starts at the beginning—Part two].
Unity ought to be appreciated, only where there is difference. Without differences, human beings continue with an illusion of comparing everything to self—as the observer evaluates things according to own standards.
In some countries everyone is expected to think like the executive political authority. Those thinking differently, are regarded as enemies of the state. While, obviously, this is weird, it portrays the nature of the current civilization.
People adore their respective racial viewpoints, as to expect everyone else to view and adore things similarly—including the skin colour of humans. They also expect everyone to have the same height and weight, as themselves.
This includes consideration of everyone being of the same sex. However, no-one qualifies to be in God’s nature—without appreciating and loving the other person, similarly to how one desires to be treated.
This has got nothing to do with religion or deep theological studies. It is a principle that qualifies a person to identify with the Creator’s nature—in whose image the individual was created.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99