Jesus, stood before Pilate and got killed, being assumed as dabbling in politics. John the Baptist died in prison, due to what many could ascribe to dabbling in politics. The problem with traditional Christians is their propensity to avoid responsibility. Yet Jesus was very clear in that Christians should be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). A true Christian is not interested in pleasing anyone, but standing for the truth without compromise.
However, it is the aspiration to seek political leadership by dubious means that Christians should not be associated with. A Christian should always be forthright, on matters of truth and service to ordinary humanity. The only difference between a Christian and a worldly politician is that a Christian advances what sustains God’s kingdom. While a worldly politician advances his personal ego.
A politician, especially, those from African politics, seeks to take advantage of the ignorant majority, manipulating them for his own gains. In Zimbabwe, since independence, in 1980, the poor populace have been going to polling stations to vote for their favorite politicians. The so-called favorite politicians are quite excellent in promising lies. Each and every polling season, the same politicians come with the same, previously unfulfilled promises.
If asked why the previous promises were not met, the politician easily manufacture new lies to manipulate the ignorant. In Zimbabwe, the most convenient lie has been the Western sanctions. The same uneducated people were the ones used to engage in chaotic land distribution. This, then, becomes easy for the politicians to tell them: “The West is punishing us for taking land from their fellow kinsman.” Obviously, this becomes fantastic music in the ears of the duped majority?
Meanwhile, the so-called sanctions, are not even connected to the land question. Poor farming, due to lack of farming expertise, is real cause. The problem with an ignorant person is that he/she can never accept being ignorant. This, therefore, becomes a great challenge to whoever seeks to help such poor fellows. Their resistance of the progressive information is premised on ignorance, more than on rationality. They, therefore, create erstwhile enmity against their own shadows.
The seemingly clever, but just dubious politicians would be totally aware of their stupidity. They know that telling those people the truth, would erode their support base. When addressing them, the politician knows the words to use—resonating with the stupidity of the ignorant. Such cunning behavior is recorded in Paul’s ministry, in the book of Acts:
“About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way. A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in a lot of business for the craftsmen there. He called them together, along with the workers in related trades, and said: “You know, my friends, that we receive a good income from this business. And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that gods made by human hands are no gods at all. There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited; and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty.”
When they heard this, they were furious and began shouting: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” Soon the whole city was in an uproar. The people seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia, and all of them rushed into the theater together” (Acts 19:23-30) (NIV).
Obviously, the crafty silversmith, Demetrius, had no idea or desire to obey God, or the gods, of those poor Ephesians. His interest was merely in making good business out of their ignorance and stupidity. He came up with the right words, in order to whip their emotions to silence the apostle Paul. This was not for their own good, but for the good of the crafty politicians and businessmen. Paul merely stood for the truth, in preaching against idolatry.
This Biblical record reveals how the current situation in Zimbabwe is played on the same tract of that dubious manipulation. Anyone can assume that, currently, people are exposed to better education, than those of Paul’s times—but that is far from the truth. The education that people, currently, boast about is mostly false.
Like the crafty Demetrius, our politicians have been allowed to reduce our beautiful country to the current rabbles. The most disturbing thing is that the manipulated people, actually, worship such dubious characters, as to fight on their corner. Paul had to be warned by his fellow disciples, not to venture into addressing that problem. He could have prematurely, lost his own life, under those circumstances:
“Paul wanted to appear before the crowd, but the disciples would not let him. Even some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, sent him a message begging him not to venture into the theater” (Acts 19:30-31) (NIV).
This goes to show how this world is entrenched in stupidity, resulting from ignorance. But there is no need to give up the fight. If Paul never managed to address that problem, he is doing so, today, to those willing to listen. Before he was taken out of this world, Paul declared:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8) (NIV).
When committed to educate ignorant people to be enlightened against stupidity, like Paul, a Christian can be labelled as dabbling in politics. Fearing that label, as to protect oneself, that Christian finds wisdom in maintaining silence. This describes the Zimbabwean condition—hence the country is in hell. Those calling themselves, Christians, are in abundance. But, they are like clouds without rain.
In fact, such dubious Christians serve to entrench the evil system, as caricatured in ZANU PF. What is prudent to them is maintaining a good relationship with the government of the day, regardless of how evil. I suppose, they, actually, ridicule John the Baptist, for having been executed in prison, standing for that principle. Yet, that man of God represented the true price of Christianity.
People need true education, as was brought by Jesus, on this planet. The suffering, as prevailing in Zimbabwe, is unnecessary. Most of those suffering are, actually, committed Church-goers. They appear as God-fearing and dedicated to prayer. But very much afraid of standing up for the truth. They are pleasers of men more than pleasing God. A true Christian stands for truth, which is unpopular in this world of sin.
True Christians cannot take a back seat, when dubious politicians commit serious evils against poor people. The only group of people who can make a difference are Christians—not by clamoring for political positions—but focusing on eradicating evil. There is no other way of addressing toxicity in the political environment, unless Christians appreciate their role, as peace-makers. Prayer is good. But what is prayer without actions. Before leaving, Jesus declared:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20) (NIV).
When carrying the power of Jesus, why, then, should Christians be afraid of anything? Their mandate is to preach the gospel. But the gospel cannot be preached by those who do not even know what that gospel entails—let alone knowing its significance. The four gospel books are clear in revealing that the gospel implies good news of the Kingdom of God. Confronted by a high ranking official of the Roman Empire, Jesus had this to say:
“Then Pilate said to him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.’ Pilate said to him, ‘What is truth?’
“After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, ‘I find no guilt in him. But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?’ They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber” (John 18:38-40) (ESV).
Obviously, this quashes a legendary lie, among those assuming that Jesus was not a politician? Jesus was, indeed, a politician, but from a different sphere. The reason why Pilate could not find fault with Jesus, is that Jesus spoke the truth—-opposed only by those engulfed in falsehood. Pilate saw truth in Jesus, which His tormentors failed to see. If our beloved Christians stand for the truth of Jesus, why would they be so timid, as to be unable to confess it against our modern-day politicians?
The ever present, but undeniable truth is that one is not a Christian, as long as afraid to offend. In other words, one is not a Christian, as long as unable to stand for the truth, which has got no limitation. One is not a Christian, as long as unable to confront the idolaters. One is not a Christian, as long as taking comfort in what goes on in this world of sin. One is not a Christian, as long as dining with the privileged, as if blind to the suffering majority.
Out of self-righteousness, our modern-day Christians enjoy talking privately, about what goes on in politics. But they are unwilling to confront those politicians. You often hear most of them, stating that we are waiting for Jesus to come and take us out of the problems that the evil people of this world are doing. They would actually be unaware that by labelling such politicians as evil, they would, actually, be conferring the same judgment upon themselves (Matthew 7:1-4).
I suppose, there cannot be a criminal behavior that surpasses keeping to oneself, valuable information that could, otherwise, save humanity. When scrutinizing why a person would behave like that, one finds nothing but pride. When privileged with some truth, ahead of others, one carries a heavy responsibility. One cannot just decide to keep quiet, when people continue to die, in ignorance.
Those reneging on that responsibility, ought to realize that they deserve to account for the blood of those innocent people—dying due to ignorance. Our life on earth is very short. It is a question of what one does during that short period of existence. My recommendation is that it is better to become part of those evil politicians than taking comfort in falsely calling oneself a Christian. Yet doing nothing, as demanded of the calling of being a Christian.
Politics is a dirty game. Therefore, Christianity should also be similarly viewed. When in interface with those engaged in such dirty game, being a Christian, one becomes dirty as well. This is natural, when looking at the cross that Christians have to bear, from whichever angle one looks at it. Having come from heaven, Jesus became soiled by the sins of humanity. Christians are advised to behave like-wise:
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition, or vain conceit, but in humility, consider others better than yourselves. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:4-8) (NIV).
The greatest responsibility of all time, is assuming being a Christian. No-one should be a Christian, for lacking other things to do. This is because Christianity is THE thing. If a person is comfortable in not being a true Christian, he/she should, therefore, not dabble in Christianity. That person should, instead, give room, allowing true Christians, to then effectively do their job. If things are bad, in a Christian’s environment, certainly, something would be wrong. It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee.
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
Also available as an e-copy at Lulu.com for $6.99