Truthful information does not require protection, as remaining to be what it would be. Another way of testing fallacious information could be the intensity of its advertising. When an informant declares himself as good; a wise person considers such a person with suspicion. In this world, good people are commonly not advertisers of themselves. Crafty politicians promise poor citizens heaven on earth. Self-advertising is what is called campaigning.
Campaigning in that manner happens to be the only reason why societies carry insurmountable challenges. This has characterized apathy in political activities, in Zimbabwe. All politicians are now painted with the same brush—crooks. The ideal way of serving one’s community starts with identifying with the community in question. It is impossible to love a community that one views as inferior to one. By failing to discern such treachery, citizens are often vulnerable to deception.
Good people identify with those they intend to serve. They do not attempt to impress, in order to attract votes. The uneducated assume a person driving an immaculate car deserves a political office. This is how voters are duped by crafty politicians. Tumultuous marriages are similarly characteristic of such deceptions.
Approached by a potential lover, appearing as struggling in poverty, the girl gives no second thought before scuttling the proposal. The matter of ethics, without material possessions, is not considered. The girl would be surrounded by a host of seemingly good advisers. “If unable to buy shoes for himself, how is he going to look after you?” they reason. This describes a recipe for disastrous marriages.
True love cannot be assessed by material possessions, as the two are not necessarily related. The first question to ask is whether the two would be connected in love. Yes, her expectations may be that she needs someone driving a beautiful car, inaccessible to the young man. Automatically, there would be no love connection between the two.
Out of infatuation for the girl, the young man might borrow a car, to impress the girl. But that scandal catches up with the couple when the girl discovers the ruse. The truth is that the girl did not love the young man, but the car. Without the car, there would be no love to talk about.
There would be nothing else to blame, except the car used to impress the girl. Blaming the girl for associating love with material things is not honest. The young man ought to have noticed that the car was more important than him. Material things come to pass, living the reality exposed.
Also, being attracted by a woman’s good structure is deceptive. What happens after she gets involved in an accident, leaving her disfigured? Genuine love considers the interests of the other person more than one’s own. This is different from using the other person to advance one’s own interests. Marital problems, including discordant politics, are summarized in self-centeredness.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hope, and always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues they will be stilled; where there is knowledge it will pass away” (1 Corinthians 13:4-9 NIV).
This world assumes exercising love when impatient with those not reaching acceptable standards. Kindness means punishing non-achievers. Envying is considered normal, assumed to be what spurs people to work hard. Boasting gives comfort when projecting one’s capabilities above other people.
Rudeness and obstinacy grant dignity to proud people. Love is commonly confused with self-seeking when accusing the other person of not loving enough. Short-temperedness is granted dignity. Demanding respect is considered normal. Keeping a record of wrongs is considered virtuous.
Wrong things of more than twenty years ago, are found necessary to evoke today. Our public media delights in highlighting scandals, more than highlighting what is good for the development of the community. Hardly do people rejoice with the truth.
Condemning evil-doers appeals more than transforming them; especially to those also susceptible to committing similar evil. Condemning, rather than protecting, brings a good feeling. Rather than hope for the best, people enjoy declaring how wicked the world has become. Attracted to lacking perseverance, those of this world maintain excuses for failure to pursue goodness.
In a country characterized by Zimbabwean conditions, prophetic messages, popularized by speaking in tongues, are common. But there is nothing permanent about prophetic messages, such as ending, after fulfilment. The same applies to speaking in tongues, meant to fascinate only the unbelievers.
Knowledge is good, as it also grants power and authority. But the effectiveness of knowledge ceases when others would have also attained the same knowledge. However, greater knowledge is controlled by genuine love. To be in control, after achieving knowledge, requires genuine love.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this that one lays down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you”(John 15:12-15 NIV).
Jesus remains the standard bearer of genuine love. There is no record of Him ever imposing His authority on others. He never invalidated anyone, but granted beingness, even to the most despised people in society. Those applying genuine love are Jesus’ friends. This demonstrates the principle of Love at the same level as Jesus Christ. Hence, He comes accompanied by other Kings and Lords (Revelation 19:16).
It is laughable when people pretend to love Jesus but despise His brothers and friends. This profound truth is highlighted in Matthew 25:40: “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine; you did for me.” The projection of genuine love distinguishes between true and false Christians.
“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 grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth, and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:5-11 NIV).
When reminiscing on the Prodigal Son Parable, we see two brothers on equal footing. But, later, the Father promotes the faithful brother for having always been with Him. This agrees with the exaltation of Jesus, as highlighted in the above Scripture. This shows that there had been a time when Jesus was equal with His brothers. His exaltation came at that time when He humbled himself and became obedient unto death—even death on a cross.
The whole matter of discovering deliverance lies in Jesus’ teachings and demonstrations. What remains clear is that a leader cannot be associated with dictatorship. A leader bears the responsibility to bring others out of confusion. He bears the interests of those being helped, rather than his own. Authoritarian leadership empowers one to be served, but Jesus taught the opposite principle.
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”(Matthew 20:25-28 NIV).
The legendary instruction qualifies or disqualifies people, whether they would be fake or genuine believers. Common sense portrays that true believers follow Jesus’ teachings without alteration. Only those applying the above passage of Scripture without alteration would be genuine followers of Jesus. The most difficult thing is to apply Christ’s words, especially to those sincerely desiring to obey the instructions of Jesus.
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” (John 8:31-33 NIV).
What is intriguing here is that the Jews who had believed most of what Jesus taught were not on the same wavelength as Jesus. Their comfort and pride in being Abraham’s descendants was a form of enslavement. All trappings of humanity remain in this particular condition. Rarely, can one convince a renowned Scholar, of possible wrongness in the dogmatic position, adopted from theological studies. Anything viewed as simple is viewed as not convincing enough. This is particularly so when the Professor has followers behind him.
Think of a simple healing miracle performed by Jesus on a person having been born blind. Jesus performed a miracle, hitherto, not performed by anyone. Instead of celebrating with the healed person, for God’s miracle, in their midst, they sought to ridicule the formerly blind person. Later, Jesus said something that remains misunderstood by most religious people:
Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” Jesus said, “You have now seen him, in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshipped him. Jesus said, “For judgment, I have come into this world so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?” Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains” (John 9:35-41 NIV).
We have to identify the sin, that Jesus was talking about. A careful analysis of the passage shows that Jesus was talking about the confidence, exuded by those claiming to know. The sin of humanity that Jesus came to remove is pride. Assuming to know, but without taking that information directly from the source, is fallacious. All other sins are not of importance, as cannot cause condemnation, but the sin referred to, by John the Baptist:
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29 NIV).
The most difficult thing is to penetrate the citadel of Christianity, advancing this reality. If not called names, one might be labelled a heretic and be banned from the Christian religion. Ordinary Christians get warned of information coming from strange philosophers where Colossians 2:8 is used to validate the assumed heresy. Naïve believers are quick to adopt their condemnation, considering that the information, although cited in the Scriptures, would not be commonly taught.
Authoritarians can never believe Jesus’ teachings. They are there to block those intending to understand the teachings of Jesus. The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law were cited as believing that anyone, not coming from their ranks cannot be authentic. They had the audacity to unashamedly convince their followers of survival information, but without results.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are”(Matthew 23:13-15 NIV).
Sadly, it does not look like these religious authorities would be aware of the gravity of their conduct. They remain convinced that they would be carrying God’s responsibility to protect others from deception. However, God’s truth does not need protection, as found only in the application of Jesus’ teachings. If Jesus is the only authority to remove the sin of humanity, His words need to be taken literally, without alteration. However, this appears unachievable by those obsessed with authoritarian traditions.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the 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 relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope, in a simple conversational tone.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99