The meaning of the word gospel, emanating from the Old English, refers to good news, which is about the Kingdom of God. Currently, we are sustained by bad effects, projected in bad news about the kingdoms of this world. All problems arise from bad kingdoms. But unless we know the characteristics of bad kingdoms, we continue to despair with insurmountable challenges of the world.
But all problems can be traced to self-centeredness. The symptoms of self-centeredness, can be observed in societies, communities, families and even educational and religious institutions. The principle of democracy appeals to most people. But within that principle we find the hidden enemy of humanity.
Those who followed the recent electoral processes in the USA would testify that the President elect won, because he effectively projected self-centeredness, more than the losing candidate.
Well, there is no doubt that USA is probably the most advanced democracy in the world. They displayed some semblance of maturity, through the elevation of Obama. However, the slogan “Let us make America great again!” appeals to there being a problem of self-centeredness.
This is projected in what others view as promoting the white supremacist policies, instead of altruism. Chances are that Obama’s elevation may not have gone down well with most white Americans? Possibly, what cost Hilary Clinton could have been her association with Obama, being a man of color?
In most African countries, being least developed in democracy, tribalism is used as a determining factor, in choosing a national leader. Other factors, no matter how effective for the benefit of the country, cannot override tribal considerations. The principles of good governance can therefore, not necessarily be achieved through good democracy. Those exercising their right to vote, think more in terms of what benefits them than what benefits others.
Democracy fails, if the wishes of the majority are not considered. But it is not always possible to achieve best solutions, with effective democratic processes, as long as self-centeredness is the determining factor. Democracy focuses on what identifies with the needs of the voter, more than the voter should take responsibility to address what affects other people, as well.
This is just as dictatorships also are also directed by the same drawback, being self-centeredness. The same applies to oligarchy, colonialism and many other methods of governance. Self-centeredness is the guiding line, though many people wish they could be viewed as not being self-centred.
In modern times, monarchies have fallen out of favor, due to self-centeredness on the part of those in power, and/or self-centeredness on the part of the governed. As long as the monarchy holds expectations that violate the wishes of the people, problems surface. The governed also expect being served to their satisfaction (self-centeredness). This reveals how the principle of majority rule prevails, paving way for the adoption of democracy.
Revolutions and counter-revolutions are the order of the day, highlighting the bad news, confronting us daily. Democratic processes are not immune to abuse, as self-centeredness motivates even crooks to take advantage.
Peace-lovers, can only despair in hopelessness. While appealing, ahead of other methods, democracy can never always be the best method in coming up with what is satisfactory to everyone.
However, the good news of the Kingdom of God provides answers, though ignored since more than two thousand years ago. The eventual fulfillment of the establishment of the Kingdom of God is as certain as the rising sun tomorrow. Bad news will soon be a thing of the past.
That Kingdom could have been applicable by now, as its principles were clearly articulated by Jesus Christ. The hindrance has always been people who confuse it with religion, which is self-centred by nature. I suppose, bringing religion into Christianity, was caused by the devil, who is violently opposed to God’s Kingdom on earth.
Jesus’ mission was, to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. That Kingdom was made possible by His death on the cross, but substantiated by His resurrection. God’s Kingdom provides for the governing methods that are diametrically opposite of what prevails today. That Kingdom is based on altruism, instead of self-centeredness.
Altruism, which means selfless concern for the well-being of others, produces opposite effects, as compared with what characterizes the unlikable effects in this world.
Today, Christianity is based on blaming wrong-doers. Christians project self-centeredness more than altruism. Christianity, today, can actually be suspect, as serving the purpose of reversing the gains of the gospel of God’s Kingdom [see here] and also [here].
Instead of blaming sinners, Christians ought to identify with sinners, in order to engage in communication with them, showing paths that lead to life. All humans need survival. Using best methods of communication makes a huge difference.
The best way to approach a sinner requires tact, than being condemnatory and defensive of self. Identifying with the sinner is possible through humility that enables the sinner to communicate well with the enlightened Christian.
Jesus revealed what altruism entails. He spent most of His times in uncomfortable circumstances, risking being labeled a friend of sinners, than spending time associating with religious people. On the cross, Christ took the place of the worst sinner (Barabbas), instead of protecting His own life.
Similar behavior was projected by Paul, who declared having been everything to everyone, in his endeavor to advance the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:19-23). Paul was not a religious man, as he practiced altruism, more than self-centeredness.
Most Christians are more comfortable being identified with good people than associating with sinners, for the sake of personal integrity (Self-centeredness).
Christians cannot project the humility of Jesus, not acceptable with self-centered people. However, goodness is associated with impacting bad people to also become good.
Paul exposed the treachery, being advanced by those he identified as false Teachers (1Timothy 6:3-10). They taught that godliness was associated with making wealth gains.
Associating wealth with godliness promotes self-centeredness that appears as having become unstoppable in our country. Only God’s miracle can reverse its impact. However, the spread of the gospel of God’s Kingdom is not a lost cause. True Christianity is not about what one gets, but what one gives to benefit others (altruism).
“Personal Salvation vs. the gospel of God’s Kingdom” exposes the wrongness of self-centredness in today’s Christianity.
Christians need to take responsibility on what goes on in the world around, because Christ says they are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). The worst sin is pointing fingers at wrong-doers, instead of influencing them to change their wrong behavior. Pointing fingers is the business of Satan (Revelation 12:10).
This is heavy responsibility, but safety is in the promises of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. Those losing lives for Jesus’ sake will find it. Yet those protecting it will lose it (Matthew 10:39).
The objectives of the gospel of God’s Kingdom are not for purposes of advancing personal egos, or obtaining benefits in this age, necessarily. There may be nothing to benefit in this world, as a result of advancing God’s Kingdom.
One may not need to join any Church, except to change the mindset, from self-centeredness to altruism. The principle works like leaven that causes effects on other people, without being noticeable. We are not called to project how good we are, but how good God is [See Principles of influencing change].
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