Humanity wallows in world problems, due to lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). Even though Peter warns that Satan is the predator that Christians ought to be wary of (1 Peter 5:8). However, the real enemy of humanity is ignorance. Equipped with knowledge, one can be able to identify the schemes of the devil. Knowledge is necessary for attaining total freedom.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19) (ESV).
The above scripture is probably one of the most misunderstood, in the entire Bible. If that was not the case, we would not be seeing existent confusion, even in Christianity. It is hard to believe that deception can easily grip humanity with such magnitude. But, all this is centered on failure to recognize, or appreciate the significance of the man called Jesus.
The captives that Jesus referred to, had little to do with the prisoners of war, necessarily. It also had little to do with those reeling under the chains of colonialism, imperialism or any other form of political subjugation. It included all those; but Jesus embraced the entire systematic oppression, causing all forms of discomfort for humanity.
While, obviously, possessing the knowledge about the identity of the Creator, the Jews were entrenched in the systematic bondage that encompasses the entire humanity. The Seven Woes aimed at the Scribes and Pharisees serve to address the systematic slavery of humanity, caped with the following climax:
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves” (Matthew 23:13-15) (ESV).
There was a time when I couldn’t distinguish between pride and authoritarianism as depicting the chief cause of sinfulness. Shutting the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces refers to the cause of authoritarianism. While assumed as bringing order and therefore desirable comfort, authoritarianism promotes the incapacitation of humanity.
According to Jesus, those hypocrites traveled far and wide, preaching the gospel, but eventually causing the converts to be worse than the preachers. I cannot think of any other more serious crime against God’s Kingdom than this one. But, this underlines the effects of ignorance.
Preachers endeavor to convert people towards Christ. But they make those converts twice as much, the children of hell than them. The cause of this problem cannot go beyond authoritarianism, which begets pride, the seed of all evil.
Authoritarianism promotes the principle of adulating other people, while invalidating others. This is what causes envy, idolatry and all other sinful conducts. The most important datum is that all humans were created in God’s image. They are different, one to the other, but none is better or worse than the rest. Whatever the bad conduct of any person, it is caused by failure to identify with the purpose of one’s creation.
Others produce readily accessible fruits to benefit other humans. Yet others appear as not producing any value. Out of envy, the unproductive ones tend to copy, or adulate those considered as heroes. They do so, instead of identifying with their own talents and abilities.
However, the inability to produce, at any given time, does not make anyone valueless. God never created anything without purpose, especially humans—created in His own image. Knowledge implies identifying with one’s purpose of existence, accordingly, producing fruits.
In His creation, God left nothing that could not be viewed as very good (Genesis 1:31). Like other creatures, humans were also created at that stage of God’s creative process. It could not have been possible for God to create anything without purpose. The Garden of Eden incident story reveals diversion from that which was created in perfect condition, leading to the current confusion.
The most unfortunate thing is that people have a tendency to abuse anything whose reason for creation is not known. Also, without knowing their own purpose of existence, most humans abuse everything that God created and declared as very good. The abuse confirms the effects of ignorance of God’s purpose of creation.
Authoritarians want everyone to behave like them, evaluating others according to their set standards. They take up positions of being gods, thereby, influencing others to perpetuate the same, before their demise. Anyone doing things differently is regarded as threat, thereby being ruthlessly dealt with.
Throughout the ages, any advancement in knowledge has faced stern resistance, before the brave inventors are eventually deified. People like Steve Jobs, come to mind. The man who invented the iPad is undoubtedly regarded as great, only because of his tenacity in pursuing his career.
His greatness arises from his ability to withstand opposition and remaining focused towards achieving what he believed in. But any other person, next to him would also be just as great, in their own field, except for those who succumb to the authoritarian environment.
In Africa, the environment is particularly more obstructive. The Bible shows that blacks are just as human as anyone else in the world, having also been created in God’s image. But our harsh environment dictates that blacks are subhuman and, therefore, incomparable to other races. This is why most blacks prefer to be identified with other races, than their own.
The weaknesses found with blacks are not genetic. They are a result of the oppressive culture, arising from the past, establishing the white supremacism. Out of ignorance, the Pan-Africanists, in favor of revolutionary struggles, get confused. In most cases, such revolutions produce the opposite of what would be intended.
The revolutionary leaders seek to repeat, emulate or exacerbate the behavior of their colonizers. They declare independence, but remain envious of their former colonizers. They continue to view those former colonizers as better than them. They also become oblivious of the fact that their own subjects were also created in God’s image, but each being totally different from others.
It seems as impossible for most African people to discover their true potential. They continue to evaluate themselves, according to standards, set by their former colonizers. While declaring independence, they cannot think differently form their former colonizers’ viewpoints. [See “Leadership vacuums”]
There was no mistake in being born black. One is different and great in his/her own right, regardless of skin color. While one may not know reasons for existence, each, though appearing as despicable, is created in God’s image.
Here is an interesting story by my nephews, a teacher in one of the less developed regions of Binga. One of his fellow teachers got bitten by a highly poisonous snake. As other teachers were frantically collecting funds for fuel, in order to transport the snake victim to Hospital, a Tonga man arrived.
Surprised that they took snake-biting that serious, the Tonga man simply got into the bush and came back with some herb to cure the victim. Within three hours, the victim recovered, as to resume work the following day.
When I asked my nephew, as to how much they paid the Tonga man, he told me that the way the healer treated the incident was more of routine as not to expect to be paid anything.
Possibly, if a Doctor from some Western European University had been consulted, the calling price could have probably been unreachable. One does not need to understand concepts of revolution to appreciate that such stories have got nothing to do with colonialism. Except that other people are considered less valuable than others.
The truth that remains is that a human being does not need graduation from any college to be valuable. We were all born with some value. But the oppressive system forces us to invalidate other people while adulating others. However, only God can help an individual to identify with his/her talent, without need for authoritarians to be involved.
The herbal Tonga man may be unable to spell his name. Yet able to effectively save someone’s life, through his herbal knowledge, making him special, but taken for granted. This example passes for addressing situations that insists on obtaining graduation before any God-given talent can be appreciated. God did not create anything without perfecting it.
To Jeremiah, God declared knowing him before he was in his mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5). The same applies to each and every one of us. We may not be the Jeremiahs or the Steve Jobs, but we have got our own special areas of capabilities that no-one else can fulfill. But through ignorance, most people die without ever achieving their potential.
The authoritarians, whether parents, teachers, pastors or government officials, are actively involved in making sure that no-one achieves his/her potential. While Jesus came to loosen such bonds of slavery, the authoritarians use Christianity to nullify Jesus’ noble mission of restoring human dignity. Authoritarians are generally given credence, yet advancing the opposite of what Jesus taught. [See Pastor-The centre of confusion].
Ignorance has its roots in failure to appreciate that a human being was created in God’s image. When God created any person, though despised, is as perfect as knowing the purpose of his/her creation. He/she lacks nothing that God intended for him/her. However, the system, traditions and customs, block him/her away from his/her potential.
Only a few people die having identified with their purpose of being created. But such people succumb to the comfort of being deified by others. Most of them assume being super-human, instead of helping others to discover their own potential, as well. Each person needs to appreciate that God had special reason for creating them. And that reason is as good as God is good.
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.
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