Humanity aims at belonging to some group but prefers to be identified with the like-minded. For instance, a person feels comfortable identifying with those of his language. Or it could be those of the same race or the same culture that one prefers to linger with.
The sense of belonging provides opportunities for racial divisions or cultural divisions. In less developed countries tribalism can be allowed to tear a nation apart. Nothing appears sinister when considering the fact that humanity craves belonging to some grouping.
However, there is a cause for every effect. Racial tensions are a product of solidarities structured from social preferences. Imagine a war of such magnitude as currently prevailing in Ukraine? There was a time when Russia and Ukraine were in solidarity. What happened?
The analysts suggest that the war was triggered by Ukraine’s desire to relate to Western nations. This points to some hidden animosity between Russia and Western nations, emanating from unresolved historical tensions. As Russia discarded communism, unacceptable to Western nations, one would have assumed such tensions would no longer exist.
Civilized as those nations appear to be, one assumes that communication would easily resolve such conflicts. However, humanity carries ego, impossible to handle easily. Solidarity with the like-minded groupings, rather than appearing as succumbing to strangers, creates tension. The sin of Ukraine was seeking solidarity with NATO, considered unfriendly to Russia, yet sharing the neighbourhood with Russia.
Differences, leading to stupendous conflicts can be tribal or as trivial as supporting rival football clubs. One feels threatened when existing among social rivals. It is often difficult to deduce which group to blame when violence breaks out between rival groupings.
None of them deserves blame, necessarily, as based on tastes. Someone may even feel uncomfortable when associating with disabled people. Yet others may prefer associating with such people, more than with the able-bodied ones. There is an aspect of confronting, which, humanity remains unaware of its significance.
It should not be a question of why prefer what others do not prefer, but how to confront whatever preference. Happiness lies in the ability to confront any condition and any situation. Children would settle faster than adults, after migrating to a strange environment. This could be the reason why Jesus suggested adopting Children’s attitudes, to be eligible for God’s Kingdom.
Without the ability to confront, adults have a real challenge, settling into a new environment. This starts with mastering the language and cultural dictates. The faster, one learns to appreciate those, the faster one becomes happier, even in what one considers to be a strange environment.
The unhappy people are those unwilling to confront. The aspect of confronting requires dealing with whatever makes one uncomfortable. If constituting harmfulness to humanity, that makes it a good reason for that thing, or person to be handled.
Perhaps the most serious social conflict, among most people, could be homosexuality. What I have always found strange, though, is that it is mostly those calling themselves “Christians” with the difficulty, in tolerating such people? If truly a Christian believer, one would certainly be aware of treating others as desiring to be treated? (Matthew 7:12).
The aspect of confronting includes understanding those people, without condemning them. Without God’s Spirit, understanding them may be a challenge. But with the aspect of confronting, one may, actually, engage in some study, to first appreciate the causes of homosexuality.
This is different from sermonizing, using Scriptural references, and presuming to be more righteous. Christianity is not about converting other people to one’s likeness. But helping others to appreciate being Christ-like. It remains to be Christ’s prerogative, whether to change that person’s homosexual condition or not.
It cannot be the role of Christian believers to alienate others who also claim to be believers. Nowhere, in the Christian Bible did Jesus say such people should be avoided, or condemned. Whoever behaves in that manner would be yet to be grounded in the Christian faith.
Such people would be those, the apostle Paul described as babies in Christianity (1 Corinthians 3:1-4 & 1 Corinthians 1:10-17). The aspect of confronting is not an issue with those willing to confront anything. A Christian believer is not limited by anything, in this world. Christian believers have the power and ability to, even, cast out demons in Jesus’ name (Mark 16:17).
When unable to confront situations, in this world, one might not yet be grounded in the Christian faith. Otherwise, a believer is the one who is able to confront anything, with the intention of removing error or whatever would be evil. Jesus said with faith as little as a mustard seed, Christians would not be limited, in any way.
This world is entangled in matters of desiring solidarity, before loving common people. This ought to be understandable to Christian believers, equipped with the role of being the salt or the light of the world. The only thing that makes a Christian believer different; is the ability to confront.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”(2 Corinthians 5:17-21 NIV).
The inability to look at another person directly in the eye reflects a condition of inability to confront. Interestingly, those failing to use eye contact with other people; cannot confront. Such people become emotionally charged when facing situations that they disagree with.
They assume problems are solved by avoiding those they disagree with. However, avoiding problems cannot be applicable, especially to Christian believers. Equipped with the ministry of reconciliation, one is expected to confront anything, including demons.
A Christian believer cannot be defeated by anything, as able to confront anything. A person who is unable to directly look at another person—eyeball to eyeball—would be hiding something. Without anything to hide, there is no reason to dodge questions even from the most hostile people.
Among Christians, I know of those unable to tolerate Jehovah’s Witness believers, for instance. It often turns out that those people would be failing to handle the Scriptures, put forward by Jehovah’s Witness believers. Such confronted believers become intimidated when tested, scripturally.
They, therefore, opt towards making Jehovah’s Witness believers wrong, thereby feeling comfortable without them. That is typical of most denominational Christian believers, who would be unable to confront the Scriptures. But it is impossible for one to be a Christian believer, without being able to confront (1 Peter 3:15).
Truth has got nothing to do with dogmatic posturing. A truthful person behaves like the Bereans. The standard should always be Jesus. The other person may be correct. Why should that make a Christian believer feel uncomfortable? Shouldn’t the new revelation be treated as granting an opportunity to thank God for revealing the truth?
When unable to confront the truth, one would be yet to be converted. Christianity is defined by a willingness to learn. Such are those people who Jesus said would be poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3). A person avoiding what challenges him/her would be scared of disturbing his/her solidarity with his group.
Rather than show the new understanding to his/her group, the person feels intimidated. That aspect of failure to confront would be caused by introversion. The person then chooses to avoid the truth. The person may not even be aware that he/she would be displaying cowardice, which the Bible teaches against.
“This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the Day of Judgment: In this world, we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love”(1 John 4:17-18 NIV).
This does not necessarily mean the information from another source would always be true. But, there would be a difference between discarding errors from an informed source, and rejecting information, ignorantly. When helped to discard error, that could be the only value with the idea of solidarity. There would be nothing to lose, after having been shown the error, except growing in grace.
“As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men”(Acts 17:10-12 NIV).
The aspect of solidarity is as dangerous as assuming that there is protection in a group, rather than protection in Jesus. Christianity implies abiding in Jesus, more than taking comfort with group solidarity. Denominationalism has caused a failure to individually examine the Scriptures. This is out of assuming that there would be safety in solidarity. But when going by what Jesus taught, the opposite is true.
Jesus remains the only model, in terms of dealing with matters of survival. God’s Kingdom is based on matters of survival. Solidarity gives an impression of carrying survival attributes when the opposite is true. The teachings of Jesus carry factors of survival, as opposed to anti-survival factors. Below is an example that Jesus used to deliver information about the danger of introversion, concerning survival.
From that time on, Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me”(Matthew 16:21-24 NIV).
The implication of the above Scripture seems to be suggesting that it is wrong to protect oneself from danger? This can, of course, be confusing to those assuming that self-defence is natural, for survival. But the ferocity with which Jesus rebuked Peter; suggests that self-defence is the opposite of survival. Satan is the opponent of survival.
Humanity is entrapped on a non-survival trajectory, which necessitated Jesus’ appearance for our redemption. The above Scripture should, therefore, be regarded as key, to survival considerations. The rest of what Jesus taught stems from this particular truism, as outlined in the above Scripture.
“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.What good will it be; for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”(Matthew 16:25-26 NIV).
To ordinary people, saving one’s life requires introversion. When a person pursues an idea of self-defence, he/she would be pursuing the opposite of survival, according to Jesus. The satanic version of Satan’s deception is that self-defence is necessary for survival, whereas Jesus teaches the opposite.
It is a matter of who to believe, between Jesus and Satan. But the answer, to that question, reveals the significance of survival. In short, the pursuance of survival can either be viewed as obtainable by either defending or confronting evil. The aspect of confronting evil implies separating truth from error, aiming at quashing falsehood, while defending implies avoiding the truth.
The problems of humanity can be handled by confronting falsehood, intending to advance truthfulness. Jesus stated that only the truth is what sets humanity free. This is as workable as applicable in human conduct. The unhappy people are those, unwilling to confront the truth.
The happiest people, in this world, can be those known to be willing to confront anything as long as they maintain the idea of remaining truthful. This is just as goes the saying: “A man with a clean heart can never be hurt.” When feeling uncomfortable with confronting anything or anyone, in this world, it is because one would be having something to hide.
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.
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