Living in this world can be exciting, but quite challenging and not worth it, for some people. Disappointments are a result of the inability to confront the realities, when the supported team loses, for instance. In a game of football, one spends sleepless nights, having lost a match.
However, genuine football fans know that nothing is exciting about football if the supported team never gets beaten. Of course, the team feels depressed after losing, when the opponent celebrates. The reverse becomes true when the opponent slumps to obit gloom when winners glow in celebration.
Both teams, though opposing each other, look forward with high hopes of winning in their next game. Professional footballers never wish calamities befalling their opponents. They meet socially, sharing common experiences of disappointments and excitements.
It is impossible for footballers to hate their opponents, as enjoyment is derived from playing formidable opponents. In short, the game of football is about experiences in both winning and losing. While preferring winning all the time, losing also helps in maintaining the fun and excitement on the peak.
Life, in general, is not different from the experiences in football games. One can be in good health today, only falling sick the following day. One could be in good health today but becoming devastated after losing the loved one.
The game of life is just as temporary as the game of football is temporary. Footballers are not scared of being injured in the game. Similarly, there is nothing to be scared of, in the game of life.
Whatever it would be that proffers enjoyment, professionalism would be in the midst of it all. Professionalism is necessary for football, just as professionalism is necessary for any other discipline, involved with life. The experiences of life and death, necessitate professionalism.
The highly innovative individuals have alleviated the burdens that come with death experiences. Others are known to provide professionalism in mourning. If finding it difficult to mourn one’s loved one, the easiest way is to hire professional mourners to do what they know best, mourning and wailing.
Let alone the professional grave-diggers in rural areas, who, unfortunately, seem disorganized, as not paid sufficiently. They do well, but without being paid anything, except food and opaque beer. This is notwithstanding their being used as utilities, in ensuring decent burials for the dead.
Life, whose demise is always vigorously resisted, is as temporary as the flowers are temporary. Inevitably, life cessation is as certain as the rising sun tomorrow. The most formidable question, after stating these drawbacks about life is: What can one do to make life worthwhile?
Our prime model is Jesus. In less than thirty-five years of His physical existence, Jesus left an impact, still felt, even in our present time. Nevertheless, the history of humanity, even without the Bible, is plotted with several impactful luminaries.
Each human was created with a role to play, just as the eleven players in any football match, bear respective roles. Some get substituted in the duration of the match, while others stick it out, until the end. Nevertheless, none of the players would be treated differently.
The team players win or lose as a team, bearing the same dignity that identifies them as a team, and not as individuals. In a winning team, each team player celebrates, without the consideration of who was most outstanding in that game.
Similarly, in a losing team, players are dejected without blaming those having fluffed, causing the letdown in that game. A good team wins or loses as a team. Rarely, does one team member celebrate where the rest of the team members become dejected for losing?
A careful study of winning teams reveals that bad performers are not necessarily vilified. While valued and appreciated, the outstanding ones are also not, necessarily, idolized. Teamwork demands being utilized for the purpose of winning as a team, not as individuals.
The game of football is used here as an example. But principles apply similarly to any other discipline, including the game of life. To survive well, one may start a family. The purpose of life is meaningful, only when providing service to other people, comprising family members.
Marriage is necessary for those seeking to create their own models of civilization. But the work of service can also be provided to anyone, lacking adequate provisions of a good life. Humans are the same, regardless of background. Serving other humans, without considering their background, can be as satisfying as serving familial members.
Those seeking to solely benefit themselves appear as carrying an advantage. But the opposite is true. Marriage gives an opportunity to serve other people, which is better than self-serving. Many advantages can result from existing as a family unit.
Families enable being catered for, when unable to self-support, due to some illness. Other family members’ services are assured, in the event of encountering unforeseen problems in life. This includes decent burials. Imagine a loner dying, without family members?
This is why a nation with family values in disarray will always be doomed. Limitations still exist, as long as family members are self-centered. The self-centered family members without community support can also be as devastated as loners.
In appearance, familial limitations are not as bad as the limitations that are encountered by the loners. But family members are advantaged, only when cooperative. Problems arise when reneging in responsibilities to support other disadvantaged family members.
While appearing as at an advantage, familial groups easily relapse to syndromes that affect those focusing on self-beneficiation. A careful analysis reveals that while commendable to establish families, nothing works, without also considering what affects other groupings.
Beyond familial, there are clans enhancing even much better survival. The proper management of clans requires valuable educators, whose real purpose would be to disseminate valuable information. Good knowledge, answers survival questions for every clan member.
From such clans, develops a better society, compared to others in the environment. The model of a properly managed clan influences others in the environment, which then influences the entire nation. Basically, this describes how civilizations are formulated.
A nation can become a jewel for the entire world, stemming from properly managed families, developing into clans. Influencing the regionally decent lifestyles leads to absorption into a culture for the entire nation. No nation lives on an island, similar to how individuals, families, clans, cannot live on islands.
Some family members may not produce children, to form their own clans. Their productivity may not be as good as that of other family members. Just as other people, outside the familial tree, can, actually, be more productive than those of the concerned family members.
Therefore, the only answer to human survival is found in not discriminating against any human being. Hence the axiom: “Do to others as you would like them to do to you,” embraces everything. Jesus attributed this to what sums up the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12).
Catering for oneself is just as important as catering for one’s own family members. This does not imply that catering for own family members is not as important as catering for none-family members. This provides the only reason why Jesus did not marry, as to raise a family for Himself. The life of service cannot be limited to family members.
The dynamics of humanity is that there is safety, only when catering to the survival of others. Bad characters are a result of not taking responsibility for the environment. Whether bearing children or not, the best idea is to cater to others. The next-door neighbor should be the beneficiary of a knowledgeable person, in the environment.
In other words, one person whose knowledge and influence is pro-survival changes the entire community to behave likewise. This is based on common sense, more than based on cultural or religious considerations. Culture and religion are driven by fear, more than being driven by reason and intellectualism.
Due to desiring to be protected, a fearful person can never produce anything. In this life, no one is superior or inferior. We have the educated and the uneducated, resulting from the educated not taking responsibility.
Fear is what causes Africans to assume that anything coming from overseas is superior. This is also what causes feelings of jealousy when another person achieves what one is incapable of achieving. Fear causes dictators to be so obsessed with power.
There are those who assume that dictatorship is a sign of strength. However, dictatorship is a sign of weakness, resulting from fear, which is opposed to strength. A dictator feels threatened, as would have committed malevolent deeds against other human beings. This is why it is quite easy to understand human behavior.
The fear of dictators is driven by a feeling that other people would seek revenge. Also, having been worshipped all along, dictators cannot imagine having to be under somebody else. The behavior of King Saul, against David, may not have been understood by many people, except those having studied the characteristics of human behavior.
Human beings have a proclivity to dislike being looked down upon. The most dehumanizing condition in this life is to be demoted because the current civilization suggests granting superiority to those in leadership. The history of slavery is what makes humans feel dehumanized when demoted from higher ranks.
Dictators prefer being surrounded by a crew of bodyguards. The idea of being surrounded by bodyguards gives a sense of security. This is notwithstanding that some of those dictators get assassinated by their own bodyguards.
There is no security that is better than the one derived from harmoniously coexisting with other humans. Of course, there are some people who seek to eliminate those liked by the majority. This is due to envy, when unable to emulate those liked by the majority. Interestingly, it seems all good leaders, actually, love being criticized.
Another way of separating good leaders from bad ones is in that the good leaders rarely retaliate even when wrongly criticized by their adversaries. The history of those, like the late former South African President Mandela, reveals befriending with enemies, more than befriending with one’s own erstwhile friends.
“You love those who hate you and hate those who love you. You have made it clear today that the commanders and their men mean nothing to you. I see that you would be pleased if Absalom were alive today and all of us were dead.” (2 Samuel 19:6 NIV).
These were the words of Joab, to King David, who expressed incontrollable remorse for the death of Absalom, having sought to kill his father. Although running away from Absalom, who was displaying his moment of madness, David appeared not afraid of being killed by his son.
His bodyguard, Joab, may have borne the offense, but David was not vindictive. This did not go down well with his chief bodyguard, Joab, who assumed that security came from destroying one’s enemies. However, security comes from not being scared of one’s enemies but loving them and wishing the best for them.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them on the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” (Matthew 5:38-42 NIV).
Jesus practiced what He taught. On several occasions, Jesus escaped from those who sought to stone Him to death. But nothing could stop Jesus from accomplishing His assignment. Unlike King David, moving around with bodyguards, there is no record, suggesting that Jesus sought protection from bodyguards.
On the night of His trial, Jesus did not resist those seeking to arrest Him. Peter had promised to be His faithful and trusted bodyguard, in those difficult times (Matthew 16:21-23). Having assumed to be courageous when appearing as willing to stand up for Jesus, only to have his cowardice exposed at the right time.
The inability to do the right thing at any given time is caused by fear, which goes hand in glove with shame. “Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:26 NIV).
True Christians are expected to cast out all forms of fear, as long as sincerely doing God’s work. It is impossible to do God’s work, while entertaining fear, at the same time. Fear is the first obstacle that hinders Christians from entering into God’s Kingdom.
“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 17-18 NIV)
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. 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
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