I have said this, several times before, but this is worth repeating. A human being is unknown, even among the so-called great thinkers of this world. In fact, the mere suggestion that some people are greater is a fallacy premised on ignorance. The degradation of humanity has remained appalling, even with the greatest and strident recognitions of the educated of this world.
“What is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?
You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas”(Psalms 8:4-8) (NIV).
Of course, humans are superior to angels, regardless of their current degradation. Having been created in God’s image, how can anyone behaving normally, make humanity inferior to angels? The stupidity of categorizing humans engulfs the world and is the cause of all troubles.
In their ignorance, humans judge one another in terms of race, skin color, gender, educational class, background, or physical deformity. But none of these categorizations bear a truthful representation of human beings. Unless willing to explore the significance of humanity, problems will continue to engulf humanity.
Undeniably, some people appear as having had the privilege of going through prestigious educational programs. Yet, others have had no privilege of going through formal education. Others have never tested the feeling of want, and yet others scrounge for survival, for the rest of their lives.
There is no truth in categorizing people, making one better or less important than others. Jesus attempted to project this truism, using the parable of Lazarus and rich man, in responding to the Jews, who lacked this knowledge (Luke 16:19-25).
There is truth in that other people can be very irritating to co-exist with. But nothing takes away the fact of their nature representing God’s image. This makes it a special reason why Jesus advised His disciples to love and pray for their enemies.
“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 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.
Love for Enemies
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:38-45) (NIV).
Jesus highlighted a behavior that is very uncommon. In fact, one can even go as far as suggesting that it is impossible to apply what Jesus taught. Yet this teaching carries the only answer to human sorrows. There is no need to feel antagonized by another person, also created in God’s image.
Why is it that some people, or races, appear better than others? This is an undeniable reality but premised on falsehood. The truth lies in that being successful does not grant privilege, at all. A successful person is bestowed with the responsibility to help the less privileged.
Commendably, some people are hardworking, as to accumulate wealth, for themselves and their children. The only bad news is that such people ought to bear the responsibility of helping the less successful ones. What can, even be more irritating to some, is the idea of helping lazy people.
That is understandable. But, nothing takes away the fact that being successful requires bearing responsibility for their stupidity. Nothing can be valued as more important than human beings, regardless of background.
People can commit murder, in their bid to protect mineral resources or oil reserves. But nothing carries value more than the murdered people. Those murderers would be enveloped in ignorance. They can receive cheers for eliminating those identified as enemies. But ignorance is ignorance, regardless of how much approval is received from the environment.
A human being was created in God’s image, making him far superior to any other creature existing in this universe. This includes those known to look for crumbs of food in dustbins, or in maximum prisons for committing despicable crimes. There is no need for idolizing or despising people, according to their circumstantial conditions.
The apparent successful ones carry a responsibility to cater to the less privileged. In God’s eyes, we are all equal. The blinding factor lies in assuming that being successful provides a comfortable lifestyle. The opposite is true. Being successful confers responsibility, demanding unmitigated service to others.
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 servant, and whoever wants to be first 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).
With His knowledge, Jesus could have been the most privileged person, among His peers. But, as stated in the above Scripture, Jesus came to serve, and to give his own life as a ransom for many. But, why could He choose to die for the ignorant people, deserving fair condemnation?
Jesus knew the value of human beings, created in God’s image. He showed the way of salvation, more than displaying that He deserved idolization for His services. Human beings are saved by applying Jesus’s methods of coexistence, rather than by His miraculous works.
Salvation is possible, only when appreciating the responsibility one bears, over other fellow human beings. The Good Samaritan parable should not be viewed as idle. It carried the real meaning of salvation.
Believing in Jesus does not imply trusting Him to carry one’s burdens, necessarily. Believing in Jesus means applying what He taught, thereby, making a difference in one’s environment. Jesus was one of us, in so far as revealing the meaning of being created in God’s image.
There is no rest in this life, except when one is dead. Every waking moment, requires hard work, for the benefit of others. The idea of assuming rest, after acquiring wealth, is descriptive of stupidity, as revealed by Jesus.
“The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
“This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God”(Luke 12:16-21) (NIV).
What may be unfathomable for most people, is that this unacceptable behavior describes the common man, on the ground. Everyone wants to be seen as enjoying life, and being better than others. But unwilling to entertain the idea of carrying other people’s burdens.
When the white settlers displayed selfishness, among Africans, the so-called revolutionaries picked up arms, to correct such racial imbalance. But the only amazing thing is that the same revolutionaries turned out to be those having, actually, envied the white settlers.
To them, living selfishly, was what they fought for. They, actually, revealed themselves as being worse than those white settlers. They assumed that being of the ruling class entitled them as being wiser than others.
To them, independence meant living comfortably and enjoying being in abundance, at the expense of everyone else. But this was a fallacy. Independence demands responsibility, so that one works harder than ever before, to meet the aspirations of others.
Surprisingly, they could not understand the reason for the disgruntlement among their own people. Hence, they came up with the idea that such people were being manipulated by the former white settlers, rather than exercising their own rights.
By so doing, those revolutionaries were adding credence in that the white settlers were superior, after all. This meant that their revolutionary struggle was void. If the former colonizers could be credited with influencing blacks, under their leadership, how could such revolutionaries claim to be better? The circus appears unstoppable.
Nevertheless, the problem is a result of ignorance. A human being cannot be controlled by another human being. Humans have come up with various isms, Communism, Capitalism, Marxism, Socialism, etc. All this is intended to control one’s fellow humans, but unachievable.
Using brutal force, one can appear as succeeding in controlling fellow humans. But such ideas do not last, as having no foundation. Having been created in God’s image, a human being is incontrollable. This is why dictators are known to travel in highly safeguarded motorcades.
Why would they need security, if in total control? In most cases, they do not even trust their own bodyguards. Their behavior is unbelievably preposterous. But, living such a lifestyle is what makes them believe they are better than the common men.
However, they would be as ordinary as also needing food for survival and usage of the toilet, when nature demands. They die like all of us. They may be interred in expensive mausoleums, but death equals them to the rest of us. A lie is a lie, regardless of who utters it.
All human beings were created in God’s image. The only thing that does not reflect God’s image, is pride, as also enforcing falsehoods. Freedom lies in casting out falsehoods, in pursuit of truths. This is the only reason why Jesus said the truth would set people free.
There is no need to be selective on loving people. All humans were created in God’s image. What is noxiously deadly, is to hate another fellow human being, and at the same time claim to be a believer.
We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister(1 John 4:19-21) (NIV).
The apostle John uttered these words, premised on the datum that humans were created in God’s image. The behavior of the hated person may be crudely unacceptable. But nothing takes away his being created in God’s image. It takes a knowledgeable one to salvage him from his stupidity.
All humans, basically, adopted the stupidity of Adam and Eve. Their behavior is unacceptable, especially to God who created them in His own image. Instead of condemning them, God decided to send His only begotten Son to die, giving hope that they might be salvaged.
Jesus charted the way out of stupidity. There is no need to worship Jesus. But there is a need to copy His behavior, as the only hope of salvation. Scriptures are clear in that humans are expected to emulate Jesus in behavior. This is different from those choosing to idolize Him.
Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?(1 John 3:15-17) (NIV).
This represents a practical religious philosophy, requiring those calling themselves ‘Christians,’ to adopt. If this does not appeal, I am afraid, there is no need to waste time and resources, assuming being Christian. A Bible-believing Christian takes God’s word as a matter of life and death.
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