Other people assume that I am one of the lucky ones—excluded from the statistics of marital divorces. However, I consider myself not lucky, when observing people struggling to maintain their own marital relationships. I am troubled as much as they are troubled by what they go through. Some Christian friends have expressed discomfiture with my inclusion of politics in my writings, yet being a Christian. What drives me to dabble in politics are troubles caused by politics.
I may not be directly aware of a close relative, who would have died through starvation. But I get affected by those going through such predicaments, even though not closely related to them. There are people who cannot enjoy a T-bone steak when surrounded by starving people. Yet others enjoy more when observing other people going through such troubles of life. I am one of those who get troubled by other people’s troubles, more than I am troubled by my own life.
This is what makes life rather precarious. We have human beings whose background is unpredictable. Such humans need answers to the problems they go through—hence behaving queerly. The only reason why someone finds enjoyment in other people’s troubles is the background of that person, coupled with ignorance. At the bottom of it all, are marital divorces and discords. Those affected, do not even know why such things happen.
The devastations experienced in matrimonial break-ups are only symptomatic of troubles that envelop the entire world. Many people assume that there are more questions than answers, as compounded by the unwillingness to confront. However, all challenges can be handled by humans, created in God’s image. In other words, there is an answer to every problem in this world.
If asked to handle problems, one could throw up hands in despair. Handling problems appear as daunting and unachievable. But, one fails at the point of postulating that problems are impossible to handle. Jesus said, those having faith in Him could do greater things than He did when He was here. (John 14:12).
Most people are assertive in believing in Jesus. Even the skeptical ones are willing to back down, at the mention of what Jesus said. Therefore, nothing is impossible to achieve in this world. As long as one would be willing to do whatever would need to be done, after all. What makes this world ungovernable is the failure to understand two causative principles as permanently existing.
Where there are peace and understanding, someone would have been used by God to cause that condition. Similarly, where there are war and discord, someone would have been used by Satan to cause it. Those causing such developments might be thousands of kilometers away from the referred scene. Or, it could be that someone would have caused such development, by not doing something about it.
This world provides more answers than questions, to those looking for answers. Yet the same world also provides more questions than answers, to those looking for questions. It is a question of taking responsibility or not taking responsibility for matters of life. The only unfortunate reality, as unnoticed by most people, is drawing assumptions on matters of life. Many people swear to know about things they would be assuming, rather than fully understanding.
The interesting thing about life is that all our troubles result from failure to appreciate being our brothers’ keepers. Therein, lies all answers to problems of humanity. Whatever the condition of life the other person leads, he needs your support, to avoid condemnation. The marital dissonances are mere symptoms, as all causes of problems emanating from failure to accept that reality.
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:12-14) (NIV).
Indeed, it can be frustrating to observe that only a few people are willing to go through the narrow gate that leads to life. But that does not take away the fact that in that small gate we have all answers to the problems besieging humanity. Even though having discovered the small gate, leading towards escape, a brother’s keeper is still not free, as long as others are still in the mud. It is discouraging to see people taking comfort in going through a wide gate that leads to destruction.
As I wake up each day, I am harangued by my own questions on how effective I could be to reach out to others. I am particularly troubled by the fact that there are those who assume that this world carries more questions than answers. If having answers, one bears the responsibility to reach out to people who do not have answers. The uneasy and narrow gate that leads to life can be exciting, but it is all about carrying the responsibility to reach out to those in need of answers.
Marital dissonances and divorces are caused by failure to know that we are our brothers’ keepers. Those going through marital problems might accuse me of being naive, as not having experienced their own circumstances. That could be true. Whatever the problems such people experience in their marital problems, I cannot fairly articulate, as to then judge accurately. Mine is, simply, to advance the theory that was left by Jesus, for all of us: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” (Matthew 7:12).
Let me hasten to state that this is not a Law to be followed stoically. But it is a principle that reveals the road, one travels in—onto death or onto life. There is an underlying reason why the narrow road is difficult to follow. In endeavoring to survive, in this life, any person is driven by either of the unbeknown two philosophies. Such roads lead in the opposite direction, but both appearing as focusing on survival. Self-centeredness is one of them and altruism is another of the two.
Scientifically, a person is headed towards death, when self-centered. In the dynamics of life, one lives longer when accessing cooperation from others in his surroundings. Regardless of how good a person might assume to be, it is impossible to live longer, without cooperation from those on his surroundings. Such people might be thieves who steal from him or simply make him unhappy for most of the time. It is, therefore, such people who make a difference in any person’s aims towards survival.
What appears as the root of all problems is the failure to appreciate that those making us unhappy are needed most for our survival. There is not a single person who can ever claim to do well in this life, without cooperation from other people. Even when approaching the highly successful ones, materially, they would tell you that it is impossible to live without the cooperation of other people.
Here, then, is our puzzle. Most of our troubles come from other fellow human beings. Yet it is impossible to survive longer, without the cooperation of those people. This, therefore, impels us to throw away the idea of living a life of self-centeredness. But how possible can it be, pursuing altruism, when living among uncooperative people? An altruistic person has to contend with people whose mindset is diametrically opposite. “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
Failure to handle marital problems is caused by the inability to confront this reality. Interestingly, while both spouses may be to blame when their marriage flounders, it takes either of the two, to save that marriage. You do not need the cooperation of other people to be cause for success in your marriage. But the success of that marriage cannot be credited to you alone—as resulting from the cooperation of your spouse. This is strange but true.
There is no-one who is better than the other, on matters of relationships. If pursuing a principle of self-centeredness, the marriage you are in will never succeed. This is regardless of how virtuous you may assume, or you may actually be. When blaming another person, you would be blaming yourself. When another person is out-ethics, you get affected as well.
This world reveals innocent people getting affected by the evil actions of others. Such unethical people may, themselves, live longer than the innocent ones whose destruction they would have caused. This is why it can, as well, be accurate to call this world hell. However, when equipped with the knowledge, as was provided by Jesus, one could be the cause of a safer environment.
Nothing just happens without the cause. A person can cause suffering towards other people. Yet the same person could cause goodness in other people’s lives. But instead of looking at what another person does, it takes a person’s initiative to either be the good cause or the bad cause for others. Everything is centered on individual decisions, rather than collective decisions. The same applies in a marital situation.
One can become a good cause for a happy marriage, or become an effect, where it would be the other spouse causing happiness in that marriage. Conversely, one can become the cause of a discordant marriage, where the other spouse becomes an effect for such a bad marriage. It is a question of how a person can be the cause on either of the two realities, in the condition of that marriage. Jesus said something that should be regarded as similar to bringing light where there would be darkness:
“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 sons 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 5:43-45) (NIV).
However, I would be regarded as totally lying, if stating that these words are simple. But, at the same time, I would be totally lying if stating that these words are difficult to apply in a person’s life. These words appear as difficult, only to those having fallen into the trap of pursuing the wider road, leading to destruction, according to Jesus (Matthew 7:13-14). Otherwise, nothing is as easy as applying the words of Jesus on any person’s life:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30) (NIV).
A true Christian ceases to bear burdens associated with this physical life. Jesus would have taken over so that the same person becomes the cause-point of goodness in this troubled world. Like Paul, it would be no longer him/her that lives, but Christ that lives in him/her (Galatians 2:20). The person would be a blessing over those with whom he/she associates. True, the person might be one receiving persecution from all angles, yet various others would be perceiving a blessed person, indeed.
That person’s marriage would be viewed as a model by those going through marital discords. Such people would assume that the person would be lucky, as not aware of what would be causing goodness in such a marriage. The answer lies in Jesus, having taken over, in that person’s life. Rather than Satan, having been allowed to cause negativity in that person’s marriage.
The law of cause and effect dictates that there cannot be any effect without the cause. Such effects could either be positive or negative, depending on whose power the person causing such effects, draws. Darkness itself has got no power over the light. This can easily be demonstrated by the fact that it is the darkness that disappears in the presence of light, not the other way round.
The secret behind marital divorces is, therefore, none belief in Jesus Christ. The trouble with most people is that they pretend to believe in Jesus, where the opposite would be true. Such people believe in the person of Jesus, instead of believing what Jesus said. That happens to be the way of the majority, who follow the wider road, rather than the narrow road leading to life. Blessed are the few who perceive what the majority are unable to perceive.
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.
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