“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue because I am in agony in this fire”(Luke 16:22-24) (NIV).
To understand human life and the purpose of human existence, it is always advisable to look from the perspective of the origins. Adam is clearly the Father of physical humanity. His life was not different from the lives of ordinary people living today. Although, during his time, corruption may not have portrayed the current levels. Nevertheless, the entire Bible is premised on Abraham being the Father of many nations (Genesis 22:16-18) (Galatians 3:29).
The reasoning capacity of any individual ought to come with proper education. Today’s education seems to serve as escalating causes of conflicts. The downgraded and uneducated populace is often treated inferiorly. The behavioral pattern in racism and tribalism can be similar to class segregation, as a form of discrimination, on the basis of education.
The ideal humanity was created in God’s image so that no one should view him/herself as better than, or as worse than others. This is as easy as knowing that the problems of humanity are simply handled by using common sense.
One person cannot be different from those scrounging for survival, or the vagabonds, surviving on food from dust bins. This is the simplicity for which Jesus had to die on the cross. The so-called Theologians spend time studying Scriptures but failing to appreciate this simplicity.
Even as knowledgeable as He was, Jesus was never known to be pompous. He laid His life for the stupefied humanity; because He understood that He was no better than them. He simply took the responsibility to carry their burdens on the cross, perfectly holding onto the datum that He was not superior.
It is true that other people are naturally shorter, as to be unable to reach where the taller ones can reach. But, the ideal humanity ensures that the taller ones reach out to help the shorter ones, in accessing what would be inaccessible. It is not deniable that, at face value, others appear as superior. But it ought to be the responsibility of the privileged ones, to reach out in helping the less privileged.
Responsibility means taking upon oneself, the shortcomings of others as if such shortcomings were his/her own. A properly educated person gladly carries the problems of the uneducated, without demanding payment in return. This is different from the current environment, where being educated grants a license to be worshipped or living a better life than others.
True Christians identify with Abraham, more than claiming identity with Adam. Abraham was also physical. But his phenomenal relationship with the Creator makes him special. After the grand sin of humanity at the Garden of Eden, there was no further hope for humanity. The glimmer of hope came through Abram whose story is narrated in the Book of Genesis, Chapters 12 – 25.
The Bible story, concerning the human race, is very short. Emanating from the clay formation of Adam, all humans remain in aberration, unclear of what depicts their identity. An ordinary person cannot even fathom being different from brute animals, when competing for survival.
The Bible shows unending wars, where the winner gets crowned for vanquishing his enemies. Hence, we have the great nations of the world, as compared to the weak ones. The weak, either succumb to being oppressed or seek assistance from the competitively stronger, against the common enemy.
Alliances are considered virtuous, in fighting common enemies. But, this behavior resembles wild dogs, hyenas, and jackals, coalescing to fight against lions. Those animals portray the adage, “survival of the fittest,” as such predatory allies quickly discover new enemies after vanquishing the common enemy. There is no outright winner.
Humans were never created to behave like predatory animals. They were created to be dominant over animal species. Such dominance is sustained in the power of reasoning. Humans are ordinarily capable of reasoning when communicating normally. When carefully listening to protagonists, it is generally not difficult to see that such people could easily solve their problems.
What may surprise many, is that carrying other people’s burdens includes criminals, serving prison sentences, for horrendous activities. Human suffering, as experienced in this world, is a result of failure to take responsibility for one another.
We have to address causes of failure to carry other people’s burdens (1 John 3:16). That cause is the real sin of humanity, for which Jesus came to die on the cross, according to John the Baptist.
This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’” (John 1:28-30) (NIV).
The sin of the world is not associated with the common sins, as known today. That which causes a person to fail to help others is pride. Though appearing as harmless to the individual, pride causes distress and suffering. Pride is the sin of the world, causing each person to aim at being categorized as better than others.
It feels good to be celebrated as an achiever. Most people are motivated to do well, out of a desire to receive praises, rather than provide free service. Actually, this world holds people, who loath helping other people. The prime sin of Jesus, causing His murder, was helping the poor.
Those Jews mentioned Sabbath-breaking and blasphemy out of insincerity. The crime of Jesus was helping the poor people, considered as sinners. They viewed Jesus as one condoning sin. Yet Jesus was the only person found without sin, in the entire world.
Those helped by Jesus were categorized as sinners. Yet, each human exists for the simple purpose of serving other fellow human beings. In other words, it is impossible to condemn another fellow human being without condemning oneself.
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?”(Matthew 7:1-4) (NIV).
This is one of the Scriptures that the authoritarians dislike the most. Ordinary people, in this sinful world, are considered deserving of death. The reason for holding authority is controlling ‘sinners’ so that such leaders maintain their comfort. Instead of loving those sinners, they hate, as to wish such sinners dead.
It is not difficult to understand why such hatred and condemnation exists among those assuming to be good. The sin of the world grips them, without them realizing its existence in their inner beings. What makes this disheartening is that such people sincerely assume being on the right path.
Authoritarians assume having been called to put some order in a chaotic environment. But the chaotic environment is caused by their own behavior when assuming to be better than the considered worst sinners. Clearly, those authoritarians do not know what they would be doing.
They are oblivious of the fact that there are only two ways of failure to understand any subject. One is assuming that you know everything about it. And the other contains misunderstood words in the text. Needed most, are educators who care for others, catering to those struggling with misunderstood words.
The biggest challenge is in accessing those assuming to know it all. Serve for the grace of God, such people can never be willing to listen to new information. The reason for denouncing those with progressive information is the sin of the world, for which Jesus died on the cross.
This descriptive sin of the world, for which Jesus died, is as deadly as making it impossible for authoritarians, who control others to accept. Ordinary people are sheepish, as to succumb to their behavior. Anything commanded by those in authority is taken for granted—as true—even when false. To most people, being denounced by authoritarians is tantamount to being rejected by God.
Standing up for what is true, in this world, can be most difficult, if not dangerous. Other than causing Jesus’s death, standing for truth also caused the early apostles to die. My heart bleeds for those able to see the truth, but deciding to succumb, in fear of exclusion.
Those vainly taking comfort in being under a Christian organization, are not different from those shunning Christianity. Indeed, there would be true Christians when Jesus comes.
But, a careful analysis shows that those identifying with Jesus would come from the dead, rather than coming from those still living. This assumption is concluded by the author, after carefully observing the general human behavior, even in our generation.
While true that the enemies of Jesus are the authoritarians, ordinary Christians are also His enemies, due to fear. They fear death, yet professing to believe in the man who led the way that defeated death. They lack the needed conviction to abide by His word, as submitting more to the charlatans.
All this brings us to the truth that, unless one behaves like Abraham, one cannot be a Christian. Hence, Abraham is declared ‘father’ to Christians. “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29) (NIV).
When following Abraham’s story, we see a man who strived to avoid submitting to other authority, except God. He took his instructions directly from God, although not being the Christ, like Jesus. Abraham sustained His conviction by believing in God, who created all things. Everyone who calls him/herself a Christian, ought to behave like him.
Therefore, we can see two characters. One molded according to Adam and the other behaving like Abraham, on the question of trusting God. Those calling themselves leaders are, mostly, fake. Jesus advised that they should be listened to, but avoiding behaving like them.
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them”(Matthew 23:1-4) (NIV).
Unlike Abraham who believed in God, even without having seen God, true Christians can, at least, count themselves blessed. Through Jesus, God has been simplified. The challenge is only presented by the authoritarians. They insist that they deserve to be listened to, more than Jesus ought to be listened to. See [Seven attributes of Abraham describe Christian Faith].
Christianity was never meant to be an easy road. It requires surrendering everything of this life before one can be committed to it. The most important datum about Christianity is that one’s survival ought to be aligned with the survival of others. Although, I doubt that this requires the sacrificial undertaking.
There is joy and comfort in serving under God’s authority. Other people in one’s surroundings may not understand and disconnect their allegiance. But nothing else attracts, as to make Christianity an enjoyable pastime. Jesus said one should enjoy and be glad, under persecution (Matthew 5:10-12).
When appreciating that one is neither superior nor inferior to others, one accepts only what God empowers one to achieve. In other words, one does not need to worry about being unable to pray like Peter or preach like Paul. It is a matter of using whatever seemingly little talent one holds, to serve others.
God would be the one doing the work, not the individual being used. That is why Christ advised not to do one’s righteous acts to attract public approval. God’s work is, simply submitting to Him, without necessarily worrying about those unwilling to appreciate the message.
God may eventually enlighten those people, at His appropriate time. Bearing in mind that you are neither better nor worse than the people you are trying to serve.
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