This world is chronicled with a lot of abuses, giving an impression that the abused carry disadvantages. But the abusers are the ones who are more disadvantaged than the abused. This is just as the Bible reveals that Cain was more disadvantaged than his victim, Abel.
Pharaoh was disadvantaged more than the Israelites, under Egyptian slavery. This viewpoint is also buttressed in Jesus’s instruction to pray for the abusers, instead of seeking to be prayed for (Matthew 5:44).
Most Africans, including former slaves in Western countries, hold reasons to complain for having been abused, by the colonizers or former slave masters. What sustains the superlatively robust economic infrastructures of the Western world is attributed to the black people of yesteryears.
Laden with confusion, what prevails is that those things considered as of advantage carry demonstrable disadvantage. What is viewed as right is, in most cases, totally wrong. Where people are supposed to cry they laugh and where they are supposed to rejoice they cry bitterly.
The seriousness of this confusion is characterized in the cause of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. The things that we love most are the things that we should hate the most. Yet the things that we hate are the things that we should love.
This is why Jesus, who brought the good news of the Kingdom of God, was murdered, instead of being loved by everyone. If anything provides comfort in this life, it would be unreal. Jesus was stating the obvious, in declaring:
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12) (ESV).
But how can one rejoice when being treated in the way describes above? This is similar to the painful experience when dislodging some thorn, necessary to bring a permanent solution to a perennial problem. Apparently, the apostles fully appreciated this principle:
“…..And when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name” (Acts 5:40-41) (ESV).
Those people were practicing clear abuse of the apostles, who left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor, in the name of Jesus. Daring to go for that which causes persecution is the call of being a Christian. Any comfort should, instead, be regarded as cause for concern.
The book of Ecclesiastes gives clear contrasts between wisdom and folly: “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise than to hear the song of fools. For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fools; this also is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 7:2-6) (ESV).
Admittedly, our human nature repels anything that takes away comfort. But that is the effect of confusion ensconced in humanity. It is the epitome of the cause of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. The good news is that, even though the experience on the cross was most excruciating, Jesus endured it, on our behalf.
The experience of going through pain, is still intimidating, but carries the hope that should give us reason to rejoice. That is the only sign of being on the right track. Wisdom implies opting for being abused, than remaining in the comfort of being the ones abusing other people.
James gives us further exhortation: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4) (ESV).
Christianity calls for what can generally be viewed as uncomfortable for ordinary humans. But this resonates with Jesus; the author of Christianity who simplified everything, so that there is no reason to struggle with dual opinions:
”…….If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:25-33) (ESV).
Indeed, even today, multitudes desire to follow Jesus. But while such people can benefit from the works of Jesus, even today, following Him is a different story. This is because Christianity is a matter of life and death and not requiring an off the cuff decision. We have many people calling themselves, Christians, but not having gone through the personal evaluation as recommended above.
However, while Jesus makes it easy for those opting for the status quo, the unavoidable truth is that, eventually, everyone will succumb, to the undesirable discomfort. This is regardless of whether it is in this life, or in the life to come. See [The only way through is going through].
The good news is that Jesus has made it quite easy for all and sundry, because the feared cause for the worst has been defeated. It is no longer necessary to worry about the consequences of abuse anymore.
The legendary story of the cross settles everything, living humanity as free as taking the position of the one who defeated death. There is nothing better than taking advantage of the gift of Jesus and His call for freedom.
Jesus exhorts those desiring freedom: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30) (ESV).
The only problem missed by the majority is that Christianity is laden with confusion. The enemy has not given up, even though defeated on the cross. Fortunately, his schemes were highlighted, ahead of time: ”For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:5) (ESV).
Naturally, what appears as most logical is to engage in deep analytical study, when seeking to avoid being deceived. But, this happens to be the trap that has caused serious deception in Christianity. You do not need deep studies, but Jesus, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles (1 Corinthians 1:23).
The reason why Jesus is stumbling block to the Jews is because the Jews held the law with the first commandment of the Bible: “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). This scripture looks very simple, yet it is a real stumbling block to the commandment keepers.
Having no other God’s before the true God, implies not trusting anything else except God. If someone states that He has a better understanding of Godliness, the evaluation is yours, on how that datum aligns with Exodus 20:3?
The starting point is in knowing who God is? If not sure, you better find out before committing yourself to Jesus. This is basic wisdom. Jesus was the only human ever to fulfill the principle of having no other gods before the true God.
Even though Jesus declared Himself to be the way, the truth and the life, very few people appreciate Him as fulfilling that role. They would rather choose to deify Jesus, than accept Him as the way, the truth and the life. They do not view Jesus as deserving to be emulated, but one deserving to be worshiped.
The cause for failure to understand is inability to appreciate the first commandment “You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3). The Man called Jesus is known for having come to help humanity to avoid the legendary sin of having other gods before the true God.
In Jesus we find a Man who, even appeared as disowning His own mother. As our trailblazer, Jesus declared that unless we do the same, then, we would be none of His (Luke 14:26). The purpose of Jesus’ first-coming was to help humanity appreciate the value of having no other gods before the true God.
Most sincere Christians would rather value Theologians, than look at the man of sorrows, who was slain on the cross, but having set us an example of what it means to have no other gods before the true God.
Theologians are so obsessed in describing the Man called Jesus; how good He was; and how so marvelous He is, as a member of the Trinity. But without considering His behavior and everything He taught.
Yet Jesus is a perfect example of what needs to be emulated, to avoid having other gods before the True God. Ordinary Christians have blindly followed Theologians to be their actual gods, before the true God. Everything said by Theologians is true, but not what Jesus taught.
As long as you can quote the greatest of those Theologians, you are deemed an informed Christian. You are uniformed, as long as you quote Jesus and Him alone, being the authority in practicing Christianity. Christians are encouraged to have faith in Jesus, more than they ought to have the faith of Jesus.
You would be regarded as too daring to talk about the faith of Jesus. While there is nothing stressful or difficult about the faith of Jesus, Theologians advise that no-one can apply those principles, as Jesus is God and a member of the Trinity. See [Trinity has got no pedestal on which to stand].
It is the old person who remains stuck in failure to appreciate the value of having no other gods before the true God. True Christians are not scared of anything, anymore, because they have crossed the Rubicon, so to speak. They rejoice more with the adversities, than having it easy.
To the deceived, being approved by other people is more important than being approved by God. As long as the so-called fellow Christians accept you as one of them, you become comfortable, yet the only standard in Jesus, is left unnoticed.
But having the faith of Jesus implies believing in Jesus, who came to be our only example in applying the principles of not having other gods before the true God. While Jesus is the Christ, His human form exemplifies the principle of adopting the culture of having no other gods before the True God. See [Believing in Jesus is different from having faith in Jesus].
Being abused, for whatever reason, brings joy to the soul of those who think and behave like Jesus, never again succumbing to human authority, or anything created. Let that person remain committed, as attached to the True God, the only Creator of all things.
Anyone daring to be abused, let him/her take the first move to come out of the existent confusion, due to current falsehood in Christianity. This implies looking at Jesus, instead of fellow humanity—including own parents. See [Christianity serves to invalidate God’s Kingdom].
There is difference between following Christ, as compared with fellow humanity. The difference lies in keeping the first commandment: “You shall have no other God’s before me” (Exodus 20:3). Other Christians cannot be God. Only Jesus, is a perfect example, in keeping the first commandment; though doing so, leads to possible abuse by others.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from 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 reliefs to those having witnessed 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
Also available as an e-copy at Lulu.com for $6.99