The full impact of sin is reflected in the blame game that Adam and Eve displayed, after the Garden of Eden incident (Genesis 3:12-13). But the full blown effects are portrayed in the behavior of one of their sons; Cain who succumbed to murdering his brother (Genesis 4:4).
Desiring that good things should always only be identified with me reveals the effect of jealousy. This is the mindset from where all sins can be identified, originating from the Garden of Eden incident. Self-centredness is another way of describing sin, which caused Cain to kill his brother Abel.
The way Cain responded, when asked about the whereabouts of his brother Abel, reveals effects in behaving sinfully. “Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is Abel your brother?’ He said, ‘I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?’” (Genesis 4:9) (ESV).
Anyone looking for an answer, on why this world is in turmoil should not look further than the cause, displayed in the answer given by Cain, to his Creator. All acerbic wars known to exist anywhere in the world can be traced to this type of mindset. Marital discords, juvenile delinquency, witchcraft and everything listed on Galatians 5:19-21 emanates from the reasoning thread of Cain’s behavior.
One of the thieves, on the cross with Jesus displayed the same mindset: “One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, ‘Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!’” (Luke 23: 39) (ESV).
As innocent as the thief’s statement appears to be, it comes from the mindset filled with self-centredness that originated with Adam and Eve. But, even one of the erstwhile disciples of Jesus, Peter; had displayed it when Jesus was quick in sternly rebuking him (Matthew 16:22-23).
Let us take a brief analysis of what makes this behavior sinful. When carefully looked at, even without considering the directions of Biblical precepts, this behavior is unworkable. How can it be possible to survive without other people? For any person to dwell in a safe house, he/she needs another person, qualified to build safe houses.
Even if I may be a qualified doctor, for instance, but unable to build safe houses; I still have to rely on good builders, just as the good builder has to rely on me for excellent medical care services. In other words, one cannot be sufficiently qualified to provide for one’s own survival needs, as not to require other people, with different skills.
Everyone survives for the sole purpose of providing for other people, depending on what each person would be capable of providing, as required by other people. When adequately providing for the well-being of other people, we highlight the real purpose of our existence on this planet. We survive for the well-being of other people, just as other people ought to survive for our own well-being.
Cain declared that he was not the keeper of his brother. When displaying the opposite of Cain’s murderous behavior, one would, instead, be his/her brothers’ keepers. Altruism demands that each person ought to survive only for the purpose of being their brothers’ keepers, as opposed to being own self-keepers.
If everyone entertained the altruistic mindset, obviously, no-one could be regarded as more or less important than other people in the environment. Each person would be adjudged as extremely important, as long as providing what no-one else in the environment could provide. This is just as other individuals would be capable of producing what others with diverse talents would be unable to provide.
Take a moment for a while and ask this question: If everyone in this world were to adopt and apply the principles of this mindset, what kind of world would this be? Before answering that question, there is need to first answer another question: Why is it impossible to adopt and apply the principles of the altruistic mind-set?
Everyone wants survival, possible when applying the altruistic principle. Yet altruism is not achievable in a world that is characterized in self-centredness. The unavoidable truth is that everyone wants good things, yet the same people are not willing to take the responsibility that causes good things to come by?
Any normal person can find an answer in that where everyone thinks in terms of providing his/her best talent to serve other people, this world would automatically become Utopian. Yet the culture of this world is generally maintained within self-centredness, as displayed by Cain, in Genesis 4. The culture of altruism is regarded as foreign and, therefore, unacceptable to ordinary humans. But, as to how workable the culture of altruism is, could even be observed through simple laboratory tests.
The miracle of Jesus was designed to display the simplicity of this test, providing solutions for humanity. Going against what Jesus taught, reflects the negative effects of self-centredness, as associated with pride. The reason why self-centredness appeals to humanity is projected in pride that makes one feel so good, and worthy of being worshiped by other fellow human beings.
Working hard is motivated by accolades and money that enable a person to lead ostentatious life, as compared with others in the environment. Such praises and respect from others, get considered ahead of the sense of duty to serve, according to one’s own purpose of survival. While others may be viewed as having achieved such proportions, the rest die in miserable feelings of failure. The only thing that brings satisfaction is fulfilling the purpose for one’s own purpose of survival.
Most hard workers in our environment strive to achieve the best, not for anything else, other than being worshiped by others. The desire is to receive adulation, and a status of importance, as compared with everyone else in the environment. Obviously, this creates rivalry and jealousy, as everyone wants to be regarded highly by others.
Under such circumstances, who, then, can blame Cain for murdering his brother? However, I am aware that most people would probably agree with me, in that the principle of altruism is the only principle to transform this world for the better. The same people would probably underline the fact altruism is a principle that is easier said than done. The current person will have to die first, before adopting altruism.
Death is the only prize of altruism, as it is impossible for a person to move from self-centredness to altruism, without death. God’s Kingdom is associated with altruism, as it is only in God’s Kingdom where utopia can be experienced. For most people, there is need to surrender more, for the purposes of being in God’s Kingdom. This is just as a rich young man was advised to surrender his wealth, for purposes of getting into God’s Kingdom (Matthew 19:16-26).
To Nicodemus, Jesus declared that, unless a person becomes born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God (John 3:5-6). Actually, what Jesus meant is that what is born of the flesh is flesh and needs to die, before giving room to that which is Spirit, which carries the principle of altruism (verse 5).
The flesh concentrates on what benefits self, without realizing that such is the principle that brings all problems that this world carries. While the purpose of going to college ought to be for providing benefits to other people, an ordinary person thinks more in terms of the remunerations and fame that will possibly accrue to him/her, after attaining the desired qualification.
Those unable to attain similar qualifications are therefore looked down upon, instead of being served, according to the abilities attained, at graduation. It may appear as true that there are people whose value cannot be readily quantifiable. But the truth is that every human being was created by God for specific purpose, which may not be readily appreciated, yet the purpose would definitely be there.
God never created a human being without purpose. Unfortunately, most people die without ever attaining their potential. This is caused by a civilization that concentrates on, either invalidating or elevating other people according to the current educational system. [See false data stripping]
All human beings were created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27). Looking down upon another person is as good as looking down upon the one who created him/her in His own image (Proverbs 17:5). People are as different as the varieties of every plant that exists in this world. Anyone may not know the reason why other varieties were created, but the truth is that nothing was created without a purpose.
The same applies to individual human beings. Those succumbing to criminality may not be exercising the purpose for their creation. But God may use their criminality to develop those that God called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). This is just as we know that Judas Iscariot’s unsavory behavior facilitated the mission of Jesus.
Abel, who gave the best offering to God was altruistic in his behavior. It is not possible for a self-centered person to part with what is best for him/herself in the way that Abel did. In this civilization, giving of your best to others, at your own expense, can be described as stupidity. Most people are known to associate wisdom with accumulating the best for one’s own welfare, without considering other people’s well-fare.
However, this reveals the confusion that causes all problems that are known in this world. Wisdom ought to be associated with giving of one’s best to others, a behavior which is, ironically, viewed as stupidity. Yet the accumulation of things for personal comfort displays the stupidity that Jesus revealed in Luke 12:16-21.
A self-centred kingdom is characterized in the behavior of hyenas and jackals. The behavior of these marauding animals is about feeding themselves more than considering other predators, considered as rivals. Human beings were not created to behave like such animals, but behaving like their Heavenly Father who focuses on serving more than being served. This is why we do not necessarily have to pay for the air we breathe and the daily sunshine.
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.
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