The correct Ndebele translation of “spirit” is “idhlozi”, whose Shona rendition is “mudzimu”. However, Christians prefer avoiding vernacular terms. Some Shona translations correctly render the spirit as “mudzimu”, whereas the Holy Spirit is defined as “Mudzimu unoera”. However, the term “unoera” is also incorrect, as it implies “sacred”, in English—rendered as “Sacred Spirit”. However, religious fanatics prefer “Mweya Mutsvene”, rather than Mudzimu Mutvene. “Mweya Mutvene” is a mistranslation, as “mweya” differs from mudzimu.
Similarly, the Ndebele translation; “u Moya Oyingcwele” is incorrect. This is different from the correct translation: “iDhlozi eli Ngcwele”. One can only presume that these vernacular mistranslations were encouraged by early missionaries, intending to dissociate Africans from their ancestral traditions. Such intentions may look innocent but cause unintended problems.
Language is most important in communication. What caused those early missionaries to persuade African converts to avoid amadhlozi/Midzimu? My assumption is that Africans may have been more spiritual than those white missionaries. Those white missionaries sought to dissuade their African converts from ancestral worshipping, because of those missionaries’ inability to confront amadlozi/midzimu. These renditions ought not to have been mistaken for evil spirits (mashavi, or amadhlozi amabi)
The missionaries got caught up in assuming that European traditions were superior to African traditions. Although advanced, academically, those white missionaries could not handle spiritual matters. The spirit is superior to anything else, in the physical universe. Understanding this reality is fundamental before one can appreciate Jesus’ teachings.
Interestingly, the Israelites were also stuck with ancestral worship, at the time of Jesus. The names of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were considered sacred, by those religious zealots. The only difference between Africans and Israelites is the canonical recording of the Israelites’ relationship with God. Nevertheless, we have to adopt the adage that only the truth sets people free.
There is no race that is superior to other races. The advent of Jesus defuses all forms of traditions and ancestral considerations. The definition of humanity cannot be associated with race or cultural background. The correct definition of a human being is spiritual. All humans were created in God’s image, which suggests being spiritual, rather than physical. Any person should be regarded as spiritual, although unaware of that reality.
A spiritual person should not be confused with a physical person. Sadly, rather than highlight this reality, the European missionaries, found it convenient to dwell on physical realities. They assumed advancing Christianity but only succeeded in causing polarity between blacks and whites. Jesus highlighted this condition, when castigating the religiosity, displayed by the Pharisees.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much as a son of hell as you are”(Matthew 23:13-15 NIV).
The spiritual subject is significantly important, and yet mostly ignored, just as ignored even during Jesus’ time. The teachers of the Law and Pharisees were hypocrites. They focused on physical issues more than they ought to have confronted spiritual conditions. Their knowledge was limited to physical, rather than spiritual matters, emanating from idolizing their ancestral Abraham, who spiritually communicated with God.
In the province of spiritual reality, categorizing humanity is out of the question. The spirit maintains clarity on all matters of good and evil. All spirits—including evil spirits—are superior to physical humanity. Even the highly educated people feel incapacitated when dealing with spiritual matters. Most people are cowards, speaking derogatively about witches, and yet unable to confront them. The majority of people cannot dare face up to witchcraft.
They can speak in hushed tones, about witches, but unable to confront them. Witchcraft remains mythical, considered as fairy tale by most Christians. They prefer to denounce witchcraft, but inwardly, being scared of witches. Anything spiritual is superior to physical humans. The only way Christians could be relevant in societies, is to be spiritual, more than being physical.
“And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well”(Mark 16:17-18 NIV).
Spiritual beings, whether demonic, dumb or stupid, are superior to the uneducated humans in the physical universe. At one stage the demons directly communicated with Jesus. “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”(Matthew 8:29).
Those demons displayed being more knowledgeable about Jesus, who, obviously, the possessed person did not know. Spiritualism remains mysterious to most people. King Saul was considered a prominent personality, among the Israelites, and yet still consulted the spirit mediums (1 Samuel 28:3-25).
Early missionaries sought to dissuade Africans from ancestral worship. They couldn’t confront amadlozi/midzimu. The superior consideration of such spiritual entities by Africans, did not take into account the illiteracy of such ancestors. While true that a spirit being is more superior to physical humans, the same spirit is limited without Christ.
The missionaries were uneducated on spiritual matters, hence, completely incapacitated to confront amadlozi/midzimu. They merely associated African illiteracy with ancestral worship, without confronting the subject of the spirit. There is no truth in that all spirits are demonic, when not associated with Christianity. Wasn’t King Saul given directions by a spirit medium?
However, if every human is a spirit, something valuable could be extracted from him, regardless of race or background. The evaluation of one’s behavior, whether good or bad is possible, only when considering the significance of the spirit within the physical body. Within the physical person, lies the spiritual entity that should be granted the opportunity to choose between good and evil.
Unfortunately, to the uneducated, there is always attraction towards death, rather than attraction towards survival. Life is spiritual. The ability to discern spiritual matters can be possible with good education. Nevertheless, Christians ought to be aware of having been granted power to communicate with, and evaluate spiritual matters, hence, empowered to cast out demons.
The cause of attraction towards death is egotism that makes pride appear dignified. In other words, the inability to evaluate information, whether good or bad, is caused by pride. Jesus did not come to deal with any other sin, except pride, as projected in John the Baptist’s accurate identity of Jesus:
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.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel” (John 1:29-31 NIV).
Two most vital things are highlighted above. 1) Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Which sin of the world is John talking about, except pride, blinding people from perceiving spiritual matters? 2) John was spiritual but declares his inability to match Jesus. This reveals Jesus as superior to every other spirit, in the entire universe.
There is a germane maxim, suggesting that anything that any person fails to confront, rules over that person. For instance, one can be aware that drugs ruin lives, but as long as unable to confront causes of addiction, he dies helplessly. The poor fellow would be unaware of his superiority over drugs. He would ignorantly die assuming that the drugs would be superior, when mistaking his craving nature to be what sustains his life.
Similarly, the physical condition causes a person to crave for honor. No physical person, regarded as normal, can be attracted to anything that takes away his dignity. Physical humans want respect, at any cost. But it is always in the process of acquiring that dignity and honor, that the person succumbs to degradation.
The reason why people engage in corruption is out of desiring to earn respect. It is impossible for poor people to ever be respected in this world. This drives towards securing a highly paying job, ahead of anything, even though advancing livingness, but without sufficient remuneration. The unenlightened people would consider money as taking precedence over God.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money”(Matthew 6:21-24 NIV).
The reason why money is considered ahead of God is that money is physically observed, whereas God is spiritually observed. One needs to be spiritual to be in communication with God. There is no way any person could convince a physical person that God is superior to money, without inviting ridicule.
However, some cunning Christians have manipulated Scriptures to advance the idea of receiving money without factoring the principle of exchange. Money, however, crudely acquired, is considered a blessing. John the Baptist highlighted that the Lamb of God was capable of taking away the sin of the world, which is revealed as being pride.
The above scripture makes comparison between Money and God. This is significant, when considering the reality of money being favorably compared ahead of God. The monetary value is tangibly real, in its ability to restore the person’s dignity. The revolutionary struggles are premised on desiring to restore dignity among the oppressed people.
There is nothing wrong with that consideration. The only problem is in dealing with the effect, without dealing with the root cause. This is why former liberation fighters turn out to be worst oppressors. In Zimbabwe, many people have been perplexed to notice that the current oppressors are, actually, many times worse than the previous white oppressors.
Those people’s limitations lie in inability to distinguish between the spiritual and physical identities. Each person is a spirit being, which implies having no limitation in the physical universe. But the appreciation of being spiritual is not enough, without recognizing the spiritual capabilities. The knowledge of being spiritual should be regarded as liberating the person, absolutely. This describes the freedom that Jesus implied, at the beginning of His ministry.
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19 NIV).
The above Scripture is not referring to physical bondage or physical blindness. It is referring to spiritual bondage and spiritual blindness. Money can be wrongly considered as solving all problems, due to ignorance of the person’s spiritual identity. There are gradient steps that are necessary for any person to ever attain the ability to comprehend the freedom referred to, by Christ.
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven”(Matthew 16:16-19 NIV).
The Church that Jesus was talking about comprises of people who become aware of being spiritual, rather than physical. This implies that they would be God’s children, who would be as spiritual as God is Spiritual. Such people cannot be limited by anything. But they have to confront the reality of departing from the physical condition, which accustomed them in bondage before they became aware of their spiritual reality.
A person who is aware of being God’s child cannot be limited by anything in the physical universe. Jesus said, with faith as little as a mustard seed, Christians would be capable of achieving greater things than Jesus achieved (John 14:12). Surprisingly, some Christians succumb to consulting spirit mediums, without being aware of their superiority over such spirit mediums. How can God’s children be so desperate? Christians should be regarded as superior to any other spirit, in the entire universe, although they would be physically diminishing.
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. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope, in a simple conversational tone.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99