Democracy can be worst, without understanding what it entails. Engaging in the business of changing leaders, hoping for the best, leads to apathy and hopelessness. The starting point is appreciating one’s own purpose in life. The Bible, categorically, states that humans were created in God’s image—meaning that nothing is unachievable by humans.
It is the slavery mentality that causes people to assume that worshiping other people is a sign of humility. There is no need to worship other humans, in this world. We were all created with different talents and abilities. But that does not mean that others should be regarded as more important than others. The idea of idolizing other humans was abolished by Jesus:
“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers.And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Matthew 23:8-12) (NIV).
Although not taken seriously in Christian fraternity, this Scripture is key, as establishing the significance of Christianity. When taken literally, all problems of humanity fall away. This idea of lamenting over the misbehaviour of leaders in government comes from a failure to appreciate responsibility. Jesus confirmed freedom at the beginning of His ministry:
“He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day, he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free’” (Luke 4:16-18) (NIV).
Those assuming being under oppression are, obviously, blind to the reality of this Scripture. It is wrong to assume having been created to be under the slavery of another person. God never created anyone in His own image, to be under slavery. A free person is not scared of anything. He stands up for what he knows to be right, regardless of other people’s opinions.
When God allows bad leaders to emerge; that reflects a general mindset of those concerned. Our Zimbabwean condition is not Mugabe’s or ED’s fault. When carefully analyzing the circumstances leading to their ascendance to power, one cannot exonerate those now crying foul.
This is particularly accentuated in the Israelites’ story. There is a lot to learn from that story, as long as one keeps in mind Christ’s teachings. When using Jesus as the light, one cannot fail to appreciate what caused the Israelites to fall foul with God’s word.
“So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, ‘You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.’ But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: ‘Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you that they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights’”(1Samuel 8:4-9) (NIV).
Apparently, this passage of Scripture reveals how oppressive leaders, like Saul, come about. God had intended that the Israelites should rely on God as their King. The statement: “Give us a king to lead us,” is as ugly as people desire someone like a king to lead them in Zimbabwe.
This does not validate the idea that leaders are unnecessary. But, each person is a leader, regardless of social status. For administrative purposes, it is necessary to have someone coordinating structures at the top. This does not mean that leaders ought to be worshipped. The idea of democracy empowers every individual to take responsibility.
Perhaps Ian Smith may have been right in suggesting that Africans needed evolution, rather than revolution. To understand the principle of responsibility requires education—not achievable overnight. However, our black brothers could not accept Smith’s prescription, towards independence. He was not the right person to suggest a solution for Africans.
As considered to be an oppressor, Smith could not be listened to. This brings us to the idea of value found on the principle of communication. There is no problem under the sun that cannot be solved through communication. It can only be a dishonest person who refuses to engage in frank communication, which requires listening, more than talking.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you”(James 1:19-21) (NIV).
Of course, it was anger that led to the armed struggle, which James admonishes against. If, true that Smith considered educating Africans before granting independence, then opposing him was preposterous. Perhaps the only wrong thing about him was his skin color, rather than his idea. Otherwise, what’s wrong with that, apparently, brilliant idea?
The nostalgic perspective of gallantry, donned by our former liberation fighters is associated with insanity. Those having studied psychiatry can confirm that psychosis is a mental disorder of not being in the present time. One who is stuck in the past is not normal, as unable to appreciate what goes on in the present time.
Is our president in the present time, or living in the past? He may be one in need of a mental health specialist, rather than those wishing him dead. The only challenge is that a person in his position is considered more normal than others. Many people would agree to do ghastly things on his behalf, arguing that they would be following authority.
However, when applying the principle of taking God as the only authority, one avoids such folly. Jesus came to grant us liberty, as to avoid subjugation by other fellow humans (Luke 4:16-18). No-one was created to be idle. Each ought to ask the question of how valuable he/she could be. This world needs talented people. When Jesus gave the Talent Parable, He removed the idea of superintending over others. Each talent-holder was granted responsibility, according to abilities.
“….So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you werefaithful over a few things,I will make you ruler over many things. Enter intothe joy of your lord.’He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’His lord said to him,‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter intothe joy of your lord.’
“Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’
“But his lord answered and said to him, ‘Youwicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming, I would have received back my own with interest.So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents…”(Matthew 25:14-30) (NIV).
The aspect of responsibility is the prime virtue, deduced in this parable. No-one could blame another for failing to account. Each was expected to account, as not under someone’s responsibility. Once again, I must emphasize the point that nothing should be construed as suggesting that one shouldn’t be under other people’s responsibilities.
We are all gifted with peculiar gifts and abilities that others do not have. That does not make us superior to those, also holding their own peculiar abilities. Some of the gifts require operating under some form of an organization, requiring coordination. The human body can illustrate the functionality of different talents in an organization.
The eyes have a special function, ensuring that other body parts effectively perform their respective functions. For instance, eyes ensure that feet do not step on dangerous areas. Also, eyes ensure provisions of good food for consumption. Eyes appear as indispensable.
But no-one can assume that one part of the body is more important than others. In this illustration, the manager’s role can be that of eyes, in an organization. If appreciating how the human body functions, how can one assume to be more important than others?
The idea of responsibility applies, where each component effectively does its work. A nation is an organization, requiring each citizen to take responsibility without supervision. Each individual becomes responsible for what is expected of him/her, according to his/her natural abilities.
We may not have a model country, applying what is advanced here. Modern civilizations are based on self-centeredness, rather than altruism. Nevertheless, it is impossible to apply altruism, without using one’s own talent. Altruism is possible, only when utilizing one’s own talent, rather than attempting to use other people’s talents.
The idea of self-centeredness causes people to shelve their own talents, to adopt other people’s talents. Everyone seeks admiration. This is why graduates are celebrated, and why people feel bad when left out for promotion. This is why I, personally, would not envy the position of a manager in an organization.
When selecting one considered suitable for a certain position, one can be viewed as exercising favouritism. This is, exactly what causes some organizations to be stocked by incompetent managers. Merit is considered out of paper qualification, rather than competence and natural abilities. This world puts educational qualifications ahead of natural abilities.
Education is designed to make qualification papers the only proof of competence. In other words, without educational qualifications, one is doomed, even with natural abilities. On castigating the Pharisees, Christ was lamenting a mindset reflecting an evil and adulterous generation:
“Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, ‘Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.’ But He answered and said to them, ‘An evil andadulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. ‘For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth”(Matthew 12:38-40) (NIV).
When appreciating that humans are God’s children, how could one demand proof? Merit cannot be limited to educational qualifications. The only proof is the ability to perform and produce results. A medical doctor does not have to produce qualification papers, where people receive healing from him. The Jews had adopted this idea of credential production from paganism.
Their point of departure was as highlighted to Samuel in 1Samuel 8:4-9. Each person ought to ask him/herself the question: Why was I born? That self-introspection enables one to discover his/her own talent, through which to take responsibility. Certainly, God did not create imperfect individuals. It is a question of discovering why the person exists in this world.
What are you giving to others? (Altruism). For a self-centered civilization, the mineral resources of a country are more important than human beings. But, Jesus did not die for mineral resources, or anything, other than human beings, whose value cannot be matched to anything. Voters should take responsibility, as to apply due diligence—where voting exercise is not about selecting an idol for worship.
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