Strange as it may sound to most people, this is as true as the certainty of the rising sun, tomorrow. A good man faces estrangement, instead of a wicked person. Jesus is a perfect example of how this condition prevails. Having done many good things for ordinary humans, during His time, Jesus provoked the most unsolicited acrimony from the general public.
“Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor. “Barabbas!” they answered. “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!” “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” (Matthew 27:21-24) (NIV).
Could the manifestation of this phenomenon have been poised to end with Jesus? The answer cannot be in the affirmative. It is on record, throughout history, that good people perish, leaving the evil ones to survive longer. The story of Cain and Abel can be sighted as revealing the apparent prevalence of such injustices in human behavior.
Although nothing rivals the acerbic treatment of Jesus in the first century, the wickedness of humanity has remained glaringly visible. Why, and how Jesus was insolently treated, as to have His life exchanged for a notoriously regarded criminal is mind boggling. An evil society is characterized by punishing good people, where the evil ones are rewarded handsomely.
The ones who work tirelessly to make a difference in a poverty-stricken Zimbabwe get insolently treated, where the evil ones are celebrated as victors. It is understandable that those benefiting from a corrupt system in Zimbabwe cannot be friendly to those exposing corruption. Yet it has also been the common men, used in harassing such good people, causing their incarceration.
There are many people who passively support an evil system, although not benefiting anything from it. What prevails in Zimbabwe should not surprise good people who are in the minority. Wickedness, as perpetrated by the governing authorities, can be sickening to normal people.
True Christians should not despair, when evil appears as prevailing, where goodness seems as diminishing. There is nothing new, in that reality. In the recorded history of Jewish kingdoms, the most evil kingdoms survived longer. King Manasseh was the most abominable, yet his survival is recorded as the longest. It can be unfathomable that God allows wicked people to survive that long.
It is understandable that many people find it difficult to comprehend God’s tolerance of such insolent developments. Others have had to commit suicide, due to not finding answers to such brazen conditions. But, suicide, itself reveals the inability to confront, due to cowardice. Here is what I find to be an encouraging episode by one of God’s servants:
Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plague by human ills. Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits.
They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression. Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth. Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance. They say, “How can God know? Does the Most High have knowledge?” This is what the wicked are like—always carefree, they increase in wealth. Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.
All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning. If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed your children. When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! (Psalms 73:1-19) (NIV).
This Scripture is intended to strengthen the righteous ones, whose reasoning capacity cannot be swayed, or influenced by the wicked people. Such people are different from the cowards, who take comfort in the expediency of falsehood. Good people know that it is better to die resisting evil, than to die succumbing to evil.
The good people are aware of the glorious future, awaiting the righteous ones. When comparing their destiny to the illustrated calamitous destiny for the wicked, in the above Scripture. There cannot be a greater enemy of humans, surpassing fear. The evil people use fear, to maintain the wicked people’s boisterous and oppressive authority against ordinary people. The truly righteous cannot be intimidated. It can only be cowards, who are easily manipulated to do dirty works on behalf of the oppressors.
From time immemorial, humans have faced the apparent insolvable problems. But there is no unsolvable problem in this world. It is only the result of cowardice that keeps people under slavery. The cowards can even fight those working for freedom. The reason for cowardice is the inability to know one’s own true identity, as mistaken for what is observed physically.
The purpose of Jesus was to reveal the true identity of humanity, who remain emasculated, as unable to control the environment. The reasons for failure to handle problems in one’s own environment is the emasculation, caused by fear. Those entrusted with bringing good tidings, are known to succumb as to recoil when treated badly. Evil is sustainable, only because evil people appear attractive when flamboyantly displaying their ill-gotten gains.
There are only two extremes, opposed to each other, in this universe. There is goodness on one extreme and wickedness in another extreme. However, in-between the two extremes there is mixture of both goodness and wickedness. This was perfectly highlighted by Jesus, to the Church of Laodicea, in the Book of Revelation.
“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other. So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (Revelation 3:14-17) (NIV).
While this is directed at a church organization, it is axiomatically applicable to all situations enjoining human survival. There are those who are fond of taking sides, when avoiding responsibility. They take advantage of whatever would be beneficial to themselves. In our political environment, other people are unwilling to associate with those considered as radicals. Yet also not openly associating with the corrupt governing system.
They cringe, when anyone from their ranks talks about confronting the politics of this country. Such are the Christians who the corrupt government treats as good citizens. Alas! Those Christians are not different from those who supported the idea of crucifying Jesus. They are known to oppose active participation in political activities, as politics is negatively viewed.
These are the people who preach messages of supporting the government of the day, even though such a government is brazenly corrupt. They are considered as good in the eyes of common men. They are similar to those of the church of Laodicea, who Jesus said He would spit. They are neither hot, nor cold. Jesus would neither spit the cold nor the hot, but the lukewarm.
Apparently, according to Jesus, the lukewarm are regarded as more abominable than the cold. The evilness of the entire world is sustained by the lukewarm. These are self-centered, yet treated as good, by ordinary people. They estrange themselves with those decrying corruption and the wicked governing system. Nothing good can come from them, hence deserving spitting.
Sadly, they comprise the majority Christians, hence we have a failing democracy in Zimbabwe. They take pride in not participating in voting exercise, stating that they are not part of the world. Anything coming from political leaders is assumed as correct, without evaluation. But it is only cowardice that causes them to worship political leaders. Their belief system is sustained in idolatry.
But nothing makes me angrier than the traditionally adopted Trinitarian doctrine. Ordinary Christians believe in it because traditional orthodox leaders uphold it. When attempting to confront those traditional leaders, one invites being ostracized. Jesus, whom they purport to follow, never blocked communication from anyone confronting Him on any issue.
The Trinitarian doctrine appears as elevating Jesus, but invalidating everything He taught. With the spirit of idolatry, ordinary Christians are sold a dummy. They cannot think for themselves, except to believe everything said by pastors. Rather than venerating the words of Jesus, they glorify the person of Jesus and give credence to Theologians.
Therefore, the enemies of Jesus are simply those idolizing Jesus—not necessarily the repulsive nonbelievers. Blessed are those able to detect the façade, when adopting the words of Jesus, without fear. Both the overcomers (the courageous ones) and the cowardly, will receive their respective rewards. Out of the multitudes of sinners, the cowardly are mentioned first, among those to share in the reward, preserved for God’s enemies.
“He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death” (Revelations 21:7-8) (NIV).
The false Christians are clearly the proverbial wolves in sheep’s clothing. This is what makes them more dangerous than those considered as nonbelievers, in this world. Nonbelievers are known to be clear in their iniquitous behavior. Although treated as religiously good, false Christians are, actually, the beneficiaries of an evil system.
Their blind followers are known to lavishly treat them, although inconsistent with the teachings of Christ. Their strength and support are garnered from blind followers who are totally ignorant of the consequences of their religiosity. The behavior of these Church leaders is adequately described in the first chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans:
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools…” (Romans 1:21-22) (NIV).
The problems of humanity start with those using Jesus’s name in vain. Their behavior is cascaded down to the behavior of ordinary humans. Being in leadership is a license for self-protection, in clear violation of what Jesus taught. Hence, whatever comes from leadership is taken as sacrosanct, even though false.
Those Christian cowards are content in being protected by criminals in government leadership. They, actually, ridicule their fellow Christians who become willing to suffer with the majority. False Christians can be categorized with those recommending Jesus’s murder, in place of Barabbas, at Mount Calvary.
The upshot of it is that it is impossible to know God, beyond one’s own identity. Having been created in God’s image, which other God would a person be looking for? The restoration of that which was created in God’s image is achievable, only when taking Jesus’s teachings without alterations. This cannot be possible when mixing truth with falsehood.
A wise person selects truthful information from those multitudes of Christian groupings, living out clear falsehoods. In other words, among those Christian groupings, none deserves idolization. Indeed, others can be comparatively more truthful, but truth, itself, cannot be associated with a particular denominational grouping. What is truthful has got no competition, as standing out to be what it is. The blinding factor exists in pride, for a few people. Idolatry is practiced by some and total ignorance is within the rest of the population.
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. accolade
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