Loving the unlovable in a sinful world

Love is one of the most difficult terms to apply, yet all humans desire to be loved.  Conditional love is wrongly defined as love. But, conditional love has got nothing to do with the correct definition of love. A mixture of love and hatred is worse than hatred itself. Love is a term that is not associated with this world. The proponent of true love, Jesus Christ, was ruthlessly murdered, showing that love is not associated with this world.

The beginning point of misunderstanding love is in marriage. When engaging in marriage, the couple assumes to love each other. However, romantic love is conditional. It does not describe the love that was exercised by Jesus.  What is commonly missing in romantic love is allowing the other person to be him/herself. Neither the wife nor the husband is free in a marriage.

Infidelity is unacceptable because the other person would have violated the marriage covenant. Marriage provides for conditional Love. Anything bound by a covenant is sustained in conditional love. In Biblical terms, this explains what happened to the Israelites—causing the redundancy of the Old Covenant between God and the nation of Israel.

The Israelites received blessings, only on the condition that they obeyed God’s laws. I suppose, by raising the nation of Israel, God intended to show the unworkability of conditional love. The unconditional love caused Jesus to be crucified on the cross, even though Jesus could not be found with any trace of sin, in his conduct.

Denominationalism is what exposes modern Christianity. You are considered a member of a denomination, only when abiding by the doctrines of that denomination. Rather than confront those considered as teaching heresy, denominational leaders would rather excommunicate such people. This behaviour was first practised by the Roman Catholic Church, against Martin Luther.

They could not confront Martin Luther. Excommunicating him was most convenient. But, generally, it is the darkness that cannot confront the light. Darkness disappears in the presence of light. If the Catholics honestly thought that Martin Luther was preaching heresy, they would have confronted him with the truth.

However, the authorities could not withstand the countenance of Martin Luther. It is possible, Martin Luther might have been erroneous in his theses. Therefore, that could not have presented a threat against the Catholics. An honest person does not feel threatened by those truthfully evaluating what he stands for. He accepts what is true, and discards only what is false, using facts.

Our Zimbabwean political situation could easily be used to illustrate the matter of conditional love. Anyone who disagrees with the leader of ZANU PF is labelled an enemy. This does not consider how truthful the person might be. A person is labelled treasonous, as long as critical of the president. Recently, Chief Murinye was on the news, denouncing corruption in ZANU PF.

He had all along assumed that ZANU PF represented the ideals of the Zimbabwean people. However, he got disturbed recently, after his first-hand witnessing of corruption. He tried to whistle-blow but got ignored. The leadership of ZANU PF threatened him with dethroning from his chieftainship.

Only the outsiders could sympathize with Chief Murinye. Insiders will go along with the narrative that he is an enemy of ZANU PF. He faces expulsion from his party, which cannot confront him on matters of principle. Although no one can tell exactly what goes on in Chief Murinye’s mind. His case reveals a point on the question of conditional love.

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He had been loved by the ZANU PF party, until his latest criticism of the leadership. A former youth leader of that party, Godfrey Tsenengamu, was also expelled, for similar reasons and has now formed his own party. He is now regarded as an enemy, as long as critical of ZANU PF, as a governing party.

But, why would the governing authorities feel threatened when such critical issues are in their favour? Two reasons are possibly either at play; Pride and connivance. Both can cause problems for a nation. Conditional love carries with it an aspect of either pride or connivance.

Either of the two can be found causing all our economic problems. Only a naïve person assumes these can be easily handled. They invite a revolutionary struggle causing blood spillage, as those involved seek to protect their interests. Nothing is as dangerous as cornering a criminal.

When caught stealing, a criminal would rather kill those catching him in the act, than face prosecution. The survival instinct seeks to eliminate everyone else, to save just himself. To such a person there is no other way towards survival.

This describes how impossible it can be for true love to be applied using conditional love. When not driven by pride or connivance, one considers merit in everything. Truth is truth, regardless of who says it. If Satan says something that is true, why oppose him? If God says what is wrong, why agree with him?

It can be possible for God to propose something unacceptable. Possibly to test his servant or for whatever reason? Moses, at one stage, was given a proposition, suggesting that God should kill all the Israelites and save Moses and his offspring.

“I have seen these people,” the Lord said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people. Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”

But Moses sought the favour of the Lord his God. “Lord,” he said, “why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth’? 

“Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.’” Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened. (Exodus 32:9-14 NIV).

If God was like one of these known dictators, He would have turned against Moses, for opposing Him. However, Moses reasoned with God. In his love God expects humans to use the mind that He created them with.

One of the reasons some people cannot use their minds to solve problems could be idolatry. But without idolatry, pride or connivance would be chiefly to blame. The sin of murder, committed by David against Uriah, was caused by his desire to conceal the sin he had committed with Bathsheba.

Pride, which dictators may not even be aware of possessing, makes it impossible for them to submit to critics. Or, it could be that they would be afraid that their sins would be exposed. When Jesus mentioned the aspect of loving enemies, He highlighted a datum that makes it impossible to sin.

Happy are those without anything to hide, in this world. The most miserable person is the one who has got something to hide. There is no reason to talk about enemies when guided by the truth. A man with a clean heart can never be hurt.

The most powerful individual on earth is the one who loves his enemies, even with good reason to hate them. In Africa, no one else has ever carried the fame, as was accorded to Nelson Mandela.

In Nelson Mandela, a man who truly believed in himself was found. He was not preoccupied with the ideas of the propaganda, designed to protect his integrity. Nelson Mandela never lived another person’s life, but his own.

Sadly, some still carry resentment against a man who must be resting in eternal peace. They accuse him of current problems, in South Africa, resulting from their inability to use the constitution to eradicate racism. In their cowardly nature, they viewed Nelson Mandela as another god.

Greatness is all about loving the unlovable people, and not, necessarily loving those who would return the favour. Nevertheless, this world carries people who find heroism in vindictiveness against the white race.

There are those who discern that Mugabe’s behaviour was designed to hide his own evil record of the past. He sought to protect himself from justice, in the event that a new leader would raise an issue over Gukurahundi.

The racial card was used to whip the emotions of the unintelligent, assuming that hating the whites is heroism. However, hating the whites portrays the inferiority complex. This is done by those viewing themselves as inferior to the whites. If truly racist, those whites would have been inferior to the blacks.

This is just as we have people who assume that driving the Lamborghinis, without proof of source of income, is a sign of intelligence. To such people, it is not a question of what they have contributed to society, but what they have stolen from society. They assume that to be displaying wisdom. And yet that would be a sign of stupidity.

Such people, although unwise, do not deserve to be hated, but to be helped to see the light, if possible. The only sustainable peace is found in loving one’s enemies, as one can then turn those enemies into friends, for sustainable happiness, thereafter.

This is possible, not by conforming to be like them, but by honestly showing them their error when living truthfully. The most important datum to take note of is that a man with a clean heart can never be hurt. Those taking offence on flimsy reasons are mostly carrying hidden sins.

It is on public record that, currently, we are led by those directly connected with the Gukurahundi genocide. It would be naïve for anyone to assume that they would easily give up power. Their invitation is engagement in a war that they hope to reverse their feelings of guilt. Deep inside their conscience, they know their wrongness, more than their accusers.

Organizations like Bhetshu Lika Zulu, are livid that justice should take its course, considering the Matabeleland and Midlands atrocities. This is understandable from a human point of view. However, that condition of lividness is exactly what those murderers consider favourable to them.

They can be provocative, as itching for that development. The wrong thing is to assume that they are at an advantage, after having committed sins, like those of Gukurahundi. These are the people who, actually, are spiritually tormented day and night—hence Jesus said they deserve to be prayed for. A normal person would not envy their condition.

There is no reason to be angry with such people. Without spiritual understanding, most people mock the teaching of Jesus, where He advised to turn the other chick. The confusion is found in making wisdom to be stupidity while stupidity would be considered wisdom.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them on the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 38-48 NIV).

No one knows exactly what life is like, after this physical life. But, even in scantest imagination, any person can envisage that there is no peace in living unethically. I suppose Nelson Mandela must have calculated the peace that comes with not worrying about what happens after his death. His twenty-seven years of imprisonment were too little, compared with his envisaged life of eternity.

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.

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