Misinterpretation of ‘politics’ causes confusion

The definition of politics implies the ability to exercise good judgement in managing people in public affairs. It is intended for the welfare of ordinary humans, when conserving and manipulating the country’s available resources. Politicians are, therefore, highly necessary—when effective.

It is impossible for humans to survive optimally, without proper co-ordination by astute politicians. Generally, in Africa, Politicians are not regarded in positive light. They are viewed as people whose intention is to swindle the naïve populace. There, obviously, is some truth in that perception.

But that should not then lead to concluding that all politicians should be loathed. That would be similar to concluding that all Christians are rogue criminals, due to infiltration by few criminals. It, therefore, cannot always be right to paint all politicians with a black brush. What is important is the ability to discern goodness from what is wicked.

In our modern civilizations, anyone can be facilitated into becoming a politician by ordinary people, through a system of democratic elections. Such a system, bestows responsibility on people to choose who and how they prefer to be governed. It is, however, true that politicians are, actually, expected to help the naïve populace to understand what is good for them.

A good politician rightfully pursues what is good, when enhancing survival of ordinary people. A bad politician seeks to line up his pockets, without regard for the welfare of the ordinary and uneducated populace. It is one thing to educate people to appreciate goodness and quite another to use dubious communication, to take advantage of their ignorance.

Politicians are assumed as having caused the slide to our country’s anarchical condition. Another reason for political degeneration is apathy. Some people have come to a conclusion that it is impossible to eradicate bad politics. Opposition parties are viewed as also unethically possessive of new ideas of pilfering.

Such an apathetic condition can be regrettable—as also complicated by lack of education, or failure to clear the actual meaning of politics. For instance, the word politics has been assumed to mean something that is unfavorable to most people. Politics is particularly regarded as taboo to Christians. I suppose this comes from the fact that Christianity itself is a misunderstood term?

Christianity is a useless endeavor, as long as not changing the behavior of humanity for the better. In addition to preaching the good news about God’s coming Kingdom, Christians are expected to cause good behavior in the environment. Consider what Jesus referred to, during His inaugural sermon:

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16) (ESV).

Apparently, this passage gives responsibility to Christians, over what happens in public affairs. It is, therefore, dubious for people to blame politicians for what prevails in society. It appeals for truth in that Jesus did not dabble in politics, during His time. He also appeared as not supporting John the Baptist, after John’s imprisonment for criticizing the political leader for wrong-doing. But, apparently, what led to the crucifixion of Jesus was His share of political interference.

The mission of Jesus was different from that of John the Baptist. This is just as each Christian is allocated with own cross to carry: “And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:38-39) (ESV).

It should be borne in mind that there is nothing good that does not come from God. This is just as blatant wickedness cannot come from God. What is contemptible, for Christians, is failure to act on ideas benefitting, or preventing wickedness in society. Perceiving evil—though not seen by others and keeping quiet about it—is tantamount to inhibiting God.

Christians are the instruments through which God communicates to ordinary humans. Anyone with good ideas for humanity is in direct communication with God. What becomes wrong for that person, is pretending not to see the apparent injustice, when clearly observing its presence on ordinary people.

Being at peace with everyone is commendable. But, succumbing to condoning wrongness, when desiring to be at peace with the perpetrator is unacceptable. There is no difference between an accomplice and a perpetrator. A true Christian cannot tolerate abusive treatments of defenseless people.

Of course, this does not mean that Christians should pick up arms, fighting against the oppressive governments. But it simply means openly voicing discomfiture and using the available legal instruments, pursuing justice for the oppressed people.

This is different from pastoral leaders instructing their parishioners to leave everything to Jesus, as expected to deal with oppressors at His second-coming. The so-called oppressors came into being, due to such dubious Christians not having stood up to oppose injustice and prevent such evil scenarios. This is what was meant by Jesus when stating that Christians were the light of the world.

There are, actually, Christians who seem engrossed in highlighting the existent evils in this world. They use that as proof that this is Satan’s world and theirs is simply to wait for Jesus to come and correct such evils. Such Christians cannot be different from the guy who preferred to hide his only talent—assuming such behavior to be what gives glory to God (Matthew 25:24-30).

Jesus portrayed God’s will without reservations. This is just as Stephen portrayed God’s will—even though Stephen was stoned to death, for what he considered as right. When accepting baptism and, accordingly, becoming a Christian, one ought to realize the responsibility that goes with it.

I have no problem with those who come into Christianity for what they can get. But this article is intended for those coming into Christianity for what they can give. It cannot be disputed that there is no scriptural reference that says Christians should be involved in politics. Although there is also no scriptural reference that says Christians should not be politicians.

However, being the light of the world implies pursuing programs that cause acceptable living standards among ordinary people. Such programs could be educational, or any other activity that enhances improvement in living standards for ordinary people.

The bottom line is that Christians are supposed to be the light of the world—making a difference in the darkened world. I envisage a better world where Pastoral leaders teach their congregants to respect and enhance life, in ordinary people. They should constantly encourage their congregants to respond to what God has called them for, in this life.

This is different from constantly teaching them to be faithful in Church attendance and faithful in tithes and offerings for the pastor’s benefit. My view and concern has always been the apparent misdemeanor in authoritarianism, as observed among denominational churches.

While pastors could be blind to injustices in governance, some of their congregants might be observant. It is the authoritarian culture that causes pastors to inculcate their own views on parishioners. Out of fear of being thrown out of fellowship, ordinary members are cowed to obey the pastor, rather than obey God. This cannot be right.

This is, basically, how Christianity gets incapacitated in handling societal problems, on issues associated with human survival. Sadly, such delinquencies do not exist out of deliberate intention. All this comes out of assumption that obeying pastors, rather than the voice of God, is what God desires of Christians.

There are those, so-called bishops, who heap praises to the oppressors in government, in order to receive government support. They insist on the governing authorities being there by God’s will. Even though what is done by those governing authorities would have nothing to do with God’s will. Such skewed pastoral activities arise from ignoring what Jesus taught:

“But you are not to be called rabbi by others, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:8-12) (ESV).

Granted, Jesus comes again to set up God’s Kingdom, to address all existent evils in this world. But Jesus is present—through His followers, who are expected to practice the tenets of that Kingdom. Jesus calls those people His brothers, because they, simply, think and behave like Him.

But, it seems Satan has hijacked the responsibility of such Christians—causing their failure to make differences in a confused world. The authoritative culture—as practiced by the so-called bishops among some Christian churches—has incapacitated Christianity. Unfortunately, it seems as if the congregants, actually, grant approval to such authoritarian practices.

Those Christians are duped into believing that questioning the bishop’s activities is like questioning the activities of Jesus. It, therefore, goes without saying that the political problems in most African countries come from inappropriate Christian activities. Abstract idolatry is at play.

Holding authority is considered as a right, meant to be enjoyed by those in leadership positions. What is used to manipulate people to go along with such questionable actions is fear of expulsion from the group.

However, in politics the fear is basically of the gun—especially where disappearances go unaccounted for. The political leader uses authoritative power to use weaponry against dissenting voices. He simply uses government finances to bribe those in judiciary, police and the army to remain loyal.

Such bribes are extended to Christian leaders who then misuse scriptures—asserting Christianity’s nebulous support for such dictators. All this describes the recipe for existent political evils in our society. But it all starts with the misunderstood words, as to what politics entails.

Questioning the activities of politicians should not be regarded as dabbling in politics. For Christians, the Bible clearly teaches against judging one another (Matthew 7:1-4). But Christians are expected to shade light where darkness prevails. How can one love his neighbor as self, when not caring about what that neighbor goes through, as resulting from wrong governance?

In other words, if clearly, the wickedness in governance causes suffering among ordinary people, why should Christians appear as blind to it? Obviously, this results from, either, inability to interpret Scriptures, or simply cowardice, which is, unchristian. The majority of Christians appear as seeking to please pastors, more than desiring to please God.

Otherwise, the wrong behavior by the governing authorities would not be allowed to exist in a Christian country. The judiciary would perform duties as mandated. The same would apply to the police and the military, including other positions of responsibility in public service. This should not be interpreted as implying that all Christians should become politicians.

The point is that each Christian responds to God for whatever purpose of calling. All noble things come from God. If one fails to act upon what God calls him/her to do, that person abdicates Godly responsibility. Basically, survival information comes from God, while all causes of death come from Satan.

Clearly, all survival programs constitute Godliness. While all wicked programs—leading to suffering and loss of life—come from Satan. It is, therefore, wrong for Christians—expected to be God’s instruments—to fail to respond to God’s calling for reversal of negative programs against humanity. Apparently, Satan avoids using outsiders, but uses Christians to disseminate his toxic information.

Satan uses those claiming to love God—where the Bible is used to mislead the naive congregants. The meaning of politics is changed to imply that politics is an ungodly business. Non-Christians are, therefore, given sole responsibility to take charge of public administrative affairs—causing traumas to ordinary people.

This is what removes the saltiness of Christians. All wrongs in society, indicate that there is no light, as expected to be projected by Christians. There is only darkness enveloping the environment. The needed light is hidden somewhere, possibly, due to fear. This is why Jesus stated: “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:38-39) (ESV).

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.

The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99

Also available as an e-copy at Lulu.com  for $6.99