Earnestly pursuing peace

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” (1 Peter 3:9-13).

The starting point is to know what doing evil entails. There are many people who work hard, assuming to be doing the right things, and yet being the enemies of God. There are only two manifestations for one to know whether pursuing righteousness or pursuing evil. These two are summarized in altruism, on one hand, and self-centeredness, on the other. To some proportional degree, all activities fall into either of the two behavioural demeanours.

What is it that motivates one to plan and execute some activity? Criminals also spend time planning, before executing the adopted idea to commit a bank robbery. Success is achieved when having accessed the required cash without being caught, in that robbery. It can be difficult to know what motivates people in life’s activities, except by engaging them in communication.

Those engaged in altruism; apply the principle of communicating with fellow humans. Such people can be identified as extroverts. They love listening and reasoning with other fellow humans. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world.” Jesus was referring to those able to communicate with other people.

Therefore, those who become interested in how other people conduct their lives aiming at improving their living conditions are true Christians. They are driven by love, sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is opposed to those minding their own businesses, uninterested in what happens next door.

Such introverts may not be regarded as bank robbers but are complicit in bank robberies. They could have made a difference if having engaged in communication with criminals before the bank robbery would be executed. Therefore, in this light, can be seen that introversion, focusing on self, is as wicked as bank robbery is wicked.

Jesus made a difference, by engaging an adulterous Samaritan woman. The conversation between Jesus and that woman developed into some powerful ministry in her community. Christians would be fooling themselves if assuming that God would be impressed by their introversion. No one was born to be a criminal. Those criminals are common people whose excuse for doing evil would be to eke a living, due to facing life’s challenges.

A person who focuses only on his own survival is as wicked as any criminal would be wicked in this world. True Christians are extroverts whose concerns are always to bring order to the environment. They go out of their way, to reach out to other people and communicate the gospel with them. They do not get tired, as finding communication to be the reason for God to allow them to continue surviving.

Life is purposeful, only when one reaches out to influence other people to do the right things. The works of the apostles involved walking or travelling long distances to meet people. But our modern technology has simplified communication. The WhatsApp group chats can be as helpful as guiding others to access God’s word.

Some groups prefer regulating what is communicated among those group chats. They feel comfortable, only when communicating with those whose line of thinking agrees with theirs. Such people can be identified as introverts. Those are the people who, by their introversion, cause our environment to remain toxic.

If they are as good as they assume to be, why do they prefer keeping their light under the bushel? They consider the idea of minding one’s own business, to be Godly. This is the same ideology that drives criminals to rob banks. It is all about them, minding their own business. Those studying criminology can confirm that the mind of a criminal embraces introversion, before executing those heinous crimes.

There is no denying that some people can be rough on social media. But that is the only way others can know the character of such individuals. Only cowardice causes some people to avoid engaging such people in communication. Good people are a light among such characters. In this world, we are our brother/sisters’ keepers. Forget about those fake Christian philosophies.

True Christians cannot prefer fooling themselves into thinking that they would be special and better than other people. Such people can be classified as introverts, disguised as followers of Jesus Christ. Unless interested in other people, as to go out of one’s way to listen to them, one would be a charlatan.

Some people take comfort in those considered “Great men of God.” One would be deceived, nevertheless, just as Christ warned of such fraudsters (Matthew 24:5). The test of true Christianity is in willingness to meet with all kinds of people, desiring to make a difference in their lives. Jesus met with abominable sinners and used such opportunities to minister to them.

If uncomfortable with some individuals, in this world, one would be wasting one’s time assuming to be Christian. True Christians are willing to experience anything. They are not even scared of demonic forces, as able to cast them out. Some religious fanatics maintain that Christians should keep themselves secluded.

“Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 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 16:16-18 NIV).

Many theories can be said of speaking in tongues. But this should include communicating with different characters in this world. The above Scripture shows that a Christian is not a coward, who avoids engaging other people in communication. He goes out to meet people, doing whatever it takes to help them, in their condition of desperation.

One cannot assume to be pursuing righteousness when allowing evil in one’s environment. What is even more ghastly includes church groupings that insist that Christianity is about giving tithes to the pastor and doing nothing else. Those treacherous pastors would then inform such delusional congregants to be wary of meeting ‘rebels’ on social media.

The bottom line would be to maintain their loyalty, so they continue to abuse them for their hard-earned income. For whatever reason; people love idolatry, more than they ought to love truth. If anyone can perform some miracle, whether spitting fire or speaking in tongues, one is treated as a god. Idolaters cancel their intellectual reasoning capacity, except for trusting the so-called “Man of God”.

Rather than confront those they accuse of spreading the false gospel, introverts prefer seclusion. They draw comfort in statements like: “Let the Satanists spread garbage out there. We are God’s chosen ones.” They choose Scriptures that they misinterpret, so as to deceive their followers.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Peter 2:9-10 NIV).

The above Scripture would then be taken out of context, to mean disassociating with other humans. Many Scriptures are used to scatter people out of Christianity, as preferred by false preachers. The most rewarding of all life experiences is spending one’s life doing good to other people.

This life is too short, to spend accumulating wealth for oneself. Any good person is measured by how other people benefit from one. The irony of it is that there are people who take comfort in persecuting those pursuing goodness. This causes some good people to shrink from pursuing righteousness.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for, in the same way, they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12).

The person’s neighbours are more important than self. Peace is pursuable when indulging in helping other people. This is even more so, in the area of passing workable information. What is it that one can advance to other people, being helpful to their conditions of living? Everyone wants to survive, but survival is possible when able to share survival information with others.

Those who survived the 2008 product scarcity in Zimbabwe can remember the value of sharing information. Survival was difficult for those failing to network with other people. One wouldn’t know where to find fuel, sugar or any of those daily necessities. But the greatest informant on matters of survival remains to be Jesus Christ.

The purpose of Jesus is to provide survival information. The starting point is choosing extroversion, in life, rather than introversion. The outgoing concern, rather than inward-looking, describes righteousness. One is extroverted, as long as one always considers the well-being of humanity.

Righteousness should not be viewed as some kind of pious religiosity. Righteousness is an active endeavour to attend to other people’s problems. This includes helping a foreigner find his direction. One would have been righteous, by willingly directing that foreigner to attain his/her destination.

The duty of a Christian is to be with the people, even those of different backgrounds. One would be righteous when providing food to the needy. Accessing the needy through effective communication is vital. Or, possibly, providing clothing, judging by the person’s appearance, in cold weather.

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God” (1 John 3:16-21 NIV).

Successful businesses are those catering for the well-being of humanity. When addressing other people’s needs one caters for his own needs, as well. The value of Jesus was in helping humanity. Jesus said, unlike the thief whose motive is always to steal, He came so that humanity could have life in abundance (John 10:10).

Generally, people prefer things that are anti-survival, rather than things of pro-survival nature. The source of survival is God, whose righteousness is commonly to do with addressing the needs of other people. But it is not everything that is pro-survival that people find to be desirable. Drugs are high-selling, but not desirable for survival.

The same goes for tobacco, which exposes many people to be affected by health complications. Righteousness caters for the well-being of other fellow humans. One can make a lot of money selling harmful drugs. The person may assume to be enjoying life when accumulating wealth for purposes of satisfying his personal ego.

By providing harmful products to other people, the person would be harming himself. One could have eaten a good breakfast in the morning, while another would have eaten sadza and matemba. Both are exposed to the dangers of life, regardless of what they would have eaten for breakfast.

Ask any rich person to give reasons for acquiring wealth. The only reason is prestige. But as long as unwilling to also cater for others, one would be empty. What brings satisfaction to any normal person is the joy that comes with having helped other people.

This is why comedians, sports people and singers appear happy. They would have provided what makes other people happy. All humans have got something to share, as long as extroverted, and able to provide what is profitable to other people.

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

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