The title “Christian” or “Pastor” makes some people view themselves as different from other fellow humans. The same honor is accorded to politicians, especially those holding titles like MP, Minister, or even Councilor. Herein, lies the gullibility of ordinary humans. Women have been raped or abused by the so-called “Men of God”, assumed as holding the heavenly keys.
Politicians, regarded as chefs, grant themselves the power to intimidate the weak, who fear estrangement from the ruling class. The abused avoid confronting, as granting such people permission to abuse them.
The most profound datum is that all humans are as equal as denoted at the point of death. Who would have imagined that the late former president Mugabe’s grave would controversially be threatened with desecration by a traditional chief from Zvimba district?
Life is too short and as temporary as the morning dew. The story of the Israelites, in the Old Testament Bible, reveals that the prophets were relied upon to guide the nation.
Wise kings would consult the prophets, on matters of good governance. The king was considered supreme but expected to submit to God’s direction, through the prophets, for the nation’s prosperity.
The nation did well when the king consulted the true prophets. Yet doing badly when the king got misguided through misinformation by the false prophets. The strings of those monarchies were punctuated by good and bad kings, depending on whether the one ruling would obey God’s laws or disobey God’s laws.
However, there could not have been any need for the entire nation to be exposed to wickedness, if each community member obeyed God, independently. God’s laws are immutable. The monarchial ideas had never been God’s initiative, after all:
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”(1 Samuel 8:6-10) (NIV).
Many people get astounded, as to quickly denounce those stating that Jesus never subscribed to Christianity. The term ‘Christian’, originally was derogatively used, against the early disciples after Jesus had left the scene. Jesus never asked His disciples to use the term ‘Christian’ to portray their identity. Also, those disciples did not invent the Christian idea, as denoting their identity:
“And when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch”(Acts 11:26) (NIV).
The followers of Jesus were, simply, expected to abide by what Jesus taught, in His three and a half year ministry. Jesus would then grant them the Holy Spirit, which would distinguish them from those of this world. Those disciples would become God’s children, just as Jesus, Himself, was the Son of God, although not identified as such, by ordinary humans.
The general term “Christian,” used as referring to His followers, carries some aberrations with it. It is true that one can be identified as a Christian when distinctly known to abide by Christ’s teachings. But not everyone who carries that label deserves treatment as a follower of Jesus. This was confirmed by Jesus, Himself, in one of His teachings, as recorded below:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matthew 7:21-24) (NIV).
The denunciation of those charlatans, reveals no favorable treatment, even with their apparent noble activities, done in His name. Such people can be viewed as synonymous with politicians. Although true that there are politicians who are well-meaning in their endeavors. Just as it is true that there are Christians who are well-meaning in their Christian endeavors.
The dividing line that separates these behavioral patterns remains between self-centeredness and altruism. The evil politicians seek to project themselves admirably, in the eyes of the common men. Similarly, false Christians seek to project themselves favorably, in the eyes of the common men. The gullible ones are enticed by the eloquence and everything of the material universe.
Accordingly, both the fake politicians and the charlatan Christians are popularly accepted by the gullible public. The well-meaning Christians go out of their way, doing the best in advancing the message of God’s Kingdom. Yet, they are the most hated in this world. It is impossible for the fake politicians, in conjunction with the business community, to love true Christians.
The dubious politicians and false Christians, have one thing in common. They seek to nullify the truth when invalidating the truthful preachers. They receive adulation from the general public, in consideration of their apparent successful achievements, when compared with ordinary humans.
They create the lime-light upon themselves. Hence, when Jesus comes, they desire to be considered as deserving rewards for their Christian endeavors. Unfortunately, Jesus would be aware of their evil intentions. All this highlights how self-centeredness is evil, and how altruism is regarded as good.
The only reason why altruism is shunned is that it takes away the limelight upon oneself while bestowing it upon others. If Jesus had assumed value in the Christian label, He would have easily avoided the agonies of the cross.
Similarly, the well-meaning politicians are willing to face imprisonment for the emancipation of the deprived communal citizens. Most of them, actually, die without ever attaining their intended objectives.
They mostly become a subject of ridicule, as long as pursuing ideas that seek to help other people. This is where the falsehood in assuming that Christians are not supposed to participate in Politics gets exposed.
True Christianity is not about displaying the “Christian” label, but the deeds of an individual. An altruistic person behaves like a Good Samaritan—sacrificing his own interests, to help others to access better living.
Although not credited for doing well in this world, an altruistic person is pleased to see other people’s lives improving, more than his own. Such a person is not overwhelmed by jealousy when other people receive credit ahead of him.
Such attributes are easily adopted by those, aware of the worthlessness of physical life. Even if one lives an interesting life, that would still be insignificant when considering the potential for eternity. Why would one be attracted to temporary things, at the expense of the certainty of everlasting life?
All humans, whether politicians, Christians, or seemingly successful business people, are destined to perish. It is, by far, better to live a life of being ridiculed in this world. Rather than falling into the trap of enjoying being adulated, as if a god.
The reason for the former late president to choose to cling to power, until toppled by his own generals, was simply pride. Having received excessive adulation from ordinary people, nothing could persuade him to surrender power.
Common sense is found in humility, not in pride, which is as foolish as Satan is foolishness. Common sense is, nevertheless, uncommon to the proud, who forget the reality of succumbing to death and be forgotten about.
Pride can be described as another term for stupidity, yet the proud people assume that pride is wisdom. All proud people consider themselves wiser than others. Hence, it is impossible for anyone to convince them that their behavior would be displaying a lack of wisdom.
In his close to forty-year rule, Mugabe could not entertain the idea that he was pursuing foolishness. His close associates were, all along, cheering him up, only to degrade him at his old age.
Such traitors can be observed as patting themselves at the back, for having toppled him, taking power upon themselves. It takes only a wise person to perceive that such a behavior displays stupidity.
Sadly, it appears impossible for a person having taken such a route to change for the better. It can be likened to a downward spiral, whose trajectory towards demise becomes unstoppable.
The enlightened ones can never be surprised by the behavior of those succeeding such characters. To understand this, Biblically, one can analyze the behavior of God’s servant, David, after committing adultery with Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba.
David sought to cover up his sin, by murdering Uriah, thereby, getting more entangled in sinful behavior. Instead of covering up the sin, David exposed himself to more sinful actions, unintentionally. Luckily for David, he repented and, accordingly, received God’s mercy.
The last days of David’s reign were not glamorous, as not attracting adulation from the ordinary people. After having recognized his stupidity and repenting, God forgave him. Even his close associates could not understand David’s humility when cursed by Shimei:
“And he threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David. And all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. Also, Shimei said thus when he cursed:
‘Come out! Come out! You bloodthirsty man, you rogue! The Lord has brought upon you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the Lord has delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom your son. So now you are caught in your own evil because you are a bloodthirsty man!’
Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, ‘Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Please, let me go over and take off his head!’
But the king said, ‘What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? So let him curse because the Lord has said to him, ‘Curse David.’ Who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’ And David said to Abishai and all his servants,
‘See how my son who came from my own body seeks my life. How much more now may this Benjamite? Let him alone, and let him curse; for so the Lord has ordered him. It may be that the Lord will look on my affliction and that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing this day”(2 Samuel 16:6-12) (NIV).
David managed to do what is commonly unachievable by the proud people. This is the kind of humility that can only be understood by those aware of fallibility, as living in the flesh. This cannot be understood by the proud.
No one knows of Mugabe’s condition, at the point of his death, except his nuclear family. But Mugabe must have counted himself lucky, for being humiliated by his own lieutenants. It is quite possible that such humiliation could have caused him to repent of his past evil deeds.
Life is made up of two behavioral patterns, ensconced in pride and humility. It is impossible to humiliate an already humble person. Could it have been possible to humiliate Nelson Mandela, for instance? I suppose those within the ANC could testify that it could not have been possible to humiliate him.
His estranged wife, Winnie Mandela, sought to humiliate him, but, apparently, she could not have succeeded. Nelson Mandela appears as having died a free man, although his life does not portray him as having been perfect, among other fellow humans.
The only thing that set Mandela apart, from, virtually, all other African heroes, is his adoption of humility ahead of pride. There is truth in that there is no authority under the sun, when not granted by God Almighty.
But it is a question of what the person does when bestowed with that authority, whether political or religious. Social, or in creative arts, as embraced in entertainment, etc. It is a question of what one does with that authority.
There is no human being ever created without talent or some gift from God. Foolishness lies in adopting the attractive attitude of pride, instead of humility. The bottom line is what the person does, for the benefit of others. This is regardless of whatever label is bestowed on that particular individual.
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