Reality is not always what appears to be

Any person, whether a beggar or a vagabond, carries potential energy that is many times more powerful than the atom bomb. What seems difficult to penetrate in the minds of many people is the statement that a human being was created in God’s image. A human being is not the physical body that would someday be buried, whether in heroes’ acre or eaten by wild animals.

God cannot be likened to a physical body or limited by physical things. The mistaken identity is often caused by the viewpoint of physical limitations. There are no limitations in the spiritual universe. If God cannot be limited by anything, a human being, created in God’s image, cannot be limited by anything. Jesus came to remove the shadows that have enveloped humanity from time immemorial.

When talking about a human being, it is important that one should first forget about the color of his skin, gender, or racial background. What complicates things is the inability to believe in the reality of one’s own identity. What appears as the reality of individuals, is often as wrong as one of God’s servants, James, described it as coming from the evil thought.

“My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” (James 2:1-4) (NIV).  

What James said is also complimented by failure to differentiate between things that look alike, yet producing different results. It is common to hear comments like: “All women are gossipers.” “All men are womanizers” “All whites are racists” “All blacks are stupid” The list goes ad infinitum. All this does not come from reason, but can only be a product of insanity.

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When seeing any person for the very first time; what impression comes to mind? In the business world, the Curriculum Vitae is considered very important, enabling one to get employment or fail, accordingly. The usage of a CV (Curriculum Vitae) can be considered vital in revealing the background of an individual. This is, obviously, better than judging a person solely by the way he would be dressed, the car he drives, or the suburb in where he would be residing.

Unfortunately, even a well-written, and impressive Curriculum Vitae cannot always be the best, in assessing a person’s reality. A human being can be good today, only to turn out to become the worst. Alternatively, a person can be the worst performer today, only to change and become the best. I suppose the Human Resource managers can agree with this submission without qualms.

The only test of acceptable reality is in producing promised results, measured according to the approval by those benefitting, at any given time. Anything that is good can be viewed by its beneficial value, enjoyed by the greatest number of the recipients. The goodness of anything that is being evaluated, is in the greatest number of beneficiaries.

In a world of insanity, goodness comes from high-ranking echelons, at any given time.  In most cases, the considered useful data is not approved by the beneficiaries. The so-called authorities are known to violently reject, even without verification, any data, considered as useful to ordinary people. Ordinary people are often cowed down to accepting everything from authority without question.

Pain and suffering have caused people to avoid the responsibility of acquiring truthful data. It takes a person of strong character to stand for the truthful information. The only formidable strength of any human being lies in the knowledge of his own identity. Such identity shutters the cause of his prison-hood. As soon as a person knows his/her true identity, he/she begins to open up for the truth.

When Jesus asked His disciples concerning His identity, He very well knew that people had falsified ideas about the human origin. To start with, those people did not even know about their own identities. But it was not yet time for Jesus to correct those with wrong information. He then directed the question to the disciples, to verify their depth of understanding. Through Peter, their answer was correct.

That answer was uncommon to ordinary people, and yet it was correct. But, did that answer reveal the comprehension by those disciples, that they were also the sons of the living God? Possibly yes, when considering that Jesus had already taught them to pray to their Father in Heaven (Matthew 6:9). Clearly, they may also have appreciated being sons of the living God, like Jesus.

All humans are potential sons of the living God. This is why Jesus inferred that His Church would be built on the basis of that understanding (Matthew 16:13-20). What makes those people different from other fellow humans is that they would be the sons of the living God, like Jesus. Therefore, they would not be under the authority of anyone in this world.

Having become God’s children, those people no longer take orders from anyone in this world. While information can come from any one in this world, such people would evaluate, to be certain of the original source. Jesus taught them that, even among themselves, none would have authority over others:

 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Matthew 23:8-12) (NIV).

When taking information directly from the father, one cannot be deceived. What is it that makes one believe the informant would be saying what comes from God? Of course, there ought to be some Biblical references as proof. The responsibility for verification is vested upon the listener. There is nothing wrong with taking the informant to the task when seeking to understand.

A truthful person does not avoid asking tough questions, even to those considered as respectable authorities in society. While many people are not willing to ask tough questions, many providers of false information are also not willing to take tough questions.

The willingness to confront tough questions is the only sign that separates between truthfulness and falsehood. The untruthful people can be observed by avoiding tough inquisitors. A truthful person, actually, itches for tough inquisitors, as providing an opportunity for his own understanding and verification of the position taken. A truthful person never worships his data.

Such a truthful person would always be willing to discard error, before adopting what would then be regarded as truthful. The liars are found to be those obsessed with positions of authority. They cannot tell the difference between their beingness and their possessions. They also confuse their beingness with their positions of authority, for instance.

Human beings are more important than their possessions, or positions of authority accorded to them. Truthful humans consider themselves as more important than their possessions. However, out of confusion, some people are known to value their possessions more than themselves. If owning a Mercedes Benz the person assumes that Merc to be what makes him feel dignified. He attaches the value of the Mercedes Benz to himself, thereby reducing his own dignity.

Ordinarily, many people reduce their dignity, over monetary gains. We have people who engage in corrupt activities, assuming that to be what enhances their worth. They mistake their physical bodies as representing their beingness. But that consideration, actually, makes them worse than the dead people. Therefore, harboring hatred against such people cannot be reasonable.

Such people need prayers more than any other person, for they would not be aware of the gross deterioration of their conditions. The summation of this lies in that each human being carries the responsibility of another man’s sins (1 John 3:16). Such viewpoint is premised on appreciating that sinfulness does not represent the person’s true nature.

The only man who ever lived on this planet, but fully equipped with this information was Jesus. His worshippers are lost in the façade of assuming that those living today are different from Him. The only answer to true worship lies in the knowledge that the appearance of any man is not the reality of that person’s true identity.

A General Manager with this information can be demoted to the position of a gardener. But that would not make him feel dehumanized. That manager would not associate his worth with his position of authority. He would have not measured his dignity according to his position of authority. When holding this understanding, the former General Manager continues to value himself as more important than the position of a gardener, for instance.

Just as he would not have felt inflated by being a General Manager, he would still not feel dehumanized by being demoted to a gardener. Even though some people thought Jesus was humiliated on the Cross, Jesus never lost His dignity. A dignified person remains more important than his position of employment.

The politicians who become dictators, associate their dignity with their positions of authority. However, what they would be doing would be devaluing their dignity. They would be hungering and thirsting for respect, and yet by forcing people to respect them they would be eroding every respect, remaining in their lives.

While this can be regarded as common sense, there is also the common presence of people failing to understand this simplicity. There is no position of authority that is more important than the person holding it. Human beings should regard themselves as more important than their positions of authority, so as to be willing to easily relinquish them.

I suppose, in Africa, the only person who displayed the understanding of this principle was Nelson Mandela. At a time when everyone regarded him as the champion of freedom, Mandela decided to leave power. Obviously, he considered himself as more important than being the President of South Africa. This is why, even after his death, Nelson Mandela continues to be respected, internationally.

Contrast his stance with the late former President of Zimbabwe. Here was a man who regarded the presidential position as more important than himself. Robert Mugabe could not envision himself as not being the President of Zimbabwe. To him, being the Zimbabwean President was more important than his own dignity. Despotic leaders are known for craving good publicity, paying huge sums for PR activities.

What happened to Mugabe was not a coincidence. He had to be embarrassed by those having ensured his remaining in power for thirty-seven years. He died an extremely bitter man, who could not even be buried in the Heroes acre that he so much cherished.  Mugabe thought the position of being a president was more important than himself.

We have taken time to use the name of the late former President as an example. But this datum is applicable to anyone who lives in this world. It is only those who appreciate being God’s children, continuing to regard themselves as more important than whatever possessions of authority in this life. Like Jesus, those who understand that their lives are more important than everything in this world will never be brought to shame.

Out of ignorance, many people assume that the behavior of people like the late former President Robert Mugabe carries wisdom. Obviously, such people are susceptible to eventually go through the experiences of their hero, Robert Mugabe. This includes those valuing money and other possessions to be more important than their own dignity.

The most important thing is to never feel provoked by the ill-informed behavior of such people. As mentioned earlier, they need prayers more than being scorned. They do not even know what they would be doing. A normal person cannot laugh at a blind person, walking into a dangerous situation because of poor eyesight.

The value of any person in this life is to help such blind people to recover their sight. Nothing else can be more important than that. Of course, one can lose one’s own life in trying to help such people. But, as long as appreciating being the son of the living God, one values himself as more important than those persecutors. This includes whatever possession, associated with this world. Reality is not what appears to be.

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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