The eradication of division in Zimbabwe

The principle of division can be deadly. But unity should not always be interpreted as referring, only to what is positive. Criminals also use the principle of unity to successfully execute their criminal activities. The State President’s call for unity may not necessarily deserve to be considered as acceptable.

The President may call for unity to invade another country, leading to the country’s doldrums. Being united in such a blatantly wrong behaviour cannot be right. For survival purposes, unity is essential. Civilized humanity is united only on matters that advance good standards and survival conditions.

Jesus was regarded as unacceptable to the Jews, who assumed that He violated the unity principles. The Jews expected Him to embrace Jewish traditions. But that would not have solved the problems of humanity. Calling for unity, without considering the end result, implies confusion.

In early 1980, the late former President, Robert Mugabe, addressed rallies calling for unity, to eliminate ZAPU. That was a popular call, whose bad effects can only be understood now—as used to sanitize Gukurahundi. This was the time when corruption entered the entire spectrum of governance.

When unity is promoted for the wrong reasons, evil thrives. Yet when unity is called for promoting survival, righteousness thrives. This requires understanding, based on survival considerations. Denominational Churches are established on unity principles. Thousands of different denominations profess to be followers of Jesus but misunderstand the principle of unity.

Splinter groupings are united in their respective enclaves but represent disunity. Christianity portrays division, in general, through denominations. The problem of disunity manifested, even during Paul’s time. The Corinthians assumed being united according to personalities, rather than according to Jesus.

“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you.  What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.”

“Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized in my name. (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power” (1 Corinthians 3:10-17 NIV).

The above Scripture does not show whether the Corinthians accepted Paul’s viewpoint or not. They were grounded on the unity principle, based on personalities. Paul disagreed with his followers who considered him to be better than other leaders. He was grieved by the Corinthians, who were foolishly embracing unity according to personalities.

The cause of disunity stems from Christianity’s failure to apply Christ’s principles. Christian denominations are known to denounce one another. They assume that their respective viewpoints are correct when compared to those of other denominations.

This reveals self-defence, when comparing other groups, against one’s own viewpoint. Such characters hate criticism but feel comfortable when criticizing others. They deliberately violate Jesus’ instruction to do unto others, as wishing others to do to one. (Matthew 7:12).

Christians carry the mandate of being the light of the world. The existence of disunity in our country reflects the disunity in Christianity. Absolving Christianity from political disunity portrays ignorance. Christians are authors of what prevails in the environment.

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house” (Matthew 5:13-15 NIV).

Jesus is the only personality who died for humanity to receive salvation. None of the revered personalities, causing division, died for humanity. Therefore, the most pertinent question ought to be centred on what to do with those not subscribing to what one stands for.

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:21-24 NIV).

Peter’s viewpoint of unity had been based on the idea of always standing up to protect a comrade. This is what this world describes as unity. Jesus described that behaviour as Satanic, showing the human behaviour, that has caused perennial problems. The above Scripture guides us towards the principle of unity.

Jesus castigated Peter for advocating for disunity. Peter’s idea of unity cannot be exchanged for anything. It is essential to examine the significance of Jesus’ principle, from the above Scripture. The first lesson is that unity, representing the light, cannot be enforced.

Where there is darkness, there would be confusion, as manifested in disunity. Each person assumes being right, in his own way, whereas the rest would be adjudged as wrong. Therefore, confusion can be described as being a result of the absence of light.

As soon as the light is brought where confusion exists, resulting from darkness, people are guided to see goodness. Misunderstanding is caused by a section of wicked people, gropping in ignorance. Wicked people desire survival, like everyone else, but are unable to find it.

Those assumed to be wicked, appear to be in that condition due to confusion. Out of confusion, they regard themselves as right. The starting point is to understand those people. That does not mean agreeing with them, but understanding their point of view.

Therefore, the second lesson in addressing disunity is listening. The problems of humanity are a result of the scarcity of listeners. Even the insane, locked up in sanitariums, need to be listened to. Professional listening requires a willingness to understand those desiring to be listened to. Jesus was the first human, ever, to demonstrate that quality.

Human beings go through different challenges and face obstacles, differently. This attracts being misunderstood by those having not gone through similar experiences. For instance, the liberation war stories sound unbelievable to those having not gone through such experiences.

When carefully listening to those former combatants, narrating such bad experiences, their reasoning capacity gets restored. The most important data, lacking to most people, is being created in God’s image. The bad experiences, in life, make one behave unacceptably, toward other humans.

Without listeners, the person then fumbles with what he assumes to know. All problems of humanity stem from assumptions, coming from between right and wrong. This is like mixing the positive and negative wires that cause an electric spark.

The cause of division is a product of delusional viewpoints. Those engaged in eradicating division avoid taking sides. They can be killed, when wrongly viewed as taking sides. Those capable of engaging in such activities are God’s Children, equipped with peacemaking abilities.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God (Matt 5:9).

The ability to listen is a rare quality that can never be understood by ordinary people, whose mindset agrees with Peter’s behaviour. Peter was as innocent as displaying what humanity agrees with. Peter’s utterance invited Jesus’ rebuke; having incorporated Peter as one of His disciples.

The work of a peacemaker is as dangerous as it is precarious. One faction can mistake you for taking sides with the opposing faction. Only Jesus’ true followers can walk the walk, as delineated by Jesus. That path is not designed for cowards. Jesus advised counting the costs, before engagement.

“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples” (Luke 14:31-33 NIV).

The fact that we have millions of people, subscribing to Christianity, does not suggest fulfilling the above consideration. If that number represented true followers of Jesus Christ, we would not have divisions in this world. There would be no war or anything viewed as exhibiting insanity, causing this world to be as inhabitable as it is today.

The fundamental truth about unity is that it is fallacious, as long as some sections of humanity are excluded. The Western Democracies are viewed as united under NATO. But that conglomerate organism is a portrayal of division in the world order. The aims of the United Nations could be considered as focusing on achieving the desired goal of unity.

However, since the formation of the United Nations, the world has never achieved the desired peace. It is necessary to scrutinize the causes of failure, to achieve unity across the world. Why is there a human failure to attain peace? The answer is in the inability to apply principles advocated by Jesus.

“Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. 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?” (1 John 3:15-17 NIV).

There is no reason to assume that Jesus brought some peculiar ways, of achieving unity. All problems of humanity can be eradicated by one’s ability to avoid considering himself as different from other people. The above Scripture advocates considering other people’s welfare—treating others as if not different from one.

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12 NIV).

The above Scripture sums up the Law and the Prophets. In other words, what Jesus is saying is that the significance of loving another person as oneself fulfils the cause of religion. The Law and the Prophets comprised the entire Old Testament Bible. Jesus’ activities were the fulfilment of the significance or the reason why those Scriptures existed.

Nothing else fulfils the dream of eradicating division, not only in Zimbabwe but worldwide. The author of this principle entrusted it to those who would commit themselves to be His genuine followers. Those people are different from those calling themselves “Christians.”

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:17-20).

The division exists between God and Satan. One is either on Satan’s side, when in disagreement with a brother, or on the Lord’s side when tolerating a brother’s stupidity. A brother can be helped out of his problems when listened to; so that he can then be able to appreciate his misdeeds.

This requires empathy and the ability to experience anything, even if this points at one’s death. The resurrection of Jesus should be sufficient in enabling the true followers of Jesus to appreciate this reality. It becomes unnecessary to avoid doing what is right, due to fear of physical death.

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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