A child born into this world awakens to confront the unpredictable environment. The same applies to children of any racial background, whether born in atheism or born in religious families. In our deranged world, those born to rich white families are considered lucky, and therefore better than those born in poor black families.
None is better, or more privileged than others. It can, actually, be those born within rich families, who ought to be viewed as disadvantaged. Their children adopt an attitude of being superior, and therefore, assumed as better than those in uncomfortable circumstances. This refers to illusionary considerations, as commonly existing among poor people, wishing they were born among rich families.
The problem, associated with illusion, is that it provides false stability. When carefully analyzing this datum, one perceives the origins of corruption. That which fuels corruption is out of a desire to be perceived wealthy. This encourages viewing other people as competitors, rather than associates. There appears to be no quick solution to such drawbacks, except despair—unless when gripped with a willingness to change.
There are two personalities that God is interested in. These are categorized as heroes on one hand, and villains on the other. In-between these two groupings are corrupt people. Anyone assuming that this world is meant to be lived in abundance, where others live in discomfort is under an illusion. Hence, those born among rich families can, primarily, be viewed as disadvantaged.
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich, and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness, and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent(Revelation 3:15-19) (NIV).
God is interested in heroes and villains. Those in between are in danger of being spit out of His mouth. Unbeknown to many people is that one is at an advantage when persecuted for goodness (Matthew 5:10-12). This is why Jesus instructed His followers to love and pray for their enemies. Evil people are under slavery, as desperately in need of salvaging.
The greatest test, facing true Christians is the ability to rejoice when persecuted. The natural instinct, adopted by the lukewarm Christians, is revenge, or despair, instead of acquiring lessons from such providential persecutions. The persecutors should be regarded as people in need of salvaging from slavery condition.
It takes free people to understand such Scriptures as: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous”(Matthew 5:43-45) (NIV).
Those considering that Zimbabwe is disadvantaged, due to its current problems, are mistaken. The redeemed ones can, actually, consider the current Zimbabwean problems as a blessing in disguise. They consider such experiences as opportunities for learning and growing. What Zimbabwe is going through is not new.
The Old Testament Bible is replete with similar experiences—or even worse—including what prevails in current war-torn areas of the world. Of course, it can be discomforting to ruminate about people who were butchered during Gukurahundi. But it is a matter of either succumbing in despair or reaping lessons from such experiences and move on. Pain is advantageous when positively using it for accumulating progressive experiences in solving problems.
Any human being, whether insane or in filthy condition, was created in God’s image. God, in whose image humans were created, is not affected by the environment, as not adjusting to the environment. When appreciating having been created in God’s image, one ceases to be affected by the environment. Just as God cannot be affected by the environment. God’s nature can be observed in the magnificent physical universe.
There cannot be falsehood in that humans were created in God’s image. Therefore, God’s children are expected to be cause-point in their respective environments. God’s children cannot be affected by anything in their respective environments, because they are the cause-point.
The challenge with most people has always been the inability to confront—resulting from not being aware of having been created in God’s image. Winners are those able to confront evil, rather than those succumbing to the evil environment. The reason for succumbing is driven by the fear of pain which, precisely, causes surrendering doing whatever would be right.
In Zimbabwe, ordinary people have been willingly following the destructive policies of ZANU PF—not that they supported such policies, necessarily. They sought to be at peace with ZANU PF, without realising the consequences of their behaviour. The idea of confronting evil is foreign to those valuing physical lives.
Jesus came to show the way—designed for confronting the environment for the better. Rather than conforming to the environment, Christians ought to change the environment for the better. “Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it”(Matthew 10:38-39) (NIV).
To His disciples, Jesus said: “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 instructed His disciples to be the light of the world—taking responsibility to be the light of the world. As to be responsible for the unacceptable things in the environment. Certainly, when everyone gropes in darkness, the only people to blame are those holding the light. When in need of light, showing the way out of the trap, one cannot go further than the person holding the light.
Where are the light-bearers? What could be the reason for those people to hide the light, instead of letting it shine? A careful analysis reveals that those people do not want to be exposed to a confrontation with the powers that be. Recently, we saw what happened after the Roman Catholic Bishops took the rightful posture of confronting the ZANU PF government.
This was commendable, albeit too late, as this ought to have taken place right at the beginning before things deteriorated this far. Interestingly, there are, apparently, good Christians, obsessed in denouncing Catholicism. That is characteristic of a misrepresentation that has gripped Christianity, throughout the world.
Such befuddled Christians behave like Mwonzora’s faction—taking pleasure in persecuting fellow opposition forces, rather than confronting the common enemy. Whether realizing it or not, Mwonzora’s faction serves to delight ZANU PF, by default. This is how Christians have commonly become instruments of Satan, yet declaring themselves as God’s instruments. Technically, such Christians are recognized as Satan’s opponents, yet being Satan’s instruments by default.
There is only one idea, by which all Christians ought to be identified. They are the light of the world. It is impossible that one can project the light when effectively inhibiting the light, at the same time. Instead of embracing factionalism, Christians should embrace what is right. This is a principle that was effectively proposed by the apostle Paul, in his letter to the Philippians.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you”(Philippians 4:8-9) (NIV).
What Paul recommends in his letter, clearly removes any shade of reviewing personalities, when considering what is good and virtuous. There is no inkling, or suggestion for discerning what is unpraiseworthy, in Paul’s advice. Christians are better off when appreciating that personalities are temporary, but what is right lives forever.
At the bottom of what causes such deranged behaviour is self-centeredness—driven by a desire to avoid pain. The ambition for the power-hungry is attaining positions of authority so as to load responsibility on poor people. Leadership is viewed as offering comfort, where all burdens would then be laid on poor followers. But Jesus brought a new philosophy to His followers:
“Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’”(Matthew 20:25-28) (NIV).
Jesus was not born among privileged people. He did not spend time pursuing ideas associated with the accumulation of wealth for himself and His relatives. He declared Himself as representing the way, the life and the truth. Blessed are those who refuse to be enticed into comfort, so as to avoid issues of responsibility that bring pain. It is better to lose one’s own life when doing rightful things, rather than losing one’s life when doing the wrong things.
All problems of humanity are a matter of failure to confront challenges. There is no survival in blaming others on matters concerning one’s own survival. It is only deranged individuals who take comfort in blaming others, except themselves, on matters concerning their own survival. A normal person is able to identify all causes of problems. The idea of confronting challenges includes identifying methods by which one can be able to handle—rather than avoid such problems.
The phenomenon of schisms in Christianity stems from the inability to confront. This is brewed by a desire to avoid pain. Ironically, the author of Christianity, Himself, did not seek to avoid pain. He resolutely remained loyal to the Jewish community, until those opposed to His philosophy handed Him over for crucifixion. The easiest solution for Him to have avoided the cross could have been to dissociate with the Jews and form His own religion.
Those Jews could not have been bothered by His dissociation—treating Him as other pagan worshipers of that time. But, as far as the Jews were concerned, His crime was His association with their religion. Yet unwilling to conform to their comfortable methods of worship. They were ignorant, yet pretending to know. This is typical of those spurred by pride, rather than humility.
The prime obstacle to learning remains as being the idea that one knows—thereby avoiding to confront anything new. Modern Christians cannot handle discomfiture, associated with new understanding. It takes a person of character to confront new ideas, and adopt what is workable. Otherwise, ordinary people find comfort in traditionalism.
On the question: “Why were you born?” there is need to go to the mirror, confronting the unique person appearing on that mirror. There has never been anyone like him/her, in the entire universe. There is a special reason why that person exists. And that reason is for solving problems, rather than compounding problems. In other words, no-one was created to avoid problems, except for solving problems.
Jesus declared that with faith as little as a mustard seed, nothing would be impossible. That does not necessarily suggest being super-human when compared to others. Each person is unique, just as others are also unique in their own special circumstances. Information is available, as long as willing to confront people—rather than avoid people—due to pride and desire to avoid pain.
The way out of the labyrinth of confusion was plotted by Jesus, for each and every Christian. It is a question of identifying oneself as God’s child, just as Jesus identified Himself as God’s child. One is expected to maintain his/her own identity. Just as Jesus maintained what was delineated for Him, rather than imitating 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. 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