Making a difference in an apathetic environment

The reason why things can be so bad, in any environment, is because some people caused it to be bad. Or just that someone did not do anything about the bad condition. This springs from one of the natural laws of survival. Human beings were created to have dominion over everything that God created (Genesis 1:26-27). When a person declares: “There is nothing I can do about it,” he/she reveals being in an apathetic condition.

When in apathy, the person would have ceased to perceive value in life. To such a person, living or not living makes no difference. This answers the question of causes of suicides, which are indicative of extreme levels of the condition of apathy. In a country, as degraded as Zimbabwe, the majority of people are fixated in apathy. This explains why we have the majority of people still closely connected with ZANU PF, whose leaders have reduced the country to rubbles. 

The people in apathy cannot imagine that there is an alternative to live without ZANU PF, and going to hell with it. To them, nothing can be done to change things because party leaders tell them that ordinary people are not as valuable as those in leadership. Such leaders are corrupt, having led the country into a pitiable condition. But the ordinary people are as helpless as unable to consider alternative remedies.

When close to the heat of the burning fire, a person in apathy would slowly burn to death, unable to move away from the heat of the fire. That person holds no other reason, except apathy. The simplicity of drawing away from the burning fire appears as too complicated for a person in apathy. The saddest thing is that the person in apathy would ferociously fight to defend his condition of apathy. This is one of the things that make life on earth hell.

In Zimbabwe, those advocating for better conditions are labeled as sellouts. In times past I had thought that such behavior came from the uneducated. This holds true, in some ways, but not necessarily true all the time. One of the most brilliant writers of our time, George Charamba, is probably the chief strategist in ZANU PF. How could such a fine writer like him expend his energy to sustain a party with a forty-year history of having reduced Zimbabwe to rubbles?

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Such a behavior has served to disabuse me of the notion that apathy is mostly found among the uneducated of society. The highly educated people are among those with the potential to immensely benefit the country. But we also have highly educated fools with the potential to lead the country to oblivion. This is what prevails in Zimbabwe. Educated people in apathy can drag as many into a condition of apathy, as can be imagined.

When observing that the majority appear as resolved in ferociously supporting ZANU PF, one gets discouraged. How can one help those people realize that deliverance from apathy lies in themselves? Using force worsens their apathetic condition. Those who come up with solutions are labeled as sellouts. And indeed they would be selling out when seeking to take those people out of their comfortable condition of apathy. One is tempted to throw up hands in despair.

But such despair confirms the reality that such an individual would have also surrendered into a condition of apathy. It takes a highly courageous person to confront a bad condition until it turns outright. I like the adage, “Don’t stop when you’re tired. Stop when you’re done.” One may be the only one in the condition of freedom from aberration. The advice is to avoid underestimating the energy of keeping on moving, for things to eventually become better. The only way things can worsen is when one stops opposing what would be bad.

Where are our highly educated people with the potential to benefit a country in apathy? Not all of those educated people may be blatantly apathetic—though retiring in despair, due to comfort. The country’s problems appear as insurmountable. It is the state of comfort that has reduced the educated people to also become chronically subdued into the condition of apathy.

This leaves us with another datum, assuming that comfort can be detrimental to human survival. Our highly educated people get stuck into the comfort zones, as to be unable to confront what reduces the country into wholesale apathy. Staying in comfortable areas like Borrowdale Brooke, tranquilizes most educated people, to fail to see the worsening conditions in our society.

They would be clear in that ZANU PF, with its demonic policies, has reduced the country into what is shamefully incomparable to anything decent. They swear by the fact that they cannot do anything about it, as not involved in politics. All this is rationalized in the explanation that there is nothing anyone can do about what has been deliberately caused by the powers that be.

This kind of thinking includes the apparent good Christians, assuming that it is God’s will for people to suffer. Such Christians find convenience in quoting Scriptures that seem to agree with their weird thinking. Nevertheless, the Bible is clear in that God is a God of justice and mercy—not subscribing to punishing the innocent. God has never desired to see innocent people deliberately reduced to suffering. His will can only be enforced by the truly dedicated Christians.

When people choose to do nothing in face of evil, they subscribe to what is evil. Such people become part of the existent evil system. This is why it is impossible for cowards to have room in God’s Kingdom (Revelation 21:8). Jesus advised against fearing those killing the flesh, instead of fearing Him who kills both the spirit and the flesh (Matthew 10:28). The condition of slumber in apathy is the worst that a nation can be entangled in. But it takes a few courageous individuals to make a difference.

Doing the right thing has never been ordained to be as easy as walking in the park. One could be killed for doing the right thing. Christ, Himself, was killed for doing the right thing. The late former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela was incarcerated in prison for twenty-seven years, for doing the right thing. The people of South Africa may be still in shackles of apathy, but Nelson Mandela crafted a legacy that made him a champion of peace.

There is no difference between Nelson Mandela and any other person choosing to oppose what is evil, when doing what is right. While fear causes many people to shrink. Fear, itself, bears no substance. The cause of fear affects only the body that goes to the grave, after death. The state of fear cannot affect the spirit that remains after death. Having been created in God’s image, as a spirit being, a human being is not affected by fear.

Understandably, evil rulers use the army and the police to protect themselves from the populace. This makes it another seemingly good reason for the potentially courageous ones to capitulate. But what constitutes a nation, are rulers who, themselves, are related to all of us, one way or the other. Having become caught up in apathy, most people consider it more dangerous to stand up for what is right. Those feared rulers in government, also have relatives that go through difficulties, like everyone else. With effective communication, such rulers could be accessed, easily.

Anything that is reasonable appeals to reasonable people. There are more reasonable people out there than the unreasonable ones in our society. Two people could gain momentum when doing the right thing, where more and more people would eventually join the cause. The combative arms of the state have got the limit, as they cannot access that which is spiritual.

It takes the courageous people to forgo their own interests to make a difference in the sinful environment. Joining the like-minded groups could be commendable as long as remaining focused on doing the right thing. The problem with groups is that one might not have his own freedom to exercise own conscience, without restraints. The most important thing is to independently seek to do the right thing for delivering others from the jaws of suppression.

Standing up for the right thing in a hopeless environment is the only purpose for having been accorded the chance to live on this planet. The problem that appears as affecting most people is remaining within the slavery of religion—long discarded by Jesus Christ (John 4:23-24). True worship is well-document in the prelude of the parable of the Good Samaritan, as was clearly enunciated by Jesus:

“On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ ‘What is written in the Law?’ he replied. ‘How do you read it?’ He answered ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’, and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ‘You have answered correctly,’ Jesus replied. ‘Do this and you will live.’ But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’” (Luke 10:25-29) (NIV).

To answer the Law expert, Jesus had to give the parable of the Good Samaritan. That parable shows a Good Samaritan who made a difference, where other people had failed. Even the two prominent religious leaders failed to help a man in desperate need of assistance. Indeed, there appears to have been a serious risk in helping a person in that condition. How could one be sure that the robbers were not hidden somewhere in the proximity?

What about the trouble involved and the time one would need—helping the person in such a condition? The aspect of financing would also be another factor to justify the inability to help. Bear in mind that it can only be the person in apathy who laments over financial limitations. Jesus showed the Law expert what matters most when desiring to be included in God’s Kingdom. Interestingly, admittance into God’s kingdom is regarded as being the aim of every Christian.

Jesus ended His conversation with that Lawyer by clearly projecting the fulfillment of the Law, as requiring making a difference in a hopeless environment: “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’ Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise’” (Luke 10:36-37) (NIV).

All this displays exactly what true Christianity implies. Those shrinking in apathy, instead of confronting conditions requiring action and making a difference are not Christians. Such people can proudly boast about making all-night prayers, expecting God to intervene in situations that require sacrifice. But it is doing something about it, rather than throwing hands up in despair. This is why, to the Samaritan woman, Jesus talked about the revolutionary transformation that had overtaken worship, after His arrival.    

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is Spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24) (NIV).

The story of the Good Samaritan, perfectly reveals what worshiping in spirit and in truth, entails. Jesus never provided any other method of worship, throughout the Scriptures. Christians were clearly instructed to make a difference in this hopeless world. It is amazing that such clear instruction as enunciated by Jesus is ignored, where it is religious leaders who are worshiped, instead.

“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 by men. You are the light of the world. A city 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. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16) (NIV).

Making a difference in this hopeless environment is risky. But it is the only behavior that continues to provide some hope into this sinful world. Prayer is good. But the significance of prayer is associated with drawing closer to God rather than a person seemingly instructing God to draw closer to one.

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 for $13.99

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