The principle of hope commands survival

All achievers have one thing in common, and that is hope. Without hope, anyone is defeated and succumbs to what is called failure. Twenty-seven years of imprisonment, without justice, is long enough, to cause an ordinary person to succumb. Only a rare breed maintains the focus under those circumstances. This is what placed Nelson Mandela among the iconic models of this world.

Helplessly watching a close relative going through a debilitating malignant cancer can be devastating. More than thirty-eight years, after losing a biological brother who died having endured cancer has not sufficiently healed my emotional pain. What makes death from cancer peculiar, when compared to other deadly diseases, is its impact on hope, affecting the sufferers.

However, credit can now be given to the medical profession, as there is now a glimmer of hope in fighting cancer. Those with hope focus on positive outcomes more than focusing on negative outcomes. People with the ability to sustain hope are commonly the long-sighted ones. They rejoice, even when going through nasty experiences in this world.

Hope is in tandem with faith. One cannot have faith without hope and it is impossible for a person without faith to have hope. Great achievers do not give up at the first attempt, as hope keeps them focused. Gigantic achievers go through several years of discouragement before finally realizing success.

Farming comprises people who are more hopeful than others. They invest in farming inputs, without considering the possibility of a drought. They are ever ready to confront the worst droughts, hoping for the best, in face of adversity. This is what sustains the farming industry. They may go through several years of successive droughts, without giving up.

Christianity is sustained by hope when taking God’s promises as authentic.  To those believing in God’s existence, hope sustains everything about their own existence. They have confidence in what they hope for. This is different from those claiming to believe, without God in the picture. Abraham is alive today, because of the hope that Abraham projected.

Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.  At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living” (Matthew 22:29-32 NIV).

Physically, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are dead, as not seen by physical humans. However, Jesus said they are alive. The condition of Abraham’s condition of living is sustained by the hope displayed by Abraham. What kept Abraham alive, as insinuated by Jesus? It was the confidence that Abraham conditioned himself to appreciate, so that his life remained, even after his death.

“By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death” (Hebrews 11:17-19 NIV).


The assurance upheld by a hopeful person cannot be taken away from him. This is why Jesus said such a person is alive, even when known to be dead. These are the people whose happiness cannot be taken away by anyone.


The confidence that sustained Abraham’s faith, up to his death, was his hope of God’s promises to him. A Christian believer, who does not doubt, like Abraham, would have received what God promised. That person cannot be shaken by anything, as exuding confidence, without any shadow of a doubt.

So in Christ Jesus, you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:26-29 NIV).

Those believing everything that Jesus said, banking on Jesus’ promises, have no reason to doubt God. Hence, they are said to be God’s children. A person is not God’s child, as long as doubting that he/she is God’s child. Those believing in God, are alive, although known to be dead.

This is what Jesus implied by saying God is not the God of the dead but of the living (Matthew 22:32). There is no confidence in surpassing the assurance derived from Jesus. Everything said by Jesus is as certain as hoping for the rising sun tomorrow.

Generally, everyone knows that the sun will rise from the east. The stipulated certainty grants a foregone conclusion. One goes to bed without doubting that the sun would rise from the east. The person may be doubtful about him being alive the following day. But that does not take away his/her certainty that the sun would rise from the east.

This is why hope can be likened to life itself. When assured of the resurrection, how can a person be caught up scared of dying? The answer lies in not being sure of what Jesus said. That person would, therefore, not be God’s child. One may declare being Christian, but as long as still scared of death, that person would not be God’s child.

Hope is displayed even at the time of birth. After birth, a small baby can suck anything that resembles its mum’s breast. The baby hopes for being fed, even though having no clue where food would come from. The baby-cry is an instinctive invitation for help, driven by hope.

Without hope, there is no life. The unfortunate thing is that as the baby grows up, it would be fed with the wrong information. The child is led to believe falsified information from adults. It derives satisfaction in that introversion appeals, as necessary for survival. The perished civilizations are those that maintained self-centeredness, rather than altruism.

Hope for survival is sustained in altruism, coupled with the knowledge of being God’s child. The starting point is appreciating that God’s greatest characteristic is love. Where there is love, there is God. This drives us to appreciate what love is and what love is not.

Affinity can be mistaken for love when it is the opposite of love. Affinity is described in common agreements. In other words, I get along well with those supporting the same fool-ball team that I support. There would be no love in that condition, but there would be affinity. This is just as criminals can have an affinity with those engaged in similar activities.

Prostitutes can be in affinity with one another. But that does not mean that there would be love among them. In the event that one decides to break ranks, with those hooked up in prostitution, for whatever reason, the affinity is also broken.

Marital engagement can be another example of affinity. The reason why courts are filled with divorce cases is that such marital unions are sustained by affinity, rather than love. Affinity is often mistaken for love; hence there would be accusations against one another.

In short, while love carries hope, affinity carries no hope, as can be violated willy-nilly. Affinity is sustained by a contractual agreement, which flounders at the point of being infringed by another party. Hence divorce cases are rampant. There would be no love in such marital arrangements.

Where love exists, divorce would be out of the question, as love is sustained by hope. Another spouse may violate the marital vow. But as long as the other spouse maintains love, that marriage cannot be broken. This is why Peter said that love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).

Jesus cast a factual description of marriage, in the context of unconditional love. Although, due to deception in Christianity, divorces are also rampant among those identified as Christian believers. This is due to some misinterpretation of what Jesus said, answering the Pharisees’ question.

Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Matthew 19:3-6 NIV).

Jesus was quoting from a Scripture in Genesis 2:24. This was before Adam had sinned. Originally, marriage implied that it is impossible to separate a married couple, as sustained by love. However, in our sinful condition, love is sustained by hope, making it impossible to divorce one’s spouse, for any reason. They could not be satisfied by the answer, considering humanity’s sinful condition.

“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery” (Matthew 19:7-9 NIV).

Further to humanity’s hardness of hearts, what Jesus said has been twisted. “Except for marital unfaithfulness,” is a wrong interpretation. The Authorized New King James version states, “Except for reason of fornication.” The two sexual practices should be viewed as different.

Fornication implies a sexual relationship between unmarried people. It is different from adultery or marital unfaithfulness. A person, who consensually sleeps with a spouse for the first time, becomes a bonafide husband/wife. God recognizes that engagement as justifying authenticity.

For instance, one may engage in marriage with one having not disclosed previous sexual relationships. The one doing so would be committing adultery. Failure to disclose one’s previous fornication makes it impossible to mary a new partner, without addressing the previous sexual relationship. When engaging in marriage after discovering such fornication, one would be committing adultery.

A properly solemnized marriage cannot be violated by divorce. God’s children understand the aspect of forgiving as many times as can be necessary. Hope serves to activate the love that compels partners to bear with one another’s weaknesses, including adultery.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV). 

In God, there is no room for falsehood. But there is room for forgiveness, in the event of the other partner being morally loose. The first time the virginity of a woman is broken, that would seal the marital relationship of those involved. God solemnizes marital union in the first sexual encounter between a man and woman, committing fornication.

A man/woman who tolerates an adulterous man/woman, on the condition that he/she repents from such behaviour would be applying the principle of love. That kind of love is different from affinity in that it is sustained in hope. This is, of course, not how marriage is commonly interpreted among the traditional so-called white weddings, displayed in Christian Churches.

“Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, and I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now, we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:8-13).

It is impossible for any person to talk about love without faith, just as it would be impossible for one without hope to exercise love. Affinity should not be mistaken for love, in Christian Churches, if infidelity is to be eliminated. The principle of love is achievable where there would be hope.

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. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope, in a simple conversational tone.

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