By Tendai Ruben Mbofana
As a devout Christian, there is one thing that I have never been able to wrap my mind around – that is, can most Christians and Church leaders in Zimbabwe honestly tell me that they can not see the barbarous evil being perpetrated by the country’s ruling elite on a largely defenceless innocent population, whose only desire is to live an oppression-free prosperous life, where every citizen is accorded their God-given dignity and respect, equitably enjoy the abundant wealth that Jehovah bestowed on this great nation and its people, as well as those entrusted with leadership being held accountable for their deeds?
As Christians, can we seriously tell the millions of Zimbabweans – obviously, the vast majority of them being Christians, as over ninety percent of the population confess to be of this faith – who have been sadistically reduced to miserable paupers, who have to survive on less than one United States dollar (USD) a day, and forced to survive on food handouts – whilst, the small elite opportunistic ruling clique live lavishly, as a result of the mass looting of national resources that God, by His abundant wealth of grace, blessed us with, so that each and every citizen may benefit – that we can not see all this, or do not care?
What do we tell those hard-working men and women (our parents and grandparents), who sacrificed their entire lives, with their sweat and tears, in an effort to develop this beautiful country into a prosperous paradise for everyone – yet, lost all their pensions, insurance policies, and life savings, which cruelly vanished into thin air, as a direct consequence of the corrupt and warped selfish government economic policies that merely sought to serve those in power, at the expense of the majority?
Who today, can not even afford a ten kilogram bag of mealie meal – let alone, a decent meal, critical medication (as they are now elderly, and prone to various ailments), and other necessities – in spite of having diligently prepared for their retirement, but have been turned into beggars by a heartless regime.
What are we to say to the countless wives, husbands, children, and parents of those gallant human rights and political activists who disappeared without a trace (and still have not been accounted for), whilst numerous ordinary citizens, investigative journalists, lawyers, labor and social justice defenders have been viciously butchered, abducted, tortured, sexually abused, beaten up, or arrested on questionable charges – merely for doing what we, as the Sons and Daughters of the Almighty Jehovah, and His representatives in this world, are expected to do…that is, holding those placed in positions of authority, on behalf of God, to account for their actions and decisions?
Are we, seriously, going to tell them that we never saw what was taking place? Or, are we going to say that we were too afraid to stand up, or speak out? Or, are we going to wash our hands, as Pontius Pilate, and claim that these abominable acts by the ruling establishment have nothing to do with us?
Nothing to do with us? Afraid of the Devil, and his workers of iniquity?
Surely, why would we even believe that? How can we even fathom such evil thoughts? Are we not ashamed?
As a beloved wise cousin of mine so aptly put it this morning – which inspired me to write this article – “Christians are more afraid of death than God”. Such, unadulterated truth, which is so painful that it immediately moved me to write, even though I had absolutely no plan of doing so today.
As Christians we need to ask ourselves these pertinent questions: Was Moses not afraid of death when he confronted the ruthless Egyptian Pharaoh, demanding him to let God’s people go? Possibly he was, as he was the same Moses who had fled his most comfortable and privileged royal life in Egypt, after killing one of its soldiers, only to end up living in exile for forty years.
Nonetheless, by the power of God Almighty, he had the courage to return and boldly face Pharaoh – no matter the possible consequences – and stood firmly by Jehovah’s grace, in consistently and relentlessly demanding the freedom of His people, even though, Pharaoh’s heart increasingly became hardened.
The same God-given courage – through the Holy Sprit – in the face of imprisonment, torture, and even death, was witnessed by various biblical prophets, and the Apostles of Christ, who neither quivered nor crumbled in standing up, and speaking out the truth of Jehovah, against some of the most powerful, merciless, and murderous men and women in world history.
Were noble and acclaimed men and women of God, such as Rev. Martin Luther King Jr, wrong in fearlessly fighting against institutionalized racial segregation and oppression in the United States – leading to his assassination?
Why, then, are we different? Did Christ not say, “He who loves his life, will lose it”, as He warned all those who would rather submit to the fear of death, instead of valiantly standing up for God’s truth, irregardless of the possible fatal and brutal consequences?
Does the Bible also not say that, it is most profitable to die for righteousness, than to die due to sin? As such, where do we find ourselves today, as Zimbabwean Christians?
Why is it that, when the government wanted to enact a law that supposedly equated extra-marital relationships with solemnized marriage, we never wasted any time in loudly voicing our condemnation? When some groups advocated for the legalization of homosexuality, we rightly resisted.
Does it, then, mean that we see absolutely nothing wrong with a ruling elite that shamelessly plunders the country’s vast wealth for itself, leaving everyone else wallowing in abject poverty? Or, that we are alright when innocent defenceless people are savagely killed by those with the might of the brutal state security apparatus?
In fact, it is so disturbing witnessing some amongst us, who are actively supporting, defending, and teaming up with, such damnable acts – and, blasphemously doing all this in the sacred name of Jesus Christ!
If that is the case, then we need to honestly pray to God, and ask Him to reveal to us the true nature of our faith – are we sincerely after His heart, or are we simply hypocrites, whose relationship with Jehovah is transactional, as we seek Him only for what we can get from Him, rather than standing up for what He represents – righteousness, love, and protection of the weak and vulnerable against agents of the Devil, whose sole objective is to kill, steal, and destroy?
For most certainly, to Jehovah God Almighty, #ZimbabweanLivesMatter
Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and speaker.