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The church has sinned

By Levee Kadenge

THE people of Israel were liberated from Egyptian bondage by God who used Moses. God had always wanted to rule over his people and he did it so well thr

ough the judges and prophets.

It was when the Israelites demanded from God that they wanted a king like other nations that Saul was chosen. Saul ended up being a disastrous leader because he misbehaved and God removed His protection from him.

God replaced Saul with His own choice who was David. Had the people been asked to vote they could not have voted for him judging even from the expectation of Jesse his father who was expecting that God would choose from the other sons he had paraded before the man of God.

David was called from the sheep at the insistence of Samuel to come to be a king. David, described as a man after God’s heart, feared God.

When he sinned by taking Uriah’s wife he did not argue with the man of God, Nathan, (II Samuel 12) who told him what he had done. David admitted his sin and repented there and then because he feared God. God forgave him and he continued to rule well.

The world today is full of leaders who do not fear God. They sin and have no time to repent so that they continue to lead well.

Their business is to protect themselves even from the people they lead. They commit heinous crimes and to keep themselves safe they hire men and women highly trained to protect them.

Whenever I listen to the sirens that often herald the arrival of an African leader, I hear in the background a silent voice saying “here comes a dangerous man, take heed”! The intimidating noises they make are a constant reminder of their brutality across the continent.

In 1980 Zimbabwe got its Independence from Britain through a war of liberation that took almost 16 years. The reconciliation that President Robert Mugabe extended to those he was fighting was superficial because there was no groundwork to it.

What lacked was counselling both to the forgiver and the forgiven. On hindsight that was a cheap way of pleasing the espoused enemies. The result was that it did not last.

The people to blame are the church. The church was there when this kind of reconciliation was declared and we did not advise the president, then prime minister, as to what proper reconciliation entails.

We watched him backtracking and culminating in the deterioration as climaxed by the act of Operation Murambatsvina last year in which structures and houses and shelters were wantonly destroyed. This had been preceded by a land grab exercise that has destroyed agriculture in Zimbabwe.

We are not instructed to follow governments which disobey God neither should we respect leaders who fight their own people. The biblical text used by many to submit to authorities is often misinterpreted.

God is talking about good governments that have their people at heart (Romans 13). Verses one and two of the same chapter talk of submission but three to seven describe a type of government to submit to. A government should care for its subjects.

In Zimbabwe, if you belong to the opposition you automatically become an enemy. Recently the president asked people why they continued to vote for the opposition. On his campaign trail in Budiriro where he was asking for people to vote for his party he told people that the opposition did not offer them anything.

A friend suggested that the people were going to vote for the opposition because at least its leader Morgan Tsvangirai would not dare destroy their homes. Indeed the opposition won the election.

What we need to ask ourselves as the church is why have we allowed the head of state to continue to use very intimidating language when he addresses political rallies or even at state-sponsored funerals? Language like “pasi na” meaning down with so and so.

Several young boys and girls have been trained at Border Gezi centres where they have been taught to use such language. Hate speech has become the order of the day from most of our officials. They use this bad intimidating language with impunity. The more notorious one is the elevation that comes to that person.

The Herald for instance is full of hate language. There are propagandist columns by Caesar Zvayi during the week and those by Nathaniel Manheru on Saturdays. To crown it all Tafataona Mahoso, the MIC chairman, also churns out his vitriol on Sundays in the Sunday Mail.

The church should tell the president to stop forthwith using this bad language before God judges him. We have become a nation of people who have been taught to hate others. The language on all radio stations is military. Everything bad that happens in this country is blamed on the opposition, Blair, Bush and the West.

The other thing that the church should blame itself for is the wanton takeover of farms from the farming community. Our culture forbids a person from either destroying someone’s home or taking it over without his permission.

We have committed crimes of appropriation. To make matters worse one would wait for the farmer to have his crops almost ready and then pounce on the farm with an offer letter. We have sinned by taking property from the farming community of this nation.

The church was there watching and what did we say to the president who encouraged the grabbing? Many families have suffered and some disintegrated while a few are supposedly happy enjoying the labour and sweat of other people.

Operation Murambatsvina has come as the most brutal act this government has done to its people. Popularly known as “operation refusing dirt or rejecting people”, no one would have thought that elected leaders of a people would lash out at their people like that. To make matters worse this was done during winter.

The church was also absent by its silence. Surely we have sinned by not reprimanding the government. There is no justification whatsoever to loot other people’s properties. No amount of past wrongs would justify such brutality that we witnessed.

Since we continue to see emptiness in the ideas that are being thrown around, the church should advise the president to do the honourable thing and pave the way for a new administration.

Now we are being ruled by operations. The recent disastrous Operation Maguta is a case in point where soldiers have been commandeered to involve themselves in agricultural activities that are foreign to them.

Because they have failed there are people who have been placed in communities who are called maguta and they monitor the activities of farmers. All grain has to come to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and they tell you what to remain with according to the size of your family. This is bringing discomfort in communities because people are being asked to spy on each other.

The Agriculture Minister has given us a figure which he should vindicate hence the magutas being placed in rural communities to monitor grain movement to the GMB. There is no freedom in all this.

One would ask: where is the church, the voice of God? Prophets should arise in Zimbabwe and tell the authorities the truth. There is no peace in the land. People are afraid even to talk. How shall this all end?

This is the time the church has to “arise and shine; for her light has come” (Isaiah 60 vs 1). Darkness is all over and the church is commanded to show light.

The scriptures are very clear that the church should arise and warn the rulers of this world, as Esther testifies: “For if you keep silent at such time as this, relief and deliverance will rise . . . from another quarter, but you and your family will perish.” (Esther 4 vs 14.) Then Esther called everyone to fast for the deliverance of the people.

This is the time for the church to take action or we become irrelevant. It is we as the church to blame and not God.

Bishop Dr Levee Kadenge is the Christian Alliance convenor.

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