The first sermon in our Second Republic shall dwell on the very human, and very self-destructive, issue of arrogance and haughtiness.
Let’s draw from a few biblical verses, starting with Proverbs 16:18, which cautions us that, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
Another instructive one is the third verse of the first chapter of Obadiah: “The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rock, in your lofty dwelling, who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to the ground?’”
In Philippians 2:3, Paul of Tarsus tells us to never do anything from “conceit, but in humility count others more significant that yourselves”.
And of course our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ dwells on similar issues, most notably in Luke 18 through the Parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, which contains object lessons for those “confident of their own righteousness” and “looked down on everyone else”.
That parable ends with the line, “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
I think we all get the drift, and I am sure many have come across these passages either when forced to do Religious and Moral Education at school, or while sitting through sermons with our preferred congregations.
All the world’s great religions are in agreement on the truism that “pride comes before a fall”; it is not a teaching unique to Christianity.
Sadly, it is not a teaching many in our midst take to heart.
I was reading a private newspaper’s take on the 2018 Presidential election and Constitutional Court outcome yesterday and my heart sank.
It was a piece headlined “Mixed reactions to ConCourt ruling”.
Of course, we all know now that the ConCourt upheld the will of the majority and ruled that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission had done no wrong in declaring President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa won the elections.
Now, this private daily paper does an article meant to reflect a cross section of Zimbabwean society’s reaction to this result. The story dwelt on the despondency of urban voters who were backing Pastor Nelson Chamisa.
They told us that civil servants and business leaders were “disappointed with the judgement”. Someone else, the paper reports, said it is “suffer continue”.
On the other hand, one line was given to happy President Mnangagwa supporters: they were described as “a few touts and sex workers” in Karoi.
Really? Seriously? Sweet Jesus save us if President Mnangagwa’s more than 2,4 million voters are touts and sex workers.
There has been a long running narrative of how “ignorant” rural folk vote for President Mnangagwa and Zanu-PF, while supposedly enlightened urbanites back the opposition.
There is an ugly haughtiness to this false narrative, a foul and obnoxious arrogance that has no room in the body of Christ.
Imagine, soon after the elections we had people like Brother Njabulo Ncube, the something or other at the Zimbabwe National Editors Forum, screaming on social media, “What’s wrong with Mat South people???”
Kutoisa ne three ma question marks mufunge.
And soon afterwards he remarks with ill-disguised self-satisfaction and a stultifying myopia: “It’s official. No Zanu PF in cities.”
My good brother in Christ, Richard Mahomva, will tell you that, “It is disingenuous to assume that rural men, women and children are an illiterate lot. In fact, that represents a colonial psyche which misguides many to believing that being an urbanite equates to intellectual sophistication.
“It is this assumption that drove the Tsvangirai-led MDC to recruit the urban working class in the late 90s. Unsurprisingly, the MDC continues to rely on the urban vote, particularly in Harare and Bulawayo.
“This is because their ideas speak to the neo-liberal character of the urbanite. As a result, social media has become the opposition’s primary source of engaging its supporters.
“But there is a lesson to be learnt from this election: social media does not vote. Even the Zanu-PF-inclined supporters — who are called ‘Varakashi’ — were not as effective as the real ‘Varakashi’, who are the rural voters. It must be considered that Zanu-PF policies has mainly been effective in the countryside.”
This sage counsel, it appears, goes unheeded by some haughty urbanites, and now look what NINE Constitutional Court justices have done to them: toppling the proud from their lofty dwellings.
There is a feast of humble pie. The good thing is that humility is low on calories and non-fattening. This humble bishop merely exhorts those dining on humble pie to say “grace” before they chew.
It would not do to end this week’s sermon without including a direct message for the subject of the private media’s urban-infused idolatry, Pastor Chamisa. The young man would do well to remember that loose lips do more than just sink ships.
His loose lips — and those of his politically inadequate hangers-on — following the July 30 elections brought unnecessary bloodshed to our nation.
Chamisa likes posturing as a pastor, so he should have no problems grasping the simple message that James, “a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” in his epistle to the “12 tribes scattered abroad”.
James 3:5 says, “So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!”
Chamisa’s little tongues sent little boys and girls into the streets of Harare on August 1, 2018 in the name of “defending” their vote.
Many wiser heads around Chamisa had told him that the election had been lost fair and square. He chose to ignore them and instead let loose his little tongue.
The result was the needless deaths of six Zimbabweans.
As our country enters new territory, as the Second Republic is birthed, we would all do well to guard our little tongues and refrain from bringing personal and national ruin to ourselves.
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