It’s a unique period. Most of us are preoccupied with the elections and the tragedies that have preceded it. Obviously, they don’t bode well for next week. The confidence each side has that it will win is unsettling. They each have cards. Even talk that ‘there _must_ be peace’, is worrisome.
Sadly, some Christian brethren are part of the problem. Some write inflammatory posts against one side of the divide. Sadly, our last names betray us. It is a sobering experience to ask if your support for a certain party and your being of a corresponding tribe is simply coincidental. Sin is very subtle. Very.
Politicians have us in their hands, and they have held us by our last names. Some, in an attempt to either deal with the tribalism in their own hearts, or prove they are not tribal, write angry rants against the politicians affiliated to their tribes. Yes, you’ve proven how impartial you are by attacking ‘your’ man, now what? haven’t you just fuelled the flames in the hearts of those who agree with you?
“Just pray for them” is a very insincere way to shut down someone crying out against a perceived wrong. Does it mean they haven’t prayed? And having prayed, can they cry out? It’s unkind to not empathize with anyone, whichever side they’re on. But then for those who cry out, why cry out on social media? It’s an avenue of expression, yes, but it’s also an avenue by which ideas are spread. Unbelievers are reading your posts. “Walk in wisdom towards outsiders … Let your speech always be seasoned with salt …” The reputation of the Lord who bought you is carried with your post before the watching world. The reading world.
Some, on the other hand, think to completely ignore the question and post happy posts is the better way. You might not be ‘political’. But surely, the mere possibility that many people could die ought to worry you. You are a Christian. You are not apathetic towards evil. You’re not apathetic towards incitement, or brutality, or murder. You, like your Lord, hate justice perverted, impartiality shown to the poor, favouritism to the great, and your neighbour judged unfairly (Lev. 19:15). That is a Christian spirit. I’ve been shocked by my own heart, how easy it is to excuse or judge lightly the wrongs done by the people I sympathise with. And how unspeakably heinous and inexcusable the crimes of the other side look. There are many unrighteous responses to legitimate wrongs.
How should we, as Christians, conduct ourselves in the few days leading to the elections and after?
1. Watch your tongue, and your ‘Post’ button
Words can either kill or give life (Prov. 18:21). Our blind attacks or defences of the government and of political leaders hurt people. There are people on either side with very legitimate hurts. People, our Christian brothers included, are very sensitive right now. And that means we can hurt them deeply with our words. Love your Luo, Luhya, Kikuyu, Kalenjin, Kamba brother. By all means post on Facebook, but post with Christian responsibility. Lament evil. Celebrate good. But be genuine before the Lord in your actions. (Rom. 12:9). Think before you speak. Care before you ‘share’ (even in face to face conversations). Ponder before you post.
2. Remember that Christ has redefined you tribal affiliation
What is the first or primary way you self-identify? As per your ethnic origin? No, it needs to be as the Christian you are. Here there is no Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Yes, we still remain Jews and Greeks and Kikuyus and Tesos. We are not tribeless. But that is no longer the defining thing about us. Those are differences which bow the knee to the unity we have in Christ. I don’t think it is necessarily wrong to feel a kindredness and affiliation with your own kind. But when you fail to do/think/feel what is good and right and true (Eph. 5:9) because of this affiliation, then you sin. Then I sin. Then I make Christian unity to bow the knee to tribal difference. What a denigration of our Saviour’s worth!
3. Be an Elijah
Elijah was a man with a nature like ours and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Pray fervently that it might not rain the things we don’t want to rain.
4. Be hopeful
It is hard to be of a Jubilee-affiliated tribe living in a Nasa-affiliated zone at such a time. The reverse is just as true. No reassurances from your friends, no word from the President, however firmly put puts peace in some hearts. But there’s a word from Jesus, your Prophet and Priest, that must communicate peace to you. Not a hair of your head can perish unless the Lord allows it. Trust in Him. Even if we go to shagz, it is He who keeps us alive there! It is OK to get affirmations from your landlord, have police friends on call, go somewhere you deem safe, and all that. But if your promise of safety is in these things, then it is misplaced.
“Jehovah is himself thy keeper true, thy changeless shade.” Even if you should die, it will have been God’s kind, wise will, and death holds a promise to us as believers -being with Jesus.
5. Love justice
I’ve failed the most here. I care for the safety of my wife and daughter more than who wins what, and whether they win fairly or not. But a friend helped me see that this is not right. Real peace will be if justice and fairness prevails. Some of the people going to their rural homes are fleeing in fear, and this soon turns into bitterness against the people they’re fleeing from, and in a few more years, where will we be? Such peace only means ‘an absence of war in 2017’. Let’s pray for justice, and let’s vote justly. But with managed expectations. We know that our hope for excellent governance is in the Excellent One, who will soon reign over us in the New Heavens and Earth.
Now, to close.
What if there were an Abraham somewhere, contending with God about destroying Kenya. God asks this friend of His why He should spare us. Would this Abraham have a number of godly men and women, even ten, on whose account the country should be spared? Do you want to be that man or woman? Please resolve to, today.
— Kajuma Vincent.
Image credit: africanadviser.com