In a time where there are heightened levels of emotion around injustice in our continent, I’m finding that people are pulling more and more away from each other.
Recognising difference is important. But the only way that we can truly construct a better future is if we work together.
So in a time when there is a distinct emphasis on the difference of people, I think it would be great to take some time and just focus on what we have in common. If we keep these elements in mind and hold them as non-negotiables during this time, I believe there is no limit to the change we can accomplish in this glorious, beautiful land called Africa.
All of us have a story
When you look at someone who different to you, do you see them or their situation? As much as they may have better opportunities or more of a conviction about change, are you willing to hear their story? Are you willing to be open to how they have to deal with life. Are you willing to take the time to understand them? There is a cliched statement that ‘you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time’. As much as you can rage against a general group of people, the only way unity can be accomplished is by focussing on the individual. It may seem like more effort. It may require you to question things about yourself in the process. But it is vital to use this as a foundation for sustainable progress. Many of the injustices we are facing as a people have resulted from a lack of willingness to understand.
All of us want a better future
Unity commands a blessing – and everyone wants their nation to be blessed. No matter what may be dominating your thought life right now – fear, anger, shock or confusion – I know that deep down, you are looking for a better life for you and your children. I am not writing about the “ideals” that other first-world states promote. I am referring to the inherent desire for improvement, both personally and corporately. Our definition of a “better future” may need some adjustment, but everyone has that desire.
All of us are flawed and need forgiveness
When emotions run high, it is hard not to react instead of respond. Africa’s history is an amalgamation of injustice, misunderstanding and horrendous error. Her wounds are deep and, generation after generation, they seem to reopen and bleed out even more. Geographically, we are the centre of the world. In terms of natural resources, we are known as the Breadbasket of the World. In terms of culture, we are the trial-ground for a new kind of society – which the world is watching very closely. In every aspect, I believe Africa has all the potential to rise. So what is holding us back? Or more importantly, what can help us get there? I believe forgiveness is going to be the answer every time. Forgiveness is probably the hardest thing you can choose to do. From the beginning of time, we have seen how people have opted to fight before forgiving. In fact, there has never been a true example of forgiveness before Jesus came to earth.
All of us need God
God knows your story – all of it: the good, the bad, your wrongs and how you have wronged others. Unity is God’s idea. Forgiveness is also God’s idea. Man left to his (or her) own devices would never choose either. If I look at my own life – my family, my social context, the key moments of joy and pain – but keep God and eternity out of the picture, I would definitely want to stick with people and situations I know and work hard to protect my own way of life. I would also want vengeance and revenge if anyone else attacked my immediate prosperity or wellbeing. Without God, that is all I have – what I see everyday and who I care about.
But with God, I have a promise of a better future and an eternal life. When things are tough, I can be sure that I am going to come out stronger. When things are unfair, I can rely on a God who is the only true Judge. When I don’t know what to do, He hears my cry and can give me wisdom. Without God, we are all hopeless opponents. And I believe that without God, in the long run no one will win. When the focus turns to Jesus, who has already beaten sin, death, injustice and chaos, then everyone wins.
Biblically, there are multiple examples of how the nation of Israel without God fell into disarray. Famine, drought, exile, war, oppression, and slavery all came as a result of not honouring God. But the moment the people turned to Him, he provided a way out and saved them. As much as that was a nation, God did the same for each of us individually. If you want to know God and his plans for you to thrive; if you are desperate for change in your personal life, both internally and externally – click on the link below.