This week was a travesty for the fight internationally against corruption and crimes against humanity. And it was perpetrated by Jacob Zuma and his cronies. A man known to be responsible for genocide, ethnic cleansing and torture to name but three of the charges the ICC has laid against Omar al Bashir, president of Sudan.
As Christians we need to weep not just for the victims of al Bashir, but the blood now on the collective hands of South Africa by its president's actions.
This is not the South Africa that Mandela gave up his freedom for. He fought for equality and dignity for all members of a society that needed to heal. For peace.
Zuma and his allies have decided to take a stand against the "imperialistic" attitude of the Western world towards Africa. And apparently human rights have no part in what Africa should be.
Imagine a world where that message was the message of it's saviour.
The message that the rich and powerful can commit heinous acts of torture and murder if it serves their own personal agenda. Zuma, I have read, is in a position of authority in his local church. What kind of a church is it that fails to hold this man accountable for the crimes he commits against God?
And there's the big link.
Joseph was betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused and imprisoned. Yet he was never once rebuked by God for his own actions. His faithfulness led him to go from imprisoned slave to the second most powerful man in Egypt. Imagine a man being freed from death row to be inaugurated as Vice President of the United States in a day. That would be the modern equivalent - if the man on death row were also not an American.
To the outside world things may appear to have changed in South Africa, but what has happened it the opposite. The country exchanged a minority rule by rich, nepotistic, greedy people who appointed their friends and cronies to positions of power and influence and robbed the majority of the country blind for decades who were of white European ancestry. What the country now has is a minority who are rich, self-entitled, greedy people appointing their friends and cronies into positions of power and influence and rob the majority of people in the country blind, but now it's ok because they are of black African descent. Not only that, they are of the right Black African descent.
The tragedy is that the increasingly invisible majority have their human right to dignity stripped from them. They are herded still into "informal settlements" outside major cities. The largest near me is Khayalitsha. In the last ten years it has more than tripled in size as people flood in to the city looking for streets paved with gold and work possibilities. All the meantime being deceived by the lie that BEE - Black Economic Empowerment - will trickle down to them from the top.
The ponzi scheme South Africa calls its government has to eventually fall apart. Another Zimbabwe awaits. Increasingly South African qualifications are viewed sceptically by other countries as the pass marks have been lowered for certain ethnicities to allow for "equal distribution of labour" If it's a guy with a pick and shovel, fine. If it's a brain surgeon, less so.
The humanity of Jesus wept for the disenfranchised of all castes and backgrounds. The Divinity of Jesus went to the Cross for them.
While Pilate washed his hands, Jesus washed their Souls.
To see a true leader we must look to Jesus.
- Humble - never stating He was either more or less than who He was.
- Loving - every action borne from a place of complete Love, whether allowing a prostitute to wash his feet with tears or driving dishonest traders out of the Temple
- Strong - He stood up to His enemies and faced them down
- Gentle - He lifted the people who came to Him and restored them
- Passionate - He gave everything He had to see His people uplifted and fulfilled
- Selfless - He gave up all personal earthly treasures to allow the prosperity of His Children
I wish the list I gave had a wonderful acronym, but it doesn't. At least, not in English.
We must be the true leaders to restore the humanity lost, cast aside by the rich and powerful. I came across a family recently where one member had lost everything financially and was about to lose their home. Another member of the family had the resources to help and refused, even stating they were offended to be asked. The rich family member's husband is connected to power.
Power corrupts. It diminishes humanity. JRR Tolkein showed it in The Lord of the Rings. Saruman is seduced by Sauron from being a wise wizard to nothing more than an egotistic maniac with the sole dream of having more power. Smeagol is swallowed alive by the One Ring of Power and becomes Gollum, twisted and evil from the power of the ring he loses himself in the power he holds.
So be humble. Be loving. Be strong for the weak to lean on you, be gentle so they don't fear to approach you, be passionate so they can see the love you carry, and be selfless in your actions. These are the marks of a true leader.
These are the things that will restore Humanity and draw all people ultimately to Jesus and the Father.