Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains” – John 9:41.
Allow me to be a little personal this week. What is wrong with us in some of our nations in Africa? Why can’t we reckon the filth in our towns and cities as disgusting and hazardous to the health of our people? Does anybody care? We admire the cleanliness and beauty of other nations and fight to live in their best neighbourhoods they have meticulously built and jealously maintained. Why, then, can’t we do the same and clean our cities and towns, uplifting our communities and neighbourhoods for heathy living? Why do we accept mediocrity, and unreasonably protect outmoded traditions and customs that send us thousand years into the dark ages? How can we be comfortable with filthy streets, chocked gutters, and piles of garbage dumps in our market places and be comfortable with our situation? How long can we continue to drive through dusty and unlighted streets, strewn with gullies, to our million-dollar mansions and be proud of ourselves? When will our attitudes change?
We litter with impunity even when driving the latest models of expensive cars. We live in these million-dollar mansions without running water and electricity; and yet, we see nothing wrong with them. We would rather spend our money on big and ostentatious funerals that strike our egos, than get our acts together and plan for better living conditions and clean environment. What is wrong with us? Are we blind?
It reminds me of the story of the man born blind who was healed by Jesus (John 9:1-41). The miracle was so obvious a pointer to Jesus as Messiah; yet, the religious leaders ridiculously failed to accept it. They needed spiritual sight, but they failed to recognize their malady and see their Healer in Jesus (39-40). They asked if they were blind too, to which Jesus responded, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains” (39-41).
The Pharisees were blind to the filthy conditions of sin they lived in. To their shame, their blindness prevented them from acknowledging their Saviour in Jesus. How really blind they were!
We have become like the Pharisees in our nations. We refuse to see the filth in which we live, and the need to clean up after ourselves. We claim to be smart and wealthy, but we’re “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked,” as Jesus told the church in Laodicea (Rev. 3:17).
We need the light of Jesus to shine on our hearts and eyes to see the filthy conditions of our cities and towns, and awareness to clean them up. We are capable and competent. If a war-torn nation like Rwanda has done it, why can’t it be done in other parts of Africa? Attitudinal change is all we need; but where are the leaders to take this on?
Before anybody dismisses the example of Rwanda because of Paul Kagame, maybe they should take a closer look at the heart and attitude that went into the Rwanda concept and tell us how they too can get it that right under an acceptable system of governance, with well-managed and adequately funded and maintained institutions. Then they can hold that up to our people and the world as a preferred achievement. I will love to see that and herald it in a similar message.
In the meantime, I want to argue that if Rwanda slides into a disorganized and dirty country, it would not be because Kagame is no more. It would be because those who take over have never had the nation at heart to seriously consider what is good and healthy for the people. Nobody destroys a beautiful and well-tendered garden merely because the previous owner was a bad and hated person. That would be foolhardiness. It would be because of their wicked and selfish intentions.
However, for now, the people of Rwanda breathe well and prosperly. They may desire a loosened grip in governance, as the ten trbs demanded of King Rehoboam after his father Solomon (2 Chron. 10:3-4), but the attitudes of Rwandese are being challenged and shaped as the current results show. If the system of governance changes, and those who take over from Kagame love their nation and have a heart to keep it that clean, they can demonstrate it for all to see.
I hold my time behind my computer for that day.