This week we celebrated African Freedom’s day. The day African countries celebrate their liberation from colonial rule. And while most of us are quite detached from the struggles that our forefathers endured, we should still be grateful to them and thank God that we are no longer under colonial rule. However, are we really free? Have we made the necessary progress after decades of freedom? Are we where we ought to be? Are we winning the fight against corruption, diseases, wars, family breakdown, crime, injustice and poverty? These are real issues that need some honest answers and actions from all involved.
That said, I look around my beloved country and indeed the entire continent and I see people who are not free, bound and enslaved by a very powerful force and millions die slaves to this force. The bible calls this powerful force sin. Sin is an enslaving master that does not spare anyone, regardless of their social, political and economic status in society. From the poorest and lowest to the richest and highest, all are born under the enslaving curse of sin. Oh yes you heard me right, we are all born with sin, the psalmist exclaims “I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5, Rom 5:8-12). So ultimately when we look at the sickening levels of corruption, the unending wars and conflicts, the ever increasing crime rates accompanied by high levels of injustice and all this in midst of abject poverty, the reason is sin. At the heart of all these problems are self-seeking, self-serving, self-propagating, self-centered, totally sinful people.
So how do you solve the African problem? Do you change governments? Do you change the education system? Do you build more hospitals? Do you upgrade government departments? Do you change the constitution? Do you create jobs? Or maybe build more and better roads? Fight and reduce corruption? Promote justice and empower law enforcers? Increase peace keeping and promoting treaties?
All these and more are good ideas and will go a long way in solving our problem. However they only deal with the fruits and not the root or the heart of the problem. So unless people are liberated from the bondage of sin and become free they always are self-centered in life. If your heart is enslaved to sin, your actions will be sinful and self-serving. But when God through Jesus Christ frees you from the burden and bondage of sin (Rom 5:18-21, 6:15-23, 8:1-3, 2 Corinth 5: 17-21) you become a new creation and your whole life is totally transformed. Your attitude towards work, your relationships with your family and your neighbors, your response to conflict, your attitude towards wealth and your entire purpose in life is no longer about you or for you but pleasing God and doing good to others.
In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus gave the world a lovely invitation when He said “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."