Sunday Sermon 7: Uphold National and Personal Peace

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By Blamuel Njururi, Kenya Confidential Editor-in-Chief, Nairobi – July 16, 2013

Since 2008 post election violence, the Kenya Government has spent close to Ksh 100 billions to compensate ethnic cleansing victims and business losses that were caused by irresponsible leadership driven by ethnic hate – money that could have been put to job-creating and development projects

Whether there is violence before, on election day or after elections, it is certain that some foolish Kenyans will inevitably die in election-related incidents. Why would you propel yourself or fellow citizen to death because of political leadership? Why can’t you try the best you can to maintain peace with fellow citizens.

May be I should ask a few more questions. Why do you think a fellow tribesman will change your life that many others from your tribe have not changed since you were born. Is he going to invest in you as a citizen to build a better Kenya or give you a job, a business, a piece of land, a car, a house, a wife, a husband or add your household food rations?

Whatever you think the person you want in leadership may give you or make you have whatever you desire, will any other Kenyan prevent you from getting it to such extent that you must harm or kill him or her? Is that what you want more valuable than human life? Do you have to be violent to get what you desire from politicians? Must you be part of violence to get what you want? Which politician paid homage to thousands of bereaved or displaced families in 2008? They did not care at all, instead they concentrated on power sharing at Serena Hotel to form the so-called Nusu Mkate government to lord over you.

Since 2008 post election violence, the Kenya Government has spent close to Ksh 100 billions to compensate ethnic cleansing victims and business losses that were caused by irresponsible leadership driven by ethnic hate – money that could have been put in job-creating and development projects. The principal drivers of 2008 bloodbath are the same people standing in campaign meetings to tell Kenyan youths that they are jobless and there is no Unga when money that could have created job opportunities and grown more maize went to pay for their 2008 political chaos and carnage.

But how do you get peace in a really bad situation? You may be in the fight of your life financially and about to lose your life in political ethnic cleansing. It may be that you’ve been diagnosed with cancer as many people are these days. Your business may be going under. It may be that your marriage is falling apart. You fill in the blank.

Innocent Kenyans burned in a Church where they had sought refuge from ethnic killers

Kenya is a land of very tolerant people, who believe in secular ideas. Tolerance, secularism and accommodation have been the most admirable characteristics of Kenyan culture. This explains the flowering and flourishing of all religions in our country side by side, without any interference or encroachment by one upon the other. In this true perspective of Kenya’s cultural heritage, the Constitution of Independent Kenya provided for a strong Central Government to keep the divisive and disintegrating forces under firm check.

The New Constitution with devolution further assures equality and security to all classes of persons regardless of their tribe, creed, religion, language, place of birth and domicile. It makes Kenya a secular state, guaranteeing equal freedom to all its citizens to profess, practise and propagate their religions without any interference. Our Constitution recognised a number of other steps to be taken to promote national integration and also to check the tendencies that endangered the fundamental unity of the country.

Kenya’s ethnic differences are politically fanned by politicians who continue to spread discontent over the sharing of the so-called national cake, resource distribution and public appointments. That skewed viewpoint obtained during the presidential political system when the national cake was shared at State House. The current political dispensation of Parliamentary system and devolution changed all that. The national cake is today shared and distributed at the Parliament and County Assemblies.

However, Kenya politicians have a created a country that is always either headed into a crisis, in the midst of one, or coming out of one. Now, coming out of one is great. We can see what God was up to in part, and we get a measure of peace from that. But how can we get peace if we’re headed into or in the midst of a crisis? God tells us how to do just that in Philippians 4:4-9.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, 5Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about[d] these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of Peace will be with you.

Kenyans must Unite or Perish ruining their Motherland

Today Kenya is a free country and a great deal of progress has been achieved in many directions. During the funeral of General (Rtd) Joseph Kaissery, Tanzania former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa described Kenya as the envy of all her neighbours because she is more advanced economically and industrialized than all of them. He implored Kenyans to unite to build their country to greater heights.

But it is a pity that the spirit of unity and accommodation, which in the past made our people think and believe that they were one family and nation against the colonialists and dictatorship appears to have evaporated. Divisive forces, though held in check, repeatedly raise their ugly head in one form or the other in the exercise of newly found constitutional freedoms.

New forces of fanaticism threaten to destroy the cherished ideals of one country and one people. Passions are inflamed in the name of ethnic divide, abuse of devolution into regionalism and separatism are threatening to balkanise the country. Ethnic passions are whipped up. Loyalty to political parties and community is given priority over devotion to the motherland. There are a large number of factors that militate against the efforts of national integration. The most formidable obstacles are ethnic hate and regionalism.

Kenya is a multi-ethnic country. We must not forget how passions were aroused leading to the 2007-2008 blood bath. Political emotions must be tamed with love, understanding and accommodation, not adopting rigid attitudes and postures. Ethnicity is a poison that has roots in our polity. Kenya cannot make any headway in achieving the goal of national integration if tribalism is allowed to raise its head again and again without any check. It will need long and sustained effort to eradicate the evil of negative ethnicity.

It would be wishful thinking to suppose that pious resolutions of the National Integration and Cohesion Commission will restore ethnic amity overnight. It’s essential to strike hard against the forces that sustain the poisonous of tribalism in search or political power.

Apart from removing all misgivings among Kenyan communities regarding their hate language, a law should be put in place banning all propaganda that fosters the spread of tribalism. The legislation banning ethnic propaganda should also provide for severe penalties for publication or dissemination in any manner, of false reports calculated to rouse tribalism through mainstream media and social media platforms.

“No Raila No peace” protesters in 2008 blocking a road that Raila never condemned

A hard struggle lies ahead, for those who seek to integrate the huge population of impoverished poor and unfortunate Kenyans into the main body of Kenyan society. The ultimate solution pernicious and inhuman problem of ethnicity lies in the honest implementation of radical devolution reforms in the interests of wananchi which would eliminate all vestiges of feudalism, rapid poverty of both the urban and rural areas and spread of scientific education.

The first thing every Kenyan needs to do is focus on God instead of your situation.That’s easier said than done, but that’s what Paul means when he says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). He’s not saying that we’re happy about what we’re going through; he’s not even saying to rejoice in our difficulties. He’s saying rejoice in the Lord, and that’s something altogether different.

Biblical joy is the knowledge that God is in control of your circumstances and allows only that which is good for you into your life (Romans 8:28). That’s why James says to consider it joy when a trial comes your way (James 1:2). It’s not that the trial brings joy; it’s what God is doing for us through the trial; His good work is coming into our lives. Because we know that, we consider the trial joy; we rest in the Lord. In essence, we worship Him. That’s what Job did when he lost his possessions and his family; he said, “Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).

A victim of 2008 post election violence recalls, “The morning my father was hacked to death was sad; not only were we very close, but it pained me to see my mother and other children suffer as well. At the same time, we knew that God was involved in every detail and was doing a good thing in our lives through our hurt. As we focused on that, we were able to worship, find joy, and tell others about the goodness of God and the good times we had with my dad.”

But that’s only the beginning; we can’t stop there because Satan and the flesh have a way of coming back to bite us. From our focus on God, we have to literally engage in serving others. Paul says, “Let your gentleness be known to all men; the Lord is at hand” (Philippians 4:5). As you rejoice in God, that should move you to then focus on others. Let your gentleness, kindness, patience, and heart be known to others. How can you do that? Paul says the Lord is at hand; God is near and will help you.

And it’s not just that God wants you to serve others in the midst of your trouble. It’s that He knows our weakness. Our tendency will be to focus on ourselves and spiral down into despair. But if we focus on others, we’ll be distracted and not have time to spiral down. More than that, we’ll derive a certain joy in serving others before the Lord.

The Holy Bible Brain is the brain booster ever

It doesn’t work! That’s what we say when we’re filled with worry, fear, or despair. The truth is we can’t take any one of these things without the other. Each of the things we’re talking about forms a whole. God is telling us what to do in the midst of a troubling state of affairs. He’s telling us to focus on Him and others; to think about Him, to pray to Him, and to think about Him again.

It’s not enough to pray. Once we pray, Paul says we’re to force ourselves to think about the things of God and not what’s bothering us. It’s not easy; that’s why it’s called a battle. But the way we fight is to change what we’re thinking about. Don’t sap your energies on election politics. Elections are a 5-year cycles, your life is a long winding cycle no politician can determine for you.

You might say certain thoughts plague you because you’re in a longterm dilemma that seems never ending. Yes, but you don’t have to dwell on the difficulties. Reorient the focus of your thoughts. Paul says, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

Take it one step further. The more you meditate on the things of God, as Paul says, the more you’ll know God and His ways. You’ll know that He is indeed working these things for good in your life. You know that “the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalms 84:11).

But there’s one more thing. You’ve moved your focus from your troubles to God and others. Paul says now to make sure you keep doing that. Keep doing the things God has told you to do. “The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9). If you do what God is teaching you to do, you’ll have peace. And don’t overlook the nuance of what Paul says here.

Earlier, he said that the peace of God will guard your heart. That’s true; that’s what we want. But here he says the God of Peace will be with you. That’s even better! You get Peace because you have the God of Peace walking with you through the fire.

Jesus was with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, and He’ll be with you in your fiery elections furnace as well (Daniel 3:25). They were at peace even though they didn’t know whether God would actually keep them alive or not (Daniel 3:17-18). All they knew was that God was with them and would see them through one way or the other.

And that’s what you need to realize; God is with you and will see you through one way or the other. And that’s not resignation or defeatist. That’s confidence. God has a plan for you and it’s good. You walk with Him because He’s walking with you. That’s how you get peace in a really bad situation. In return be grateful, patriotic and protect your motherland.

Share a flower with those you love and ready to protect come election-related violence

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