Recently, there have been demonstrations in the U.S. after the killing of a black man, Floyd, by a white cop. As coincidental or deliberate as it may have been, it did not leave a sweet taste in the mouths of the Americans. Both blacks and whites. That is a critical point right there. You see, not all blacks are good or bad; neither are the whites! It feels wrong to classify people with colour as I am doing now- thought that it is the reality of things on the ground. Vitu ni different! The slogan has been, ‘Black Lives Matter’ and in a very significant way, I agree. We however also need to say that ‘White Lives Matter’ because they do. But in a society where the former seems to dismissed by the latter, more often than not, I guess the people have a point they are driving forward. We cannot favour one over the other without creating an atmosphere that suggests that one is superior to the other.
Well, I am not American so let me zoom this situation to what I understand most. Tribalism! When you hear the stories of almost working graduates who just about landed a job until their tribe checked in, you will cut to the heart. When you hear the conversation in Christian homes; parents are warning children against this or that tribe. When you go to a place, and people assume that you are their tribe without even asking if you understand the tongue. When you are classified because you come from the East, West, Central or Northern, then there is a problem that needs handling. The reality is that in some quarters, if you do not hail from a specific ethnic circle, then you had better not try your luck in getting things done. Therefore, as Kenyans take the streets in apparent solidarity in a faraway land, I hope their hypocrisy will end if they are proponents or benefactors of the evil of tribalism that has and still is breaking the backbone of our nation.
ALL TRIBES MATTER
Revelation 5:9-10, “And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood, you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” Notice that in heaven, every tribe and language and people and nation are called priests. If there were special tribes, then we would need to have personal heaven. All tribes matter! Paul says, “for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” (Galatians 3:26-29). There is no distinction. Such an attitude is foreign for the religious minds and the unregenerate at heart. For us to see things in this light, we must remove the veil mentioned in 2 Corinthians 4 so that the deception is exposed.
It is archaic and ungodly for us to refer to people in terms of tribes, whereas the bible itself does not do that. How can a highly educated and modern culture still get lost in empty tribalism and still think it is enlightened? Tribalism is the height of corrupt and immature minds, just as racism. If we got into scripture and practised it as a youthful generation, then our children will not need to suffer the consequences of battles they did not instigate, and I doubt they would genuinely want to be partisan. “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.” (Romans 10:12).
Are we a society of all we have is tribal tinted glasses that we use to decide who is worthy and who is not? Are we a society if all we do is seat around our living rooms and plan how to make fun of people who God created in His image (Genesis 1:26-27)? Are we a society if we keep obeying our parents’ out of the Lord’ when they plant seeds of discord through tribal laced pieces of advice on marriage? Are we a society if we think we have a higher grade of blood than others? Thinking others must bow down to us if they will ever get to know the privilege of being Kenyans? Are we a society when we go overseas and act all as one yet when we come back home, we have tribal tendered etched within our hearts and vibes? Are we a society or an insult to the work of the cross? What are you going to do to have the community we need to have? A society where all are esteemed and cherished regardless of the name on their I.D.! The answer is one- Heart regeneration.
2 Corinthians 5:16 is not as much known as the next verse is known. Paul says, “From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.” We need to stop looking at people from the human perspective. When Paul did it, he was a persecutor and murderer of the followers of the way. When the light struck him, his heart regenerated. He became a new man with a new tint on his spectacles. If there is no stuck difference from the time you became a believer to date; if your perspectives are not different, then you need to ask yourself, “Did I truly come to Christ?” No one who truly comes to Christ remains the same. All their ideas of life change; their outlook on race, tribe and social classes changes as well. Because Christ is the quickening Spirit (1 Corinthians 15:45), we can expect that something in us will be quickened to a different direction if we come to him. His word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12). There is no way we can read it and remain prejudiced in specific ways. Have you known regeneration yet?
We have an opportunity to make this society what God wants it to be- even amidst the challenge of sin and deception. The first thing to do is to question from the scripture, what our salvation is yielding. If we find tribalism, then we know we have a problem- a root problem. May the Lord help us to see others as He rightly sees them. Amen.