From He That Knows Much, Much Will Be Demanded.

2013-07-20 20:08

I wrote in the manuscript of my soon to be published inspirational novel, In Her Fall Rose a Nation, that: “From he that knows much, much will always be demanded.” That is to say, the souls of those who were in the dark will be deducted from the accounts of those who knew the truth.

In other words, when an announcer is given the duty to sit on the village’s strongholds so that he may blow the whistle to let his people know that their lives are in danger, he’ll have to account for the lives of his fellow villagers should he fail to alert them that the mob is approaching. His imperfections aside, he has the responsibility to tell the nation when something is wrong. Failure to do his job converts him into a murderer who paved the way for genocide on his people.

The nation’s lack of knowledge will be forgiven as the negligent awareness of the announcer stands accused.

Contextualising the above reference to our current dispensation, it is correct to say that the bemoaned moral decay of our country can only be addressed through the speaking out of our nation’s moral agents – pastors, activists, constitutionalists, radio presenters, journalists, and everyone else who knows the truth. We live in the times when everyone is obsessed with being judged. It appears we are all, in one way or another, victims of judgment. When we are told of our wrongdoings, we turn ourselves into casualties of judgment.

We’re becoming a society that exaggerates tolerance. We are a nation that allows all trends to flourish.

“Only God is the judge,” we wash our hands off the moral responsibilities.

We once allowed the izikhothani culture to prosper (we even made adverts on it). Some are tolerating corruption in government. Others turn a blind eye on the rising social media pornography. Crooked men disguised as pastors escape the cuffs of our moral fibre, and we ignore men who rape our sisters in remotely rural areas such as Limpopo (where many rape events go unreported although we have community newspapers). As if that is not enough, those who stand up for the truth have their lives under threat. Whistle blowers are purged. Brave journalists of Mzilikazi wa Afrika’s journalistic ethic wrestle with state institutions that are abused to silence them so that they may conceal, not reveal, the fraud in state departments.

In the midst of all this, who will still stand for the truth?

For our relatively young constitutional democracy to be protected, we should become a nation that doesn’t compromise on the truth, ranging from the behaviour of our friends to the conduct of prominent government officials, as well as private sector leaders.

Admittedly, advocating for a good means towards the end in a society that is so sympathetically content with weaknesses can be an arduous task. Sometimes by lambasting the unethical behaviour of other people, we find ourselves having shaken a beehive, thus awakening a swarm of defensive bees determined to sting us for the principled positions we took.

Is your life perfect? We are questioned.

Who anointed you as the judge? We face persecution.

Nonetheless, standing firm on what is right doesn’t mean our lives are clean. It simply means that we think we know what should be done. It means that even in our imperfections we haven’t yet lost our moral footing. After all, being “clean” is not a prerequisite to express our views, albeit Christians would argue that it’s hypocritical of anyone to “look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye but fail to notice the beam in your own eye.” In fact, "perfection" is a premise that unfortunately supports the syllogism of apathy. From it, the following deductive reasoning is constructed: People are not perfect. I am a person. Therefore, I am not perfect.

Agreeing that no one is perfect, do we then say no one has the right to tell us when we are wrong? Do we say that God Himself will have to come down and call us to order? Don’t we think He has appointed our parents, pastors, journalists, and activists to break the silence on rape, domestic abuse, corruption and reckless spending?

As young people, we should understand that there are people put in our lives to guide our ways. They are not judging us when they warn us about the dangers of reckless sexual behaviour, smoking and/or dropping out of school. If they watch us drink and smoke ourselves into wreckages, our lives will be demanded from them. Well, we aren’t obliged to listen to them. As long as they’ve told us the truth, they have cleared themselves of the guilt of truth-concealment. They are free from their consciences.

The punishment for speaking the truth is lighter than that of withholding information about our comrades’ corrupt deals and ignoring our friends’ inappropriate tendencies. Like the watchman, let’s make it our priority to protect our nation, forever in remembrance that from he that knows much, much will be demanded.

“When truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie” – Russian Poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko.

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