When Good People Do Nothing

Singapore’s story is an amazing one.  It has an ultra-efficient, modern airport, built on land reclaimed from the sea. A very efficient transport system where you can get anywhere by their very fast underground trains. Reputed to be the cleanest city in the world. A huge number of high-rise apartments some go up to 70 storeys high (in contrast, Times Tower, the tallest building in E & Central Africa is 38 storeys). 90% of the housing in Singapore is constructed by the government, and then provided at subsidized prices to the populace. The government operates like a corporation and invests public funds, periodically giving a dividend to all citizens! Singapore got their independence from the British only 3 months ahead of Kenya. Unlike us, they had practically no natural resources. Yet where Kenya gets 1M tourists a year, they get 1M tourists a month! Where Kenya’s per capita income (average income per person per year) is 1,784$, Singapore’s is 32x as high! At 57,238$ – the 3rd highest in the world!

What’s the difference? What happened to us?

I see a key reason in our passage why our involvement in politics is not optional. EVIL WINS WHEN GOOD PEOPLE DO NOTHING.

Read Judges 9:1-21

It’s clear in our story that the businessmen of Shechem were not physically present when Abimelech murdered his brothers. It was the ‘reckless adventurers’, unemployed youths that Abimelech (like many of our local politicians) hired to act as his thugs that struck terror in the hearts of the citizens. If asked, Abimelech’s uncles would have said ‘that wasn’t us – we were minding our own business; we had nothing to do with it – and anyway, what’s wrong with supporting our relative?’ But Jotham’s parable refused to let them off the hook. When the good trees were too busy to minding their own business to give leadership, they allowed the thorn-bush to do so. And as a result, they were ultimately forced to abandon their various businesses and serve the thorn bush or else face fire and destruction! In other words, they paid for their apathy!

Africans often tolerate evils in society which they ought not tolerate. In Kenya, we have tolerated oppression of the poor, people starving whenever there’s a drought, slums and internally displaced people, matatu hooliganism, impunity and public corruption. Our tolerance and our fatalistic acceptance perpetuate these evils within our society. Is it possible that we too will pay greatly for our apathy?

It was Edmund Burke, an 18th Century British member of parliament, who once said, All that is necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing Many of us not concerned because Me, Myself and Mine are fine within our pretty fences. What we don’t realize is that evil eventual catch up with us just like in the parable of the trees. The memories of post election violence are still fresh in my mind. The monster that our silence helped create came to my door step and may be to yours too. All of a sudden, the middle class woke up to the fact that they could not hide forever from the realities that affect the rest of the population. How quickly we forgot and went back to business as usual! With 2012 around the corner, we must remember: Evil wins when good people do nothing.

Wikipedia defines politics as ‘the process and method of making decisions for groups’. In other words, when you participate in your estate committee to discuss security in your neighborhood, or when your Life Group decides to help clean out the market area near where you live, or when you rally your workmates to sign up their house helps for NHIF, you are engaging in political action! If we don’t get involved in political action in our neighborhoods, at work and in our nation, others will make decisions for us. And we will have to live with them.

I want to say that it is time for us to get involved in governance & politics. Africa desperately needs new type of leaders in our neighborhoods, businesses, civic and national offices; responsible men and women of integrity and excellence who refuse to enrich themselves or their tribe and who have a genuine concern for and commitment to the well being of all their fellow citizens. And I am saying if not us, then who? If God’s people will not do this, then evil has already won!

How can we begin to become engaged politically?

  1. Open your eyes and see… what are the problems and injustices facing people in your office, hood, class, family and nation?
  2. Kneel down and pray…for those affected and to show you if there is a role you can play to alleviate their sufferings.
  3. Get up and act… A major lie we have swallowed that is straight from the deepest corner of hell… what difference can one person make! ‘My one vote won’t make a difference!’ Here’s what I say to that, the real issue is before God, are you being a faithful steward of the responsibility He has given you? Leave the result to God!

I have a dream…

…That we will train hundreds of leaders of integrity for political and civic responsibility in our nation as  senators, governors, members of the national assembly, CDF committee members, trade and workers unions and many other positions. We already have a group meeting every month led by Pastor Simon, 35 of whom are running for political office in 2012. I dream that these would be leaders of integrity who submit themselves to accountability and that they will influence the way this country is led so that politics becomes known as the clean game

…That through our Life Groups, we will completely change how Nairobi is governed – imagine a LG in every court of every estate in the city; that is actively participating in and leading each estate committee; using resources well to change the city from the grassroots

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12 Responses to “When Good People Do Nothing”

  1. Benson B. Gathitu Says:

    Thanks be to God for putting it in our Pastor’s heart to deliver a sermon on this matter of great importance to our society. I have for a while, before the sermon today, been saddened by the political apathy of middle-class Kenya. But I have to mention that it’s truly amazing how the bible contains everything we face in the earthly existence; Judges 9:1-21 explains very accurately the scenario we often face in this country. I would like to urge Kenyans from ALL WALKS OF LIFE to participate in politics; let’s vote and support (spiritual and materially) those candidates that support the right causes. As was mentioned in the sermon today: “evil wins when good people do nothing”, “the price of greatness is responsibility” and “don’t complain if you did nothing about changing society for better”.

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  2. Michael Kimani Says:

    Great Summon Series’ Pastor M. God Bless you and keep challenging us as you always have.

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  3. Kenneth Muturi Says:

    _that is so true..truly you’re are living your motto.GOD bless you, you noble.soldiers of Christ.this is so true.we need a change,CHRISTIANS arise!!!

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  4. lillian Says:

    This sermon was so real. I always wonder why Kenya is not up there with South Africa and other developed African countries like Egypt and North Africa.

    A train transport system would be so good as fuel prices would cease to be an issue like they are now.

    Best of all the dignity of being self reliant and not begging for loans/aid from IMF

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  5. Mutuku Munywoki Says:

    l have taken the first step in locating my local CDF office based in South B shopping centre. They tell me that the committee members are appointed by the sitting MP. My question to them was, what happens if l do not know the sitting MP personally? Response was to keep on visiting the office regularly to get know by the office holders. So l intend to pay them a visit every week till something gives. Will keep you posted on the progress.

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  6. was scared to stand on Saturday. and am supposed to be fearless. i think a lot of us are more scared than we like to admit of fearlessly influencing-because it’s uncharted, and we fear having a platform. what if we mess up. what if we fail. once upon a time Pst L said influence or be influenced. praying for boldness

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  7. Ineedhelp Says:

    I have an issue… Im in university and i have classes with people who seem to be there to pass time.when put in groups,i always end up doing almost all the work,i try and ask them to help,but its always excuses,then the day of oral presentations or handing in papers,members start calling me frantically asking what they can say or do to help…i have always hated that.my hardwork always seems distributed instead of all our work coming together to make one good academic paper.Yesterday a girl took all the ideas off my paper and previous conversations i had when i told her what was going on and that she needed to help,and the lecturer thought everyone worked together.i was very hurt and shocked that people can do that.it has always happened,and i used to complain to my friend who would give me great advice,but i was always to scared to tell the truth.Last week there was a test,and women in their 40s were copying off each other,my age mates would give answers…its just enough.i was asked to show my paper and pretended i couldnt hear.im tired of pretending,complaining to others,and letting this go on. I remembered the sermon and realised i have always complained without action and never said anything to stop the cheating and plagiarism… I have done nothing all that time and let evil triumph.
    I decided to tell my lecturer how i felt and what went on-i explained i didnt do it for a grade or to punish others,i did it because im tired and i dont adhere to this ‘code’ that students share that states ‘never get involved if it has nothing to do with you and we should share everything because we are on the same team’…im frustrated,and i thought i would feel good having stood up for right,but its like i did something wrong…i dont know why it is disturbing me…i dont know what else to do to feel at peace with all these issues….

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    • Seeking God Says:

      Dear “Ineedhelp”

      Your guilt is attached to the acceptance of the status quo of those around you. You feel that you have let your classmates down but in reality you have pleased God by telling your lecturer the truth. Your classmates aren’t benefiting themselves by what they are doing; in fact they will carry on with this very same behaviour to their jobs and will continue to promote the sloppy ethics we’re fighting against in the kenyan marketplace and culture. Your telling the truth may not bring immediate changes but you have began a paradigm shift in yourself and possibly the lecturer who may take further steps to remedy this issue. You are indeed the very essence of a fearless influencer!!

      And remember this always:
      Ephesians 6:14-15
      Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

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  8. Zachary Kamau Says:

    What! Pst M. is on fire on this series, I find or the sector so relevant and close to my heart. Is it OK to stand at every alter call, or do I first need to figure where my passion lies, coz enyewe I feeling every sermon and wondering what I should focus on.

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  9. I feel this sermon so much, its so close home because it speaks to us all….very practically. At least we have a leader in you Pastor M and you are challenging us to do something – we are all good people.

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  10. lillian Says:

    My last post didnt expound but this link will hopefully expound and give Pastor M more guidelines for his sermon series.

    I currently work for a telecommunications company which is everyday “importing” Indians and “exporting” jobs to India as they outsource them to Indian companies. It frustrates me daily but seeing as I am merely an employee I can only grit my teeth and bear it. Pastor M’s sermons made me think that this is all neocolonialism and reading on it I discovered the below link.

    So sad that ‘developed’ countries like India are growing by feeding of African countries. Outsourcing jobs to Indian firms leaves Kenyans jobless resulting in more crime ( even jobless people have 2 eat and drink and sleep and dress as well as educate their kids) . People without money cannot buy anything so other industries end up being affected as they will have low sales and the ripple effect goes on.

    All these would not be happening if we “owned our companies.” Where else would we export jobs to given we are Kenyan in Kenya?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neocolonialism

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  11. This Sermon Series is amazing! It almost feels like I am in a one to one challenge session and pastor M is reading my mind! Its no point whinning and complaining….”Good people, get up and do something!’
    I have being dissatisfied about my estate management for quite sometime now; this series has challenged me to gladly take up a position of influence to change things instead watching and mummering from a distance. I have gladly accepted to take up the position of Lady’s Rep in my court’s committee; small position but at least a starting point! At least now I can make my court a better place for my daughter and my neighbour’s kids to grow in!

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