Of peo­ple who join church to­day, go away to­mor­row

The Manica Post - - Opinion & Analysis - Mor­ris Mtisi

HAVE you ever won­dered why peo­ple come to your church to­day, full of pur­pose and spir­i­tual hunger and thirst, but leave to­mor­row, de­pressed and dis­il­lu­sioned, some even an­gry. Does it hap­pen too in your church? If it does not hap­pen, ig­nore this in­sight­ful ob­ser­va­tion. If it hap­pens, read care­fully and pray that you un­der­stand what it means and not what you want to un­der­stand.

Why do peo­ple come to your church to­day and leave to­mor­row?

This can be a fas­ci­nat­ing PhD the­sis. Al­low me to share an in­sight with you into the ques­tion.

The first rea­son, but per­haps also the most ob­vi­ous, is the devil him­self. Satan hates any soul that chooses to turn to­wards God. Re­mem­ber the great con­tro­versy, or the war to win souls be­tween God and Satan. It is not yet over. The war rages on and the bat­tle-field are the hearts and minds of mankind. When­ever you visit the house of God, es­pe­cially for the first time, Satan finds a way of pulling you away in the quick­est pos­si­ble way. The ways are dif­fer­ent. God uses the truth. The devil uses naked lies and half truths (equiv­o­ca­tion) and sheer blind­fold­ing (de­monic in­flu­ence).

You may re­call a What­sApp video that went vi­ral around the world a few months ago. A pretty Ndau girl called it a bed-time story. She was in sub­ter­ranean Ndau warn­ing Christians not to drive away new souls that want to be­come Christians.

What made this video go vi­ral is cer­tainly not the mes­sage the pretty young girl was con­vey­ing. It must have been the fa­cial glam­our of the lit­tle girl or the fe­cun­dity of the Ndau lan­guage com­ing out of that mouth fit to ooze no other lan­guage but the queen’s. I hope I am wrong to think that was the rea­son the lit­tle girl at­tracted the whole world, es­pe­cially Zim­bab­weans; the beau­ti­ful and typ­i­cal Ndau. But what mes­sage was in the video?

The young Ndau girl was pro­found in her mes­sage. Her warn­ing was as multi-lay­ered as her lan­guage. Do not be­gin your idle gos­sip with the 100 com­mand­ments of your church. ‘We do not dress like this here. We do not sing like this.

We do not like this kind of mu­sic. We do not eat this or that. We do not. . . we do not. . .we do not,’ ad in­fini­tum; a hun­dred and one rules and reg­u­la­tions. ‘Our pas­tor is like so and so, you see those women and that group of men over there. . .be very care­ful,’ the story con­tin­ues. Until the new mem­ber be­gins to say! ‘Oh dear! I thought this church was the way to heaven! It is the way to hell.’

That is the sec­ond ma­jor put-off! Peo­ple who never stop talk­ing and seem to know ev­ery­thing about ev­ery­thing at the church and about every­body! Please note, this way is in­sep­a­ra­bly con­nected to the first one; Lu­cifer’s shenani­gans. The devil uses this method very eas­ily to turn new mem­bers away.

Third, are cheap con­tra­dic­tions! Peo­ple who speak this and do the op­po­site! Peo­ple who in­di­cate turn­ing right and then turn left. May be one or two ex­am­ples will il­lus­trate the point more clearly.

Preach­ing love but prac­tis­ing ha­tred, loath­some­ness, re­sent­ful­ness. . . show­ing off and seek­ing at­ten­tion! Peo­ple preach­ing we-are-all sin­ners but act­ing holier-than-though.

Peo­ple preach­ing against the Pharisee be­hav­iour of stick­ing to rules but be­ing prig­gish and blind to spir­i­tual com­mon sense!

Ev­ery­thing said and done, we must not forget that some mem­bers too have very sub­lime rea­sons for join­ing church. They think ev­ery­one will love them and tol­er­ate them and wish them well. They come to please or be pleased by man and not God.

Eas­ier said than done! It then be­comes very dif­fi­cult fo­cus­ing on God in the midst of noisy, con­fused, Pharisee-like, can­tan­ker­ous ‘Christians’. These too must re­mem­ber that a church is like a clinic where all peo­ple, well, al­most all, you find there are sick from dif­fer­ent in­fir­mi­ties; gos­sip-mon­ger­ing, mind­ing other peo­ple’s busi­ness and not one’s own, reli­gious ar­ro­gance, self ex­al­ta­tion, judg­ing oth­ers, evil thought pro­cesses, jeal­ousy, envy, the list of ill­nesses is too long. They too are seek­ing di­vine ‘heal­ing’ from these stub­born reli­gious stains or sins.

I talked about self-con­tra­dic­tion ear­lier on. Some speak­ers, preach­ers if you like, at church ooze verve, en­ergy and knowl­edge about cer­tain ideas and be­liefs. They read them and run with them like saints or an­gels, yet miss the spirit-con­nec­tion; the link be­tween the known and the un­known.

I will take the ex­am­ples of eat­ing well and ex­er­cis­ing and shar­ing health-science knowl­edge about var­i­ous dis­eases, es­pe­cially chronic ones like the no­to­ri­ous can­cers, HIV and AIDS etc. There is no doubt this is a per­fect idea in church. And some churches are bet­ter at this than oth­ers. Why not? A prob­lem arises, when the spirit con­nec­tion is con­spic­u­ously lack­ing and only the health science re­mains.

If in­vited ex­perts con­cen­trate on what they know and what they can do and not do, ig­nor­ing de­lib­er­ately, by de­fault or un­wit­tingly the trust and faith in a God who re­verses ir­re­versible con­di­tions and heals in­cur­able dis­eases; a God to whom noth­ing is im­pos­si­ble, the mes­sage be­comes sim­ply that there are cer­tain hu­man chal­lenges and prob­lems God is not strong enough to deal with.

Good speak­ers, too many of them, miss the bracket that bal­ances the knowl­edge and faith equa­tion.

The mes­sage of knowing about in­cur­able can­cers and di­a­betes and Hyper­ten­sions, the list is long and fa­mil­iar, es­pe­cially how we can be wise or clever to avoid these ‘in­fir­mi­ties’ openly and im­pru­dently con­tra­dicts the mes­sage of faith in Je­sus and of­ten does the op­po­site, namely driv­ing away the mes­sage of hope in sick peo­ple.

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