How do you prevent betrayals from fellow Christians?
The other day, a friend of mine told me of how he received a call from his native country Nigeria, telling him of how a christian man and pastor who was managing one of his properties over there had moved into one of the apartments without his permission. Not only that! But had also rented-out the other apartments to people without saying a word to him about it. And as I ruminated over that, I recalled an incident that sounded like his experience that I had once had along that line. But let me not digress with my own story.
Another friend called to tell me of how he had INVESTED over forty thousand dollars in a truck BUSINESS in his native country Nigeria only to learn that his truck-manager had sold the same truck without recourse to either him or anyone close to him.
Time and space will not allow me to tell the story of Pastor Jide, who narrated how a maternal cousin of his betrayed him. According to Pastor Jide, after he had set up his maternal cousin up in a BUSINESS-line he had told him about, and got him (his cousin) a furnished accommodation, paid for the same accommodation for two years for him, ran the bills of his marriage ceremony for him but still had the unfortunate experience of having that cousin of his sell his late dad’s brand new Toyota Hilux car that he had left in his custody, hijacked his late mom’s restaurant business without any form of ACCOUNTABILITY till date. And when he threatened to arrest him, everybody reminded him that he was dealing with a christian, a cousin and a church-member.
And when he mentioned it to a christian aunty of theirs to mediate in, this aunty listened attentively, promised to call the said cousin to order, invited the said cousin over to her house, but forgot everything Pastor Jide had told her to ask this cousin. Interestingly, this aunty remembered everything Pastor Jide’s cousin had told her. And when Pastor Jide asked her why she forgot to ask the questions he had told her to ask, she ascribed it to "old age." Old age? Hmmmnnnn…. Yet, that ‘old age’ did not stop her from remembering every detail that Pastor Jides’s cousin had told her to ignite her sympathies.
I went into those details to show that dealing with a christian man or woman who lacks integrity is a very irritating experience to have…Not only is it irritating, it is also a big shame to find such fellows pontificate on such subject-matters on a daily basis either on TV, on radio or on the different social media platforms.
I probably got reminded of these incidents while reading through the writings of one of such fellows (a minister) that I had had to deal with a few weeks ago on Facebook. I shuddered at how righteousness could intermingle with such spate of deceit almost effortlessly without any qualms, without any worries and without any guilt.
Now I can understand it when an unsaved fellow tells lies without any pang of guilt. I can see how such an unsaved fellow could not have done any better because of the content of his or her nature: Like an unsaved, paternal cousin of mine whom I had to erect a 3-room bungalow for because he was homeless a couple of years ago. I never got offended nor stopped the construction work when he went to the builders to give them his own ‘specifications’ for the construction-work. Not only that, he also told them to tell anyone in the village who ventured to ask who was sponsoring the construction work that he was building his HOUSE by himself. So, Lol...when his story of over-night conversion from ‘home-lessness’ to ‘home-ownership’ did not make full-sense to his hearers, they chose to ask more questions.
The one that I still find difficult to assimilate is when a christian embarks on this kind of habit with utmost ease: Like when you discuss a BUSINESS deal with another christian brother or sister and he or she fails to follow-through on their part of the deal, like when you give a LOAN to some fellows and they begin to pray to God to touch you to forget about the LOAN, like when you give a love-offering to either a pastor or friend and he or she begins to manipulate your reasoning by telling you of those who did more than you just did, like some fellows you have bent over backwards to assist during their trying times, who suddenly found their feet and only recalls the few times you were not able to assist them, etc.
I could go on and on with more real-life case studies…but I am persuaded that you may also have had recalled some of your own real-life experiences that help to illustrate the salient points of this message.
Now, as a young minister,, I got worried about these kind of developments in the church years ago when I planted our first church in Lagos, Nigeria. Chief amongst my worries then, was if the word of God really penetrated the core-thoughts of the hearers. I listened to those who blamed it on the pulpit. And listened to those who blamed it on the pew. But none of their arguments satisfied me. So, I sought the face of the Lord along that line.
While on my belly praying, I heard the voice of God say: “Every great house has many kinds of vessel…some are honorable in their usage and others are not…but each one still finds some kind of usage” And when I sought for the interpretation of that parable in practical terms, the word of God further said:
“…I never told you to trust anyone you have not tested…I only told you to love everyone. So, while Loving people is a must, trusting who you have not tested is not…When you do so, you do that at your own risk…”
Then he added this:
“…That was why I (God) tested anyone I used to do my work before using them…I tested Abraham, I tested Job, I tested David… I even tested my son Jesus when I allowed him to be tempted or tested of the devil….”
But why Lord? Is it that you did not know what they would do before they acted them out? I asked.
Not so…I knew…but I wanted humanity to know that the wise never trusts what or who they have not tested. Trust is earned through conducts…but love is an endowment.
That was why I told Paul to tell the church to have a long-term goal of CONTINUALLY ..”renewing their mindsets to my word…” (Romans 12:1-2) ”...for by so doing, they would have proved and tested all things and would then be in a position to hold fast to the correct strategy of preventing betrayals from their fellow brothers and sisters. And this is the strategy…the simple trusts before testing…but the wise trusts after testing.”
When I received that insight a few years ago, I formed the habit of testing my dealings with people by simply asking the Spirit of God this question: “Is this right or wrong? Are you in this venture or not? Do you want me to do this or not?” I must say that simply testing the situation and persons with those questions have SAVED me from many troubles.
But I must also add that there have been quite a few times that I had failed to take out time to ask those same questions. And guess what? They COST me quite a bunch. And that is why I am challenging you today to receive that grace to patiently ascertain the move of God before taking a plunge into the deal before you.
May God bless his word today in our lives as we work-out our own salvations with fear and trembling, in Jesus name…Amen!
Up To You Now!
Have you experienced similar kinds of situations in your own life? Have people taken advantage of you sometimes because of your christian leanings? Has family members ganged-up against you sometimes to make you a common enemy? How did you handle them? Let’s hear you out…You might just be helping someone out there!
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Dr Iyke Nwambie is the President of the Advancement Ministries World Outreach Center Inc.