A United States man (Ohio state) was taken to court late last year to answer to charges of rape. He stood accused of forcing himself on a toddler and in mitigation, he had the nerve to say the child tempted him. He tried to lay the blame on the child whose future he had just ruined by his selfishness. It is a clear case of an offender refusing to take responsibility for his action.
Most people, Christians included, do not appreciate how much it means to take responsibility, to show remorse and to apologise. A congregation is a community of believers and a family of God brought together by common interest; to pray and encourage each other in the walk of faith. But like in any other gathering, friction, suspicion and misunderstandings can manifest as people gravitate towards those that share common interests with them or try to create personal spaces.
At times, during interaction as family, friends, workmates, some might get hurt from deliberate actions by colleagues, or by mistake, but it takes maturity, honesty and humility to go back and engage with a view to find each other again. Some are of the mistaken belief that it is macho to deny responsibility, while some have killed their conscience so much that they can trample on other people’s emotions and not feel bad at all. Yet, some might try to lighten the hurt by laughing it off, thereby adding to the pain. There are reasons why some people turn out to be mean-spirited and accomplished “joy-stealers”, but with proper guidance, counselling, will to change for the better and the word of God, one can be remoulded into a new, lovable and peaceable member of the community if we give chief potter, God, a chance. [Isaiah 64 v 8]
Some even hurt themselves and their future by slackening and waiting for life to take its course. Money spinners out there will take advantage of that lack of resolve; that is when people are invited for miracles to lose weight, miraculous money or expect family relations torn apart by recklessness to mend through anointing oil. That is when students renege on studying, believing in a miracle pen. That is when people are made to believe that there are other forces and relatives simply waiting to ambush and derail their noble plans. Not every misfortune is man-made and the power to change situations rests with individuals as given to each one of us by God.
A story is told of Gehazi, prophet Elisha’s servant. They worked together for the Lord, travelled together and he was a loyal assistant until Namaan, the commander of the army of the king of Aram, visited Israel to be made well of leprosy. I am not going to dwell on the man of valour, but on Gehazi and his covetous eye, dishonesty and what then befell him and his descendants. Naaman had brought with him a lot of expensive gifts for the king of Israel and then he offered them to the prophet who had facilitated his healing, but Elisha refused and told him to go in peace. The scripture on 2 Kings 5 v 19-22 reads: After Naaman had travelled some distance, Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said to himself, “My master was too easy on Naaman, this Aramean, by not accepting from him what he brought. As surely as the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something from him.” So Gehazi hurried after Naaman. When Naaman saw him running toward him, he got down from the chariot to meet him. “Is everything all right?” he asked. “Everything is all right,” Gehazi answered. “My master sent me to say, ‘Two young men from the company of the prophets have just come to me from the hill country of Ephraim. Please give them a talent of silver and two sets of clothing.’”
Elisha got angry with Gehazi for he lied in his name, lied to him and would not take responsibility for his actions, yet he had stashed the gifts in his house. The prophet said his spirit had been with Gehazi all the time he ran after the Aramean to take the gifts. Namaan’s leprosy afflicted Gehazi thereafter.
We could build a better world by taking responsibility of our lives and actions. Our God does not reject a contrite spirit [Psalm 51v17] David says, “My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.”
May we continue to renew our faith, improve relations and seek God’s face.
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