By Denis Tumuhaise
The Church in Uganda has gone through a lot of scandal, controversy and drama in 2017 like never before.
The Lord revealed to me it’s all been the work of the devil planting seeds of offence and separation. Divide and conquer, his strategy!
The Bible is very clear that in the last days men will be lovers of themselves. (2 Tim 3:2) We expect this in unbelievers, but Paul was not referring to those outside the church. He was talking about those within it.
Many of Pastors, Prophets, Apostles and Churches have engaged in silent or loud battles for numbers, wealth, doctrine or of whom is right or wrong. Many claiming to be victims and some victimized. Many innocently used the wrong approaches to reply to criticism while others acted with pride and hid behind their faithful and left collateral damage. Yet the masses are offended, arguing with each other, hating another and innocently caught in the crossfire! But they do not realize that they have fallen into Satan’s trap.
Jesus made it very clear that it is impossible to live in this world and not have the opportunity to become offended. Yet most believers are shocked, bewildered, and amazed when it happens. (Luke 17: 1)
Offence leaves us vulnerable to a root of resentment, which leads to bitterness and finally to hate (Matt 24:12). When an offense occurs, a debt is owed. So forgiveness is like the cancellation of a debt. An offended Christian is one who takes in life but because of fear, cant release it. Devastation, Overwhelming rejection, abandonment, betrayal create pain that is difficult to absorb and release. Many in the body are wounded, hurt and bitter, both within the walls of the church and outside, by Christian friends and even leaders.
Some have been betrayed by a Christian in a romantic relationship, some have been misused by a leader, some may have been sexually taken advantage of by a pastor, some may have been abused by a Christian lady you looked up to,some may have been stigmatized because they don’t share the same doctrine or beliefs. The Lord is speaking that we turn a new page in 2018.
We reached a scary point this year of “One God for all, and everyone for themselves.” Many fall outs, arguments, threats, abuses, pride and stumbling of others. A counterfeit revival at times, having huge multimedia events, lights, publicity to ‘spread the gospel’ yet our backyards have lost souls, yet our pastors can’t see eye to eye, yet many are emotionally hurting, sexually exploited, yet many walk to church in poverty as the pastor amasses wealth, we were used car salesmen, falling for the bait of satan, Offence and unforgiveness.
Leaders had reached demi-god status as many abandoned family and friends who didn’t agree with their Papa. As a result we are “dead corpses” walking with secret offence and hurt.
Someone once said “Bitterness is unfulfilled revenge.” It’s unrighteous for us as children of God to avenge ourselves. A person who cannot forgive has forgotten how great a debt God has forgiven them, despite whatever doctrine you believe, its Biblical truth! But that is exactly what we are seeking when we refuse to forgive or pretend to, and don’t live out love. Whether an ex, friend, brother or father, I guess 2018 is for being intentional with dealing with offence. (2 Tim 2:24-26)
Maybe some blessing and opportunities have been delayed because we failed to deal with these offences and at times doors will open up when we let go. Many of us have been unable to function properly our gifts and callings because of the wounds and hurts that offenses have caused in their lives,myself too.
We can always delay dealing with it or ignore it and make ourselves busy,but wounds rot with time if not treated, even if you use painkillers or distractions. We need to get rid of our right to be angry, offended and hurt with help of the Holy Spirit. Pride keeps you from dealing with truth. It distorts our vision. God tests His servants with obedience.
Christian life comes with expectation from the world and believers, and in the end it makes you vulnerable to offence, being used, persecuted and being taken advantage of. If we don’t risk being hurt, we cannot give unconditional love.
Trials in this life will expose what is in your heart. But there power in vulnerability, it allows entire dependence on God and his Holy Spirit. Freedom from the trap of offence. When you pray for your enemy or extend mercy to someone who least deserves it and practically love them, it resounds with God’s heart and releases all sorts of curses, delays and failures from your life. Because the devil can’t hold anything against you and you ashame him. Which is better? The fruit of righteousness of the fruit of bitterness?
God is challenging us a Body of Christ in Uganda, to be intentional and sincere with each other as brothers and sisters in 2018, despite our sects (Baptists, Born-agains, Catholics, Seventh Days etc), leaders and backgrounds, despite which Papa or Prophet you subscribe to, let’s love independent of “men of God” and their ‘ideas’ or ‘revelations’.
Let’s not take God for a fool and live out his principles, and he’ll uproot any leader against unity. This may be so hard initially, but he is asking you to reconnect with your family members, old friends, apologize and reach out to those who hurt you or whom you hurt, share a hug with someone you hurt, speak life, bless than curse and see more amazing breakthroughs in your lifestyle,healthcare, finances, business and job.
Do the same for any area where you felt offended, trust God and act. Love is the bottom line in our relationship with the Lord – not love of churches,leaders,principles, doctrine and teachings, but love for the Person of Jesus Christ. It’s not difficult to obey when you know the character and love of the one to whom you are submitting to. Only then is when we can see a true revival in Uganda in 2018! That’s my prayer, do share it and believe with me.
Happy New Year.
The writer is a music minster and computer engineer.