We pushed aside our menus after placing orders and started attacking the restaurant’s signature bread rolls. I was hanging out with a conscientious and self-motivated gentleman; It’s really a pleasure when we do. We mostly, cover family, career and our faith in our gist. We started this episode with our faith, where I mentioned how lots of people find it hard to forgive themselves even when God had forgiven them because of the kind of sermons preached to them. “Oooooohhhh…” he bewailed. “I got tired of leaving church every Sunday hearing that I was doing everything wrong. I got tired of been threatened with severe consequences. I lived like that for two years until I read a book by Dr Creflo Dollar that opened my eyes,” he concluded. He spoke about how he was made to betray and ostracize his non-Christian friends when he became born again. What really moved me was how he has not been able to win back their trust till date. He lost a lot including opportunity to showcase great things he was learning from his new faith due to wrong foundation.
The Reversed Model
Jesus Christ modeled the gospel of peace and love, and commands us to pass it on to the uttermost parts of the world by ‘making disciples of all nations’. A disciple is a follower and student of a mentor, teacher, or other figure, in our case, Jesus Christ. Awkwardly, we seem to have engendered a reverse system of Jesus’ model for raising disciples. He preached redemption and not condemnation. Intimidating people into submission in the Christian faith has only aided in raising Christians who see verbal, intellectual and emotional abuse as the only tool for evangelism.
When Christians are manipulated into losing their confidence in being able to discern the will of God for their lives they become foot soldiers extremist and cynics flaunting the empire and exploits of man above the gospel of Christ. I like to, expeditiously, mention that I am not out to mock religious leaders and their institutions. I am just a student of the school of thought that…
“he greatest threat to freedom is the absence of criticism”. – Wole Soyinka
Jesus came to take away our sins and not our minds.
The Obedience and Submission Principle
Almost weekly, I come across people crushed by centuries of oppression and domination, and forced into submitting their sense of security to man by people who will do anything to protect their empire and pose as righteous heroes. This is rather manipulative.
Manipulation in Christendom was birthed when the principle of obedience and submission was invoked by people who hijacked the gospel for their personal braggadocio. Such people considered it rebellious when someone questions their decisions or statements and spend a lot of time making people feel their sense of security only exist as long they remain under them. They preach about the kingdom but run the place like a fiefdom. These grubby doctrines have turned so many churches into a revolving door.
A good leader must learn to deal with questions and criticism in a compassionate and positive manner instead of considering them as threats to his or her position. In short leaders who care about the truth understand they are humans capable of self-deception and mistakes so they surround themselves with accountability and constructive criticism.