Making Christian Influence Work

IMG_0459I didn’t know why the men argued with me when I said that they should not beat their spouses. “What about if she jilts you for another man?” That is no justification, I would say. The act of beating her is against the law of the land and is opposed to the law of Christ also. The women applauded, not too loudly, and not in their husbands’ presence. The men fumed.

I have been trying to influence these men in this mountain village to treat their wives well. If I find a couple unmarried, chances are, the lady is “wife” number 2. “Wife” number 1 shacked up with another man much younger, because the husband much older would often beat her. Their way to get even is to get another man. I said that is also the way of the dogs. You can do better. I jolted them with my language. The women understood. Still the men fumed.

In another instance, one lady I baptized decided not to return to her husband’s domicile, since according to her he has the habit of abusing her. She would rather remain unmarried. The husband got mad at me because he said I had poisoned his wife’s mind. I answered that I had nothing to do with the decision the wife had in mind. But would you mind trying a little kindness; if you do, may be she will return to you. He has not made any promise to turn over a new leaf, but the wife has pledged to turn over a new life for Jesus. Hence their paths will never meet. She is happy; he is sad. And angry.

However, the other lady I baptized was not fortunate. A week after baptism, her husband prevented her from coming to worship. This was the man who argued with me about his right to domesticate his wife if she jilts him for another man. What I taught him for an hour one Saturday afternoon never found a place in his heart.

His name is Hilarion, but he seems to have no hilarious nature; he is cranky all the time, and thinks everyone is out to cheat him of his money (his wife says he has none most of the time). One early Saturday morning he woke up and prayed to “Mary the Virgin,” and invited his wife to join him in prayer; she did not. Exactly an hour after he came to “Mary” on bended knees, he grabbed his wife’s neck (with the intent of killing her), boxed her face, her stomach and her shoulders.

I took pictures of the wife’s bruises–the black eyes, the brow beaten black and blue, and other hurts. I then realized that gospel teaching had found no meaning to this man, so I decided to give it meaning by taking his wife to the hospital, had her examined by a doctor, and helped her file a case against her abusive husband. Someone from the church assisted the man’s wife in filing a case against him at the barangay captain’s office. The barangay captain happens to be a woman with an advocacy.

Result: The man was made to spend for his wife’s hospital and medicine expenses. I even volunteered to call a police officer, but the wife said wait.

Those of us who have been proclaiming the good news have often been considered bad news by these evil men. What will you do if the word does not penetrate the heart?

My style is not to pay back evil for evil. I advised the wife not to pursue her demonic plan to set their house on fire, or to put cyanide in her husband’s drinks in order to get even. If the Lord will repay you for the kindness you have done, I told the woman, He will repay you also for the evils you have done. Setting your house on fire or poisoning your husband is taking the law into your hands; but calling the police is letting the police take the law into their hands. Who can resist the police?

Take it another way: Pray that God will take control. I mean pray for your husband, and the Lord surely will touch him. And the Lord will touch him in the right places; He will touch his body, or his soul, or both. You remember what I told you about Teban, how the Lord touched him because he despised the Word of God and made light of the message. The woman remembered; Teban the terror of the village church got sick before he died, but felt sorry and apologized to the church for his actions before he gave up the ghost.

I added: And the Lord will also touch your husband–in the right places. Body. Soul. Or both.

I have always taught these people in Sunday school or outside that the Lord has been using many institutions to correct the sinful and bring him back to His bosom. The home is one, because this is where good Christian values should first be taught. Then we have the school. Next the community. Then the church. It is in the church where the repentant find their place. I also believe it to be the refuge of the abused from the terrors of the abusive.

If these earthly institutions (the home, the school, and the community) fail, the law of the land takes control. These are the church’s handmaids to bring God’s erring daughters and sons to Him.

And if nothing works, if they will not listen to the gospel, then God, through circumstances in the world, takes control. Directly. In a way that there can be no escape.

Christians are to make their influence work as a kingdom of God on earth. They are to savour it with their salt; they are to let their light shine on it. That’s influence. And if this too fails, then God takes over. By His strong hand He takes control. Who then can withstand His power and His might?

“See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: Whose voice then shook the earth; but now he hath promised saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things that cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom that cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:25-29).

It is terrible to fall into the hands of the God who lives and rules the universe.

PS. I am also of the opinion that the recent raid made at the “Yearning for Zion” ranch In Eldorado, Texas by the officers of the law was God’s way of “cleansing evil of its dross.” Imagine rapacious men of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the polygamous wing of the Mormon church) abusing wives and teen-age females? That is simply a no-no. When Christian principles have been twisted and skewed to justify man’s rapacity for women’s flesh, in the name of religion, something more drastic than just calling Homeland Security and police officers should be done.

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