When a woman is wondering how to share the last piece of bread among her two or more hungry children, the last thing she wants to hear is your sermon about having faith.
Faith is not going to feed, clothe or keep those children sheltered. It is easy when you have a job, a home, are in good health and everything is going well for you to tell someone who is struggling to have faith. It is easy to believe in God when your stomach is full.
There is nothing as staggeringly unfeeling and depressing as hearing someone tell you to have faith when you have hit rock bottom. To the person who is down on their luck, this just sounds like you are mocking their level of faith. And if they are not of Christian faith it will feel like you are telling them they are where they are because they do not believe in God.
When someone is already questioning the whole faith thing, telling them to believe in a God they feel has forsaken them is like an insult. Sometimes people need more than words of faith.
I get why some people believe in science. It is something that they can prove. I have seen people give everything – heart, material and soul to their chosen religious faith and still die poor. The truth is that there are some people with faith who strike it rich and there is an even bigger number of non-believers who are wealthy. There is also a huge population of poverty-stricken people who might never hold a job in their entire life and some of them are dedicated Christians.
The problem with new age Christianity is that everyone who gets the saved bug feels it is their obligation to bombard those around them with chain social media messages promising good fortune to all who keep the chain messages going. The idea is to get more people praying but it is useless because those who might actually pray and pass on the messages simply do it to try their luck. It becomes one more game of chance.
If you want to win souls do it but do not lie about how people will live to prosper.
If someone comes to you asking for help sometimes all they need are ideas on how to get a job or start a small legal money-making venture so they do not end up on the streets begging. Sometimes people need immediate help to get through that day. Two years ago, I saw a story about a mother and her daughter who starved to death but they were surrounded by people they fellowshipped with. Things like that should not happen but they do every day.
When tragedy strikes you hear some people say, “Why did he or she not ask for help? I saw him/her last week and I didn’t realise things were that bad.”
But, when so many doors have been slammed in your face you stop asking for help or telling people how difficult things are for you. Sometimes people go through hell on their own because even when they try talking nobody listens. Some who pretend to listen always say’ “You know I’m always there if you need me.” That there is a polite door slam. A person who wants to help will ask, “How or what can I do to help.”
Do not apply Christianity to every problem because some people are not Christians and that is not a crime. If you are going to go into Christian mode then you must remember that faith on your part must be backed by works – teach the person you want to convert by example. Help someone beyond spouting the Good News. Learn to say how can I make it better.
Do not judge others according to your levels of faith or good fortune. Zimbabwe is going through more than 85% unemployment harsh economic conditions and more and more people are struggling to put food on the table or depression. We need to be kinder to others.
Own your beliefs but do not force-feed them to others.