Over the past two months, ministry demand has occasioned me to attend quite a sizeable number of weddings and funerals.
This has caused me to witness some of the intricate politics of the family. I have seen some of the most extreme differences and animosity among family members which is the subject of our inquiry today.
An individual feeds into the family which in turn is the catchment area for the community and communities make up societies and nations.
Cause and effect should conclude that individual wellbeing and family cohesion and unity results in the vibrancy of nations.
When I painfully lost my parents one of my desires was to remain in a family set-up which my uncles ably did.
I am thankful to my late father’s brothers and their families and my late mother’s sisters and their families who have made sure up to now that I am not parentless. In fact, the whole clan has remained intact, which is great grace.
Families have changed homesteads, migrating from one rural are to another because they have been labelled witches or they are running away from bewitching uncles, but the truth is debatable.
Families have sought charms of protection from bewitching uncles. While they initially meant to protect themselves, the reality is that it has resulted in an “arms race”. Those with a powerful n’anga have won the battle.
People now prefer to befriend workmates and church mates, never mind the irony that they could also be labelled witches in their families.
Paradoxically your friends that are “so good” are never allowed to set foot in their uncles’ homes. We are not saying friendship is not good, but we are just asking, who is not a witch now?
However, those that are bewitching others, beware your days are numbered, those that are being bewitched seek or remain in the Lord whose wall of protection cannot be penetrated.
Let us return to the basic tenets of the values of the African ubuntu and be our brother’s keeper. Do not wreak havoc in the families, let the family live. I don’t know why we think that bad people are only found in our families and nowhere else.
Brothers grow up eating from the same plate and sharing clothes and the coming of wives may cause division and disintegration of the family.
Your wives do not separate brothers and you brothers refuse to be separated and do not be reason for separation of sisters that grew happily together.
I have witnessed weddings where just a handful or no relative at all is present, but only workmates and church mates. It is a sorry sight to have no close relatives at family gatherings.
Some relatives are prohibited from attending funerals because they are thought to be “eating” others.
Should we live a life of fear characterised by accusations and counter accusations? When we grew up, we did not have terms like uncle which tend to push our father’s brothers away from our DNA. Our father’s brothers are our fathers and our mother’s sisters are our mothers.
Families with strong relationships are usually very successful. The Bible supports this in Genesis 11:6: “And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.”
Even if you have differences, do not parade them to the rest of the world. Sit down as a family and talk. You may have different faiths and beliefs, but the Bible encourages you to be united, 1 Peter 4:8: “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” Proverbs 10:12 weighs in thus: “Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.” Remember that God is love, 1 John 4:8: “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”
We do not mean to expose the Christian to satanic attack, but be the conduit for God’s manifestation. While we do not want you to be reckless, we want to remind you that God promised to be with you till the end of time.
Let us have functioning families. Where we have to forgive, let us forgive and where we have to seek forgiveness, let us do so. Let the world be habitable by restoring the fabric of society.
You never know, maybe you are just demon-obsessed and your uncle is not a witch. Being spiritually sensitive does not mean you go on calling everyone a witch, but you have to drive out the devil instead. God says in Hebrews 13:1: “Let brotherly love continue.”
For further reading: Genesis 13:8, Hebrews 12:14 and Psalm 133:1