In Greek mythology Pandora is created by Zeus and given as a wedding gift to the brother of his enemy Prometheus along with a jar containing the many evils of the world. Pandora opens the jar and on realising what she had done she tries to close it in haste; the anguish of the moment is captured in a painting by FS Church in which the young bride kneels helplessly on the box – as one might an over filled suitcase – in an effort to contain the escaping forces of evil.
Over the past few months the call has gone out for sexual predator pastors and prophets to address the issue of sexual abuse. Like Pandora many in the, PR and Media departments in the prophetic churches and indeed the church in general have tried to cover for the sins of their leaders and have battled to spin and redefine sin and reorder the steps of repentance and restitution.
Many of us have trouble with the concept of sin. It is difficult to accept that even when we are trying to be good, there are areas of our life that remain sinful. We may still harbour lusts, or tell lies, or make hurtful comments to others.
Hard as it is to accept our failures, it may be even harder to confess them – even privately in prayer to God. Clearly, however, that is what God requires:
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
There is a video of Prophet Magaya which was recorded of him making some shocking confession about having an affair with one of his ‘Spiritual daughters’/ congregates. Then he brazenly talks of offering 10 thousand dollars as a handshake to the whistle-blower who confronts him with information pertaining the affair.
Confession of Sin – What Does It Accomplish?
Confession of sin alone is not all that God requires. He asks that we repent, that we turn away from our sinful activities and turn instead to follow Him. Repentance can be defined as: “A turning away from sin, disobedience, or rebellion and a turning back to God. In a more general sense, repentance means a change of mind or a feeling of remorse or regret for past conduct. True repentance is a ‘godly sorrow’ for sin, an act of turning around and going in the opposite direction. This type of repentance leads to a fundamental change in a person’s relationship to God.”
The reason why Prophet Magaya is still haunted by this issue is because he may have thought he could short circuit the process of repentance. He may have thought as a Prophet he is too big to follow the laid-out steps of repentance. Too important to go through the humiliation of repentance but that’s where he opened himself up for more trouble. The truth is no one can rob God no one is above reproach and repentance is a process that has to be followed by all regardless of status or position.
The Apostle Paul notes this in Acts 3:19-20
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you – even Jesus.”
Repentance doesn’t mean we become perfect. God understands that even at our best, we may backslide at times. However, every time we seek His forgiveness, we will receive it.
Prophet Magaya tried to cover his sin with money but 10 thousand dollars could not bury it. Yes they say money answerth all things, but as for sin it is the blood of Jesus Christ that can wash sins away and the blood of Christ is priceless.
Confession of Sin – The Outcome
There is even better news for those who have learned to confess their sins, to repent and to turn to God.
The Bible says Jesus Himself will come to our aid.
“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1-2).
Prophet Magaya’s case has now escalated into the courts he currently faces three charges namely
- Unlawful termination of pregnancy
- Obstructing and defeating the course of Justice
Maybe a confession and genuine admission to having an illicit affair could have saved him all this trouble and time in court.
When sins are forgiven by God, the Bible says that God does not hold those sins against us. Psalm 103:11-12 says, “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
But, Prophet Magaya opened himself up for extortion because those in his security team took advantage of the information that they knew and used it to extort him. This is what happens when you try to bury sin with money. Only the blood of Jesus Christ can wash sins clean.
Prophets and Pastor indeed, all men and women out there, learn this simple truth ‘you are not immune to the law and you are not above reproach.’ Therefore, repentance is also a process that you like all and sundry must follow when you find yourself in sin.
For many in the affected churches where abuse is rampant, they have become victims of spiritual abuse themselves. The defence is the now all too common mantra “Touch not the anointed” even with hard evidence presented before them the cry is still, God will deal with his servant, touch not the anointed. (Well, excuse me but the law of the land will touch even the most anointed if they break the law no anointing is above the law).
Faith and belief are complex issues and what is or is not coercion or the abuse of power will be hard to define in many instances. What some experience as abusive or damaging, others will welcome as the work of the Spirit and the discipline of discipleship. Is it possible or desirable to legislate for the experience of another?
For many I suspect the realisation of spiritual abuse will remain undefined and unexpressed until the maturity of adulthood or the gift of hindsight is available to them.
What the church needs to be clear about is that the issue of spiritual abuse and the stories of its victims are not going away.
Pandora’s box is already open, and we would be very unwise to try and shut it.