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Don’t pass on your grudge to your children

MWELWA and Mwenya are twins and they have recently started attending our church. Their mother is dead. Their father is alive but because they were born from his girlfriend when he was already married he finds it difficult to support them.
I found out that initially the father of Mwelwa and Mwenya had a good job and so he was able to sneak some support to them through their mother regularly. However, he lost his job and is now dependent on his wife. She wants to have nothing to do with these kids.
I also found out that although Mwelwa and Mwenya were now living in abject poverty they had two uncles and two aunts in Lusaka who were financially well off. I talked to them and they were all very willing to help the twins by looking after them.
One uncle even said to me, “Pastor Chanda, those children are our children. How they were born is immaterial. They are of our very blood. How can we want to have nothing to do with them? We have tried to reach out to them but they do not want any help from us.”
Thankfully, each one of them—the two uncles and the two aunts—gave me the same story and so I was able to piece things together. Mwelwa and Mwenya had been told by their late mother never to have anything to do with her brothers and sisters.
Their late mother had been telling them as they were growing up that her brothers and sisters were very bad. She told them again and again that they knew how she was suffering to bring them up but they were not coming to visit her or to help her financially.
The children had drunk in this “poison” for years. Hence, now that their mother had died and they were teenagers they were carrying on her battle for her. They refused to even relate to their cousins, as if their cousins had also been at enmity with their late mother.
Of course, curiosity got the better of me. I wanted to know how the relationship had deteriorated between Mwelwa and Mwenya’s mother and her siblings. There were two versions of the story and I must admit that I believed that of the uncles and aunts.
They said to me, “Pastor Chanda, we are Christians. When our sister began having an affair with a married man, we were totally opposed to it. We told our sister in no uncertain terms that what she was doing was wrong but she would not listen to us.”
They added, “The man’s wife discovered the affair and appealed to us to talk with our sister. She simply shut us out of her life. The man had been telling her that he was about to divorce his wife and would marry her. When she got pregnant he abandoned her.”
They went on to say, “We are the ones who confronted the man and insisted that he should support the children he had brought into this world even if he was no longer having the illicit affair with our sister. So, we did not look the other way.”
They ended by telling me, “Our sister was bitter towards us. She thought that it was because of our intervention that the man did not divorce his wife and marry her. So, as the children grew up she kept them away from us and told them that we did not want them.”
It was the mother’s version that Mwelwa and Mwenya had. As far as they were concerned, their mother’s siblings were very bad. They did not want to have anything to do with them. If they did, then where were they when their mother was alive?
I had a number of counselling sessions with Mwelwa and Mwenya but I could tell that it was too little too late. They had drunk in the “poison” from their mother for many years and it was almost impossible for that to be removed from their minds in a few hours.
I learned one thing from all this. Parent must never pass on their family grudges to their children. They must allow them the opportunity to develop wholesome relationships with their blood relatives. Your enemies are not necessarily your children’s enemies!
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