Can we help? with PASTOR & MRS BANDA
DEAR Raphael and Namukolo,
I greatly appreciate it that my wife is a committed born-again Christian, but her commitment has come with challenges. She belongs to a number of ministries and is also involved with a number of programmes in her church.
In addition, she is often involved in overnight prayer meetings, almost on a weekly basis. The end result is that she is hardly at home.
We have two small children aged six and three, who I fear are being neglected. Sometimes, we eat hastily and badly prepared food because she is not there to cook for the family.
Many other aspects of our family life are also suffering as a result of her church commitments.
Is this what it means to be a committed Christian or is she over doing it?
Your concerns are genuine.
God indeed wants us not only to become Christians but also to belong to a church family. He gave us the church in order for it to serve specific purposes. The church is there to equip us for useful service in various departments of life in this world. It was never meant to be an end in itself.
Unfortunately, the church’s function has not only been misunderstood by many but it has also out rightly been hijacked.
Going to church can be compared to motorists going to the filling station to refuel. We do not go to filling stations and remain there; we refuel so that we are able to get to our destinations and to run various errands.
Similarly, we go to church not to stay there but to get equipped to perform our God-given roles better.
This is what the Bible teaches, as evidenced from the scripture.
Ephesians 4:11-12: “It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.”
With respect to the home, the Christian husband is equipped to love his wife as he loves his own body, to provide for her various needs, to protect her from all forms of dangers and to ensure that she is being purified or being made a better person. He is also equipped to be a better father to the children, one who is loving but firm and will not, by his behaviour, exasperate the children.
Ephesians 5:28: “In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” Ephesians 6:4: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
Coming to the Christian wife, the church is there to equip her to be a respectful and submissive wife and a very responsible mother to her children. Ephesians 5:22: “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. Ephesians 5:33 says the wife must respect her husband.
Titus 2:3-5: “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”
Notice how the church leaders are to teach the wives to be busy at home and not at church. Not that they should not be committed to church activities, but meaning that what happens at church should have the end result of turning them into responsible wives and mothers.
So the behaviour of your wife is not consistent with the Christian teaching and she should therefore not give church as an excuse for neglecting her own family.
In the same vein, it is highly irresponsible for any church to operate in such a manner as it makes it difficult for its members to fulfil their domestic roles. Church leaders must monitor the number of ministry activities in which their church members are involved. They must equally think through the timings of their church programmes to ensure that they do not compromise families.
Wives and mothers must be assisted to be fully devoted to their families. Sadly, we are seeing a growing trend where some married women are closer to their pastors than they are with their husbands. This is a recipe for disaster.
You must therefore gently talk to your wife as well as her church leaders to quickly address this matter.
Never consider divorce as an option. Remember that a “perfect marriage” is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each.