Church not a crime fighter? I beg to differ

Thursday, March 22, 2018

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Dear Editor,

The recent front-page article in the Jamaica Observer, entitled 'Church not a crime fighter', dated March 20, 2018, quoted Reverend Jonathan Hemmings as saying: “The Church's place is not in crime fighting. We are not trained for it.” That statement could erroneously lead Christian people away from their civil responsibilities as citizens, as well as their spiritual obligations as the body of Christ — a responsibility which entreats us to fight crime.

The Church in Jamaica, like the rest of the nation, encounters crime. Individual members of the Church come face to face with crime when a teacher or student is killed, someone's child is killed on a bus for a cellphone, a young man is shot in a taxi because the taxi driver allegedly hit another car, and a person is abducted while taking a taxi. Church members have been caught in the midst of gang feuds, gunned down at home, and chopped to death by relatives who sought to satisfy the requirements of a gang, gain favour by demonic involvement, or get rich through scamming. The nation, including the Church, has been heavily impacted by crime.

The church has a responsibility to respond not only because we face crime, but because God expects it. The Christian Church must stomp out the existing practices of crime to bring about peace.

According to Jeremiah 1:10, believers are given the power to root out, pull down, pluck up, and destroy before they can build and plant where there is peace. It was God who gave us the power, and because He gave us the power, He expects us to use it.

History is replete with representatives of the Church who took a stand for the betterment of the nation; recall Martin Luther King Jr and Paul Bogle, to name a few.

There are at least two levels on which the Church is trained to engage in the fight against crime:

(1) the spiritual and psycho-social level; and

(2) the physical.

For spiritual crime fighting it requires the Church (collective) to take, by force, this monster of crime through fasting, repentance, and declarative prayer to subdue it in this nation. Likewise, each wounded Christian that has felt the impact of the crime monster should join the war with every ounce of strength fuelled by his or her pain.

The Bible states that the Christian's weapons are not for hand-to-hand combat. The Christian does not fight with guns, spear and swords. Instead, the Christian's weapons are spiritual, and a spiritual war is needed to fight crime.

Crime fighting also requires that the prophets in the land advise the Government and Opposition of what God is saying about the nation today. When the Government sees the manifestations shortly thereafter, then they will believe in this method of fighting crime — spiritual crime fighting.

Psycho-social crime fighting will involve methodologies to heal, manage and care for individuals. Behavioural change will be lasting if there is spiritual transformation; that is, individuals with demonic possession ought to be delivered and set free. Hence, this aspect forms an integral part of spiritual crime fighting.

Physical crime fighting involves the Christian citizen modelling righteous and excellent standards at home, school, work, church, every place of influence, so that others, including the younger generation, will see this and be influenced to do the same. Invariably, it is expected that others, in particular the youth, will be rescued from lawlessness and a world of crime.

Similarly, the Christian citizen is expected to be far removed from corrupt practices, so that we may influence similar behaviours among non-Christians and advance a better society in the long run.

Once these things are done consistently, we will see a better Jamaica that will help the police and the army to fight crime. The police and army can then focus on apprehending criminals, finding the guns, and unravelling the gangs, where they exist.

Ultimately, the Church, together with the Government, should take active roles in governance, education, debates, etc, to have its voice of righteousness and godly wisdom heard, so as to help rebuild a nation based on justice and peace.

Government must serve efficiently and responsibly, but it cannot be successful without the church, who must spiritually fight against crime and stand in the gap before God for the nation.

Already, many Christians think they should have nothing to do with the world, ie Government and governance of the nation. This is not the will of God. We cannot perpetuate that error. The Church is trained to be an active part of the land, which means it must also fight crime.

Ouida Williams

gideon300trailblazer@gmail.com

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