Right in the centre - Those problem people


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

Easter is a wonderful time of year. Spring is coming soon. Gardens will be planted, crops seeded, cattle will soon be out on the pasture. Summer awaits us all. Easter is when we are reminded that God made us all, the world and everything in it. Easter is when we are reminded that God sent Jesus as our Saviour.

The Christian Church teaches that all people have sinned. That’s an old-fashioned word isn’t it? Sinned! It’s true, everyone has sinned, sinners don’t get to Heaven without being forgiven of their sin and Jesus died on a cross, was placed in a tomb and rose to life on the third day so that we might have that forgiveness. By Christ’s sacrifice, we can be forgiven and when life on earth is done, we can go to Heaven. It’s so simple that it can mystify a person. It mystifies me; I can’t fully explain it, but I do believe in Jesus.

Several times I have run across other peoples’ experiences with Jesus. When my father-in-law died a number of years ago, his grandson (our son) officiated at the funeral. He stated, “Grandpa said he didn’t have a problem with God, but he did have a problem with the church.” The problem with the church may have gone back a long time, as grandpa’s mother told my wife and I that when she was a young woman during WWl in Europe, the local church was in charge of food rationing and distribution. For some reason, her family wasn’t in favour with the local church and didn’t get much food compared to others. We have our suspicions as to why that was, but we don’t really know. To publicly say the reasons would be presuming, but we do have some theories that make sense. Grandpa’s mother said they were forced to reap barley early, when it was still green, and try to make a poor kind of bread from it. She would get a slice of green barley bread and half a walnut per day as her ration.

I know of a man in a community in Manitoba who, as a young boy, was accused by the church leaders of throwing stones through the church windows. He said, he was no angel but he didn’t break windows. He was beaten and found it hard to forgive the church leaders. 

These two stories, now only foggy memories being re-told, show that while the message about Jesus is one thing, how Christians live out and practise their faith is quite another.

A student of Christianity once told me that, in spite of all the rules a group might try to enforce, the Christian faith stands on its own merit. That is true, or at least it should be true.

I recently heard that some people believe that Jesus is ok, but his wife is a problem. Jesus didn’t have a wife as such, but the whole Christian church is described as the “Bride of Christ”. I can see where people might be ok with Jesus, but have a real problem with his wife. The Church, or the Bride of Christ, has done some wonderful things for sure, but the hurt and screw-ups brought on by Christians have caused a lot of deep-seated problems for sure. 

One last story or lesson. When we let the problems caused by people come between us and God, we can only be sure of one thing. We can’t let the problem people, which happens to be us all at times, be closer to God than we are. Seeking God, accepting the sacrifice of Jesus, living for Him allows us to forgive the problem people and live in peace with God and others.

It’s not an easy road but it’s easier than fighting the problem people and being consumed by our experiences with them. It’s best to forgive and move on. Nobody needs the extra burden.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being the view of the Banner & Press staff.