Samuel O. Doku
In her early morning devotional, Deaconess Sandrine Tankeu, PhD, called on Christians everywhere to develop a spirit of edification so that we would help one another in times of need. The deaconess’s call makes a lot of sense because after all, a basic premise of Christianity is faith working through deeds or actions.
Her devotional was informed by Acts 10: 9-16, an important scripture that fundamentally rejects any inscription in cultural or religious differences that some use to demean and debase others from being members of their faith. Cornelius was a Gentile because he was uncircumcised, and Peter was a Jew because he was circumcised.
Because of the differences in the two cultures, Jews, in the past, refused to intermingle with Gentiles. But, Cornelius, despite being a Gentile, was a righteous man, who prayed or a regular basis and obeyed God’s word. When Peter was asked to go and interact with him and share the word of God with him and other Gentiles, he was initially adamant, calling Cornelius impure because of he was not circumcised; however, the omnipotent God asked Peter to go because Cornelius was a righteous man.
As Deaconess Sandrine put it, “What God has created, don’t call unclean or impure. Peter protested when God sent him to Cornelius because he thought he was impure. Don’t call anything impure. But what do we have in the church today? Church members calling others unclean and impure because they are from different cultures. Let’s build up one another through the spirit of edification and stop judging others. After all, who are we to judge God’s creations by determining who is holy and who is unclean. We should know that we are saved by his mercy.”
Deaconess Tankeu noted that sadly there are some hypocrites parading as born-again Christians, who reject the assurance of Christ that he would baptize with the fire of the Holy Ghost and regard any Christian not baptized by total immersion as unclean and not worthy to be intermingled with. ”How could they use the same mouth they use in worshipping and praising God to condemn others, when they should, in fact, be praying and sharing the word with them like God instructed Peter to do,” observed Sister Sandrine with impassioned zeal.
Furthermore, she quoted Proverbs 18: 18 in which Solomon says, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” And Proverbs. 18: 8 says, “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts.”
She asserted, “We must learn to love right acts, even if they are being done by someone from a different culture. Let’s justify what is good and right. The church is neither a social club nor an association of tribes. It is a place where people from different cultures come together to worship our Creator and pay homage to his greatness. Our God is a living God, so the church should not be treated like a museum, where we come to treat Christianity as if it’s an artifact in antiquity for observation. Christ came so that the gospel would be served.”
In addition, she said, “Don’t condemn others. Listen to the good things that come out of the mouths of the righteous on different occasions and learn from them. As Senior Pastor Georges keeps saying, ‘if you have nothing good to say, just keep quiet. It’s that simple.’ Remember the story of Sambalat, the traitor and Tobias? Stop the gossiping because it can tear the church apart. We should know how to be true worshippers of God.”
Deaconess Sandrine reminded participants of the scripture in Acts 4: 11 of Jesus being the stone the builders rejected that became the foundation of the house. “Looking at others as if they are not worthy may return to haunt you because of what they will eventually become. Gossiping occurs because those who indulge in it look at others as if they don’t belong to their ilk. Why do we claim to love God and not others?”
Dr. Tankeu asked Christians to be bold and courageous in their rejection of Satan’s attempt to tear apart the children of God. Be loving and be builders of people’s confidence in truth and in honesty. We need to use the word of God when discussing problems with others. You can also build by example. In all these, ask yourself if you are a builder or a destroyer? Reflect on it, and renew your heart, if you belong to the latter,” stated Dr. Sandrine Tankeu, after quoting Romans 14: 19 and 1 Corinthians.
Pastor Jean Paul Ntap responded with a call for members of the Church to be one and unite in spirit because “if we are one in spirit, we wouldn’t gossip about one another. We should be one another’s gatekeeper.” He read 2 Thessalonians 3: 16-17, saying, “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”
The man of God said tender care should be taken of the weak; pray with them, and those who need help should be given the assistance they need and be encouraged. “Let’s be the Church of God through unity. A house divided can’t stand the evil attempts of the devil, but a house united can scale over any evil machinations. Don’t waste your time by gossiping; it’s not worth it,” Pastor Ntap.