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Theresa Omoronyia: Understanding the Principles of “Touch Not My Anointed” & “Judge Not”

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If you are a Nigerian or know anything about Nigerians, you will agree that we will happily go to war over religious and tribal differences. The terrorist activities of Boko Haram is an example of religious fervour gone wrong, but that is not all. There is another kind of religious fervour especially among some Christians that make them almost worship their clergymen. These people will happily turn deaf ears and blind eyes to any contrary opinion of their ‘Men of God’. Any attempt to tell them otherwise is met with a chorus of “judge not” and “touch not my anointed”. In the light of recent scandals involving men of God, it becomes necessary to understand what these verses mean.

The phrase “touch my anointed” was said by King David in Psalm105:15 as a thanksgiving to God for protecting the Israelites from other more powerful nations as they journeyed to the Promised Land. This is a broader picture of that text starting from verse 12 to verse 15

…12When they were only a few men in number, Very few, and strangers in it. 13And they wandered about from nation to nation, From one kingdom to another people. 14He permitted no man to oppress them, And He reproved kings for their sakes: 15″Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no harm.”

You can see here that the words ‘anointed’ and ‘prophets’ referred to the nation of Israel and the harm referred to was physical harm, not speaking the truth.

The next commonly used phrase by Christians to keep quiet in the face of evil and injustice, especially if it concerns the clergy, is “judge not”. Again it is very helpful to understand the context in which Jesus said that. The phrase is found in Matthew 7:1-3

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

So what was Jesus saying? Jesus was talking about the hypocritical self-righteous criticism of the religious leaders, the Pharisees. These people were quick to condemn others who were not as ‘holy’ as them. They actually condemned people on the basis of their dressing, their profession, their manner of eating, their religious inclinations, their ability to give, etc. Again you see here that the judging Jesus is talking about is not one that comes from speaking out against sinful or criminal behaviour, but a judging based solely on a feeling of “I am better than you because you don’t do things the way I do them”. So if we start criticizing someone just because they belong to a different church, religion, tribe or do things differently, then we are judging wrongly.

There is another kind of judging, however, which is encouraged in the Bible. But before we look at that, we have to understand that synonyms for the word ‘judge’ include:’evaluate’, ‘analyze’, ‘discern’, etc. and it is this kind of judging that the Bible encourages us to do in the following verses:
Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?” – Luke 12:57.
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” -1John 4:1
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” – 1Thessalonians 5:21

So we can see that the Bible encourages us to discern between good and bad behaviour as well as false and truthful teaching, instead of just accepting everything somebody says, clergy or not. Having said that, I know some die-hard Christians will still argue about this issue largely because of misconceptions such as the following.

Inferiority complex: The Bible tells us that before God there is no difference between male or female, Jew or Gentile, clergy or lay member, rich or poor, etc. We are all one and He loves us all equally. We are not to feel inferior before anyone, not even the clergy. Yes we should respect them, but we are not stand in awe of them. People in pagan societies used to dread juju priests because they were the only ones who could talk with the gods. As Christians however, we are all joint-heirs with Christ and can boldly approach the throne of God, because He is our father. Before God, your pastor or priest or deacon/elder is not more important than you.

Fear of God’s wrath: Some people think God is an angry slave master, who is too eager to whip us in line. On the contrary He is a merciful, loving and forgiving God. People sometimes base their fear on the punishment God inflicted on Miriam, the sister of Moses, for criticizing his decision to marry a foreign wife. But Miriam’s actions were wrong because:
1. She did not speak to Moses about her grudge, instead she gossiped with Aaron about it.
2. She was resentful; she said, “Has the LORD only spoken to Moses? Hasn’t He also spoken to us?” – Numbers 12:2

She wasn’t punished because she spoke against their leader, but because of her motives and manner of going about it. In the New Testament, (Galatians 2:11-13) we see the right way to go about speaking out concerning the wrong behaviour of a leader. Paul, who was not one of the original disciples of Jesus, (in fact he was initially a persecutor of Christians), confronted Apostle Peter about his hypocritical behaviour regarding Jews and Gentiles, which was leading others astray. Paul did not gossip about Peter’s wrong behaviour and his motives were noble: to save Peter from wrong doing and to prevent rifts in the church.

Ignorance of our roles as watchmen/women: We are reminded of our roles as watchmen and watch women in Ezekiel chapters 3 and 33. When we see a wrong behaviour by a fellow Christian, whether a clergyman or lay member, we are to correct them, in love not as though we are better. Failure to bring their attention to their wrong behaviour will not absolve us of any responsibility of their actions. Indeed God said that when that person is punished, He will hold us responsible because we failed to correct them.

So what should we do when we notice a leader in the house of God is abusing his power especially against the weaker members? We have to recognise that God is not happy that His child (the victim) is taken advantage of. I like to think that God is more concerned about vulnerable and hurting people. Indeed Jesus on several occasions, ‘broke’ the Sabbath day law by healing hurting people. Jesus often said that He came for the ‘sick’ because the healthy did not need doctors. Indeed there are many verses in the Bible that encourage us to do good, seek justice and defend the oppressed, regardless of who their tormentor is.

Your clergymen are not beyond temptations, they like everyone, have weaknesses. It our responsibility to point out their wrong actions, in order to help them and the entire church. Look around you, more and more Africans and indeed Nigerians are becoming disillusioned about organized religion and the behaviour of their religious leaders. And this is largely because religious people like to pretend all is well when it isn’t. I have found that before the sins of a religious leader become a big scandal, some people in his church would have known about it earlier, but refused to caution him appropriately. One of the reasons the Roman Catholic Church has lost credibility in some European countries is because they kept quiet when children were sexually abused. The Church in its attempt to ‘protect’ its image, covered evil, unfortunately that action backfired.

So I encourage you, you are not committing any sin by speaking the truth against evil. The consequences of keeping quiet when we see injustice and oppression, even those committed by the clergy, are often worse than whatever ‘harm’ we could ever possibly do by speaking up.

Photo Credit:colourbox.com

___________________________________________________________________________________________
Theresa Omoronyia is a trained business analyst and has degrees in Management Science and Computer Science. She lives in Glasgow, UK with her husband and son. Theresa enjoys being with people and her passion is to help those who are hurting. Please visit her blog for inspiration and motivation at http://thesisterskeeper.blogspot.co.uk

I think everyone has unique attributes to make a positive impact in this world. I hope my articles encourage people to "think right, feel right and do right". Professionally I am a trained business analyst with degrees in Management Science and Computer Science. I am happily married with children. I blog at http://thesisterskeeper.blogspot.co.uk

41 Comments

  1. Ugo

    September 24, 2013 at 9:21 am

    okay.

  2. Iyke

    September 24, 2013 at 9:26 am

    I love God, read the scriptures when I can, and wise enough not to allow the pastors twist my mind to justify their actions. And of course, not speaking out makes it worse.
    I sometimes remind myself of the me I live each day to be…The me I want the world to value…respect…regard…and see…
    The me that lives beyond the muck and matter of other people’s rants harsh and brutal…hurtful…senseless attacks…mindless aimless chatter…
    The me that accepts…truth…care…promise…hope…fulfillment to heart…
    The me that dreams a world of souls who want more than living under the umbrella of ‘Touch not my anointed’.
    After all, at the end of the day, I ain’t trying to climb nobody’s mountain…but my own!

  3. Hurpeyeahmie

    September 24, 2013 at 9:29 am

    hmmmmmmmmm lips sealed

  4. mimi

    September 24, 2013 at 9:31 am

    lol OKAY

  5. aiyeesh

    September 24, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Thank you ooooo!! Like I always say, when it comes to religion people (not just Nigerians) swith off all logical faculties and leave on their baser instincts. I really do appreciate this write up.

  6. tobiloba

    September 24, 2013 at 9:37 am

    This is a really good piece.

  7. Iyke

    September 24, 2013 at 9:38 am

    Lift us up Lord…beyond the clouded clots of our thoughts…free to wonder as we wander, unclaimed by hostile invention, mired or burden with the unnecessary interruptions of small minds and places… Open the vault of life expressions…allow us to bathe a new…refresh. Deliver us unencumbered and whole from the clutches of those who twist your words…Amen…

  8. jayla

    September 24, 2013 at 9:51 am

    when people start telling themselves the truth and taking their time to understand the word of God for themselves and not just what their pastors say, then we would all under stand the reason behind going to church is not to worship our pastors or honour them but to worship God with other true brethrens who have come for the same reason, thats the idea behind “forsake not the gathering of the brethren” Even CAN would keep quiet when Jesus is insulted but have the guts to speak up when their leader is being insulted! what do they think they’re telling the Christian congregation in Nigeria? Truth is the world is coming to an end and like the Bible said many would come in His name but not all are for Him…..lets ask God for wisdom and a discerning Spirit to lead nd guide us in this end time

  9. Adeola

    September 24, 2013 at 9:59 am

    To those saying hmmn and okay. Brain washed cowards. If it was Toke Makinwa or Stella Damasus or Chikw Ike or even Tonto, your fingers will be itching to type. You judge them every day, tongue lash them past the point of meanness. When it gets to your pastors you quickly cower behind and say judge not. You think those other people are not children of the Lord too? You can do them harm without thinking about it. The do nothing wrong but living their lives and doing their jobs. A Pastor can be extravagant, flamboyant, sleep with whomever suddenly their is quiet all around. BS. As for me and my house, we serve the Lord. We are anointed, we are his prophets. Those words are not reserved for Pastors alone. We are not second class citizens in His eyes. How Pastors have sold that cool aid to Nigerians I dont get. They have given themselves immunity against reproach by twisting the Bible to suit themselves. Gullible sheeple. Thank you Theresa. Well said

    • nomzy

      September 24, 2013 at 11:04 am

      Thank you very much for that, after going through the previous comments I thought why are people saying lip sealed, okay? If it was to talk about people toning or weight gain they’ll have a lot to say. We have a lot of people in our country that worship their pastors, imams and so on. I don’t understand why a pastor will tell a member to bathe in the church for cleansing and the stupid member will do it, or having different sects in a church where some are for millionaires only. So many random things being practiced in churches today that i still haven’t found in the bible, silly cowards won’t speak up about the wrong doings of their pastors instead they say yes sir to every thing their pastors tell them.

  10. viv

    September 24, 2013 at 10:06 am

    I thoroughly enjoyed this well thought out write up. We all need to get to that point when we know God for ourselves and not let ‘men’ push us around. SPEAK OUT when your leader is going astray and don’t cover up. They are not Gods!

  11. I Rock

    September 24, 2013 at 10:10 am

    To some Nigerians, “Touch not my anointed” and “Judge not” are just like the quotation in the Bible that talks about “wives submitting to their husbands”…they chose the parts that suit them and they ruuuuuuuun with it. Forget about reading the following verses.

    • Adeola

      September 24, 2013 at 10:19 am

      All we hear is wives submit. Oya but men do you love your wives like Christ loved the church? No wait, that was a rhetorical question.

    • omada

      September 28, 2013 at 12:44 am

      HAHAHA…. My sister….

  12. X- Factor

    September 24, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Fab!

  13. Adeola

    September 24, 2013 at 10:24 am

    All we hear is wives submit. Oya but men do you love your wives like Christ loved the church? No wait, that was a rhetorical question.

  14. Iris

    September 24, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Theresa, God bless you and yours for this piece. As in BLESS YOU. I have actually just prayed for God to bless you. You give me hope that at least some people in Nigeria are not soft in the brain and know how to use what God gave them to be productive.

  15. Idak

    September 24, 2013 at 10:29 am

    There is nothing new to say on this matter. Even if you bring a video showing one of these pastors defiling a female church member, some fellow will still defend him.I just replied one of them on that ‘robust reply’ article. Until we choose to read the bible for ourselves and know the God of the bible for ourselves,all this will not end. All these manipulation,seduction and control are a direct product of microwave Christianity. Until we choose to be like the Berean church,we are on a long thing!
    I have long chosen to look unto Jesus,the author and finisher of my faith. Every other man or woman is a side attraction and i refuse to be distracted. Every man of God is a man,first of all and very fallible. Anyone that attempts to convince you otherwise is a liar and not worthy of his/her calling.

  16. Idak

    September 24, 2013 at 10:32 am

    On a final note, we all need to speak out and not buy into that lie that because your life is imperfect, we are hypocrites if we speak out against evil. As long as you are working out your mess and leaning on God’s grace and mercy,you have the right to speak out. If we wait for when we are perfect before speaking, we will never speak and evil will overwhelm us. Besides,the pastor do will have no right to speak against the evil in my life as he too remains a work in progress.

    • Lani

      September 24, 2013 at 11:34 am

      Nothing new to say but you go on to write two epistles.

    • Idak

      September 24, 2013 at 12:05 pm

      and you were forced to read and reply?

    • Lani

      September 24, 2013 at 2:32 pm

      LOL. I only read the first line and I jumped to the next comment and saw it was you again. 🙂

  17. Chic

    September 24, 2013 at 11:08 am

    #COZAgate #Biodungate #robustreply

  18. Africhic

    September 24, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Very well said.

  19. dma

    September 24, 2013 at 11:44 am

    It’s nice to know that someone with a Nigerian back ground finally has some home truth to say about religion its drawbacks and hypocrisy! I am an atheist and proudly so too but then I have seen first-hand the damage that religion has caused the human race! I really do wonder was religion meant to guide humanity or destroy it??

  20. Jo!

    September 24, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    THANK YOU!!!

  21. slice

    September 24, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    I take issue with the first paragraph. Its important to be careful to say some nigerians and not nigerians. We all don’t go ranting and raving and fighting over religion and tribal issues. Only some idiotic elements do that. Plus while I agree with don’t judge, the supporting scriptures provided only tell us to judge for ourselves, they don’t tell us not to judge others. I just believe that even with good intentions, scriptures shouldn’t be interpreted as saying sthg they r not saying. Perhaps there r more direct scriptures that prove ur point

    • tatafo

      September 24, 2013 at 2:20 pm

      Here are some more scriptures for you:
      Matthew 18: 15-17
      “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. “But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

      1 Timothy 5: 20
      Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      September 24, 2013 at 2:57 pm

      “Perhaps there r more direct scriptures that prove ur point”. Yeah baby! *digging into da bible* … and just to clarify, this my ITK is specifically in response to your call for more scripture:-
      2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” – [so, my take is men & women of God should be able to use the bible as their instruction manual to check ourselves and anyone else we love and genuinely want to keep on the straight and narrow).
      Proverbs 15:32 – “Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.” (and to me, this reproof may come on a human as well as divine front)
      Romans 15:14-18 – “I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God. For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed..” (hopefully self-explanatory?)
      Galatians 6:1 “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.” (again, hopefully self-explanatory)
      And in 1st Corinthians 5:1-5, Paul gives some seemingly harsh rules about how to treat a member of the body who was caught having sex with his (step?) mother.

      So… even lookng at these biblical quotes myself, I’m thinking a lot of them are more focused on “instructing” the one who’s done wrong so that he/she turns back to the path of good as opposed to judgement simply for the sake of condemnation. I’ll close with 2 Cor 2:5-8 where Paul describes the right attitude we should have as a church – “5 If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. 6 The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. 7 Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. “

    • slice

      September 24, 2013 at 3:36 pm

      alrighty nicely done Tatafo and Mz SA, I’m going to save these scriptures. Thanks thanks

  22. banimo

    September 24, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and from time to time, pastors too will definitely fall short of the glory of God . But what I do not understand is the way MOST Nigerians do not demand accountability from their clergymen. It is like they hold the clergymen above God and are scared to even question them. I remember the case of that child molester Pastor Albert Odulele, after the scandal broke out, the church members created a facebook page; “We stand in support of our pastor” and over 800 people joined it. A disgruntled and well-meaning individual founded another page “We stand in support of the children affected by the actions of Albert Odulele” and only 50 or so people supported that group . What even got to me about the Odulele case is that one of the victim’s mother had reported it to the church Deacons but they swept it under the rug. Are these the kind of leaders we want in our churches? We have a warped mentality and it is sad that we cannot even use the brain God gave us to logically assess situation.

  23. divalicious

    September 24, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    nothing wrong with criticizing your pastors but you must do it with love and respect…..i.e go and meet them face to face if you think what they are doing is totally wrong…..and of course be ready to bear the consequences cos some of them might want to drive you but trust me some of them listen….that aside we must respect authority and give them that place of honour, however you are expected to also read the bible yourself and spend time with God so you dont take everything they say hook, line and sinker….so if he or she has added “pepper'” you will discern…everybody has access to God and trust me if you take time to pray, study the word, obey and spend time in his presence you will do the supernatural too and stop hoping from one place to the other looking for miracles…..there is also a time in your walk with God where you must wait for God to answer ur prayers, miracles are not always name it and claim it instantly. There is need for patience sometimes…

  24. dp

    September 24, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    God bless the writer of this article, my conclusion is that most Nigerian Christians are the most gullible people on the planet earth

  25. olori Tari

    September 24, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    Forget the whole touch not my anointed bull crap often misused by people..my humble question is who are you to judge anyway and why is judging people the focus…. I just solely believe in ‘ Do you and let others do them, no one made you the chief monitor (Before you reply me, bear in mind there is a difference between judging/analysing one’s bad trait and pointing out someone’s flaw all in the name of love)…my 2 cents really *runs awaY*

  26. Wale Cesc

    September 25, 2013 at 6:26 am

    Religions na Wash wash!!!

  27. Ada Nnewi

    September 25, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Finally someone intelligently cuts through all the BS

  28. Funmi

    September 25, 2013 at 11:29 am

    God bless you and yours my sister for this write up

  29. omada

    September 28, 2013 at 12:49 am

    God bless you for this! So many zombies in our churches.

  30. GirlOnTop :D

    October 1, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Good dissection of the Word. Not the false interpretations and meanings people follow anyhow. I like!

  31. Thinker

    November 12, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Thanks Theresa! I have read a couple of your posts and you are a very good writer. Keep it up. I find that my amusement after reading posts like this are the commenters. Ranging from the bitter, to the conspiracy theorists and critics, to those who have nothing to say but must still comment nonetheless, i often feel very sad because the comments often reveal a good number of people who after reading through a beautiful piece still end up completely missing the point. It is a mark of great maturity for a person to get a message and apply it first to yourself as opposed to launching into some attack on “some people”. We are the people and when change must start, it will always start with one person building a personal fire and us combining our fires. Most importantly, the intelligent writer is trying to get people to think (cause change starts with thinking the right thoughts and moving in the direction of our positive thoughts) and not trying to find out how many unfruitful comments can be generated from every given post. Please!!!! Enough said

  32. Molicious

    December 5, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Nice Read, very on point, God loves us all, we just need to take the time to know him intimately. Give honor unto whom honor is due but above all, Love the Lord YOUR God and place nothing or no one above him. Take some time to read from the following blog: unpackforthisjourney.wordpress.com

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