This post has been a long time coming… It has been in my drafts for a few months, and I saw it earlier this week and said I must get around to writing it asap. I also find it particularly relevant to something I’ve been going through.
So, I hope you will agree with me that doctors get sick as well as everybody else. Maybe less, but given that they are exposed to more risk by virtue of their place of work, probably not. Would it be right to judge your doctor’s ability to assess, diagnose or even treat your ailment because he or she has or had it too?
Well, the reason I saved this title in my post to write about was because someone in my Whatsapp group posted something earlier in the year about a woman who gives marriage advice, and that it was recently discovered that she had serious issues in her marriage – notably, her husband was unfaithful and even promiscuous. I had an issue with that, and the way they dismissed her counsel and ability to give advice, because her life wasn’t perfect. I asked the question in the group then about what qualifies someone to teach, and also about how the things that happen to us are not a judgement on us. Sometimes, shit happens!
I would like to use the example of a doctor who has cancer. Now, cancer can be preventable, but it can also be hereditary, such that some people are susceptible to it. You could also be more susceptible by the things you are exposed to in your life, maybe through your work and environment. A doctor who has cancer is not a bad doctor, who becomes automatically incompetent to assess, diagnose or treat patients – even in the field of cancer, which he or she also suffers from! They may actually have an added element of being more understanding and compassionate of sufferers, because they identify with their pains too.
Even in the case of a contagious disease, being sick does not disqualify a doctor from practicing his or her trade, but only means that they may have to step down from front-line work to assist in other ways, until they are better. Ideally, they should take some time off and rest, and heal properly, so that they are not a risk to others. But once they are healed of their ailment, they are free to resume their work in full capacity, and may probably have learnt some more things about the condition they suffered, so they can better help others and contribute to the knowledge base of their medical field.
So, why should the fact that her husband sinned against her by cheating on her disqualify a woman in ministry from giving marital advice? Is it because she is blamed for his cheating? Was he justified to cheat because she didn’t make herself available enough to him? Did she neglect her duties as a wife or act wickedly, and therefore, send him running to another woman for comfort? Lots of speculation, and unfortunately, you can not know what the real situation is!
Rather than sympathising with this woman, who was betrayed while giving her time to helping and inspiring others, people who do not desire wisdom are quick to judge her. Even if the woman was in fact a bad wife, her husband is not justified. Why is it that she must share blame for her husband’s folly? Why should she be punished for his wickedness? Why don’t we address the wickedness, rather than the victim, the way we would target the disease and not the patient?
The truth is even a perfect woman can be cheated on by her husband! His unfaithfulness is never a judgment on her character. The true test of her character is how she deals with his offence, and if she continues in love and grows in love through the trial. Read my fictional story, He Cheated!, on Amazon via www.amazon.com/author/ufuomaee to see an example of a woman in ministry who was so tested.
That said, a woman going through a turbulent marriage may not be best placed to be giving advice to others. She would need to spend some introspective time, and invest more of herself into making her marriage work. She may have to consider the advice she has been giving, maybe she has not been taking it herself. Sometimes, the problem is not the advice, but that people are hypocrites who do not often practice what they preach. Sometimes, the problem is the advice, which was misguided and ill-informed. She will need to pray and receive counsel from God and others, and make sure that her life and doctrine agree.
But the truth is the truth, even if it is coming from the mouth of a hypocrite. Like Jesus said of the Pharisees, do what they say, but not as they do… And we can’t forget the need to pray for those who minister to us, who are in a position of leadership or authority, and are more susceptible to pride and greed. We must pray for them, and not see their fall as a reason to disregard their entire message. They too are human. And not all offences are inherent.
Even Jesus, the great Physician, the Wise Teacher…God in Flesh, was betrayed! Can we use Judas’ betrayal of Jesus to say that He wasn’t all wise or all knowing? Jesus chose Judas. If the people we love betray us, that is on them…not us! And people may abuse their position to hurt, rather than to bless, and take advantage of you. You can’t control that. It doesn’t mean that you were wrong to love them or to give them a chance to prove themselves…
So, connecting this to what I have been going through and struggling with. In the process of publishing and printing my book, The Church Girl, I fell prey to thieves and liars, and was taken advantage of. I am not ashamed to share some blame in being too trusting or not doing my due diligence before hand. But it doesn’t change the fact that they were wicked to take advantage of me. It doesn’t change the fact that they were wrong and I was wronged!
One of the things I struggled with, which I wrote about in my recent post (Author Beware – A Painful Delivery), when going through this was the fact that I am in a relationship with God. How could I have been deceived, not once but twice??? How was I unable to hear God clearly say, “No, don’t use them”?
But last I checked, I am not perfect. I am also susceptible to pride and folly. I am also learning how to discern God’s voice more clearly. But I am not disqualified from sharing the wisdom, however little, the Lord has bestowed me with. In fact, I am compelled to speak and grow.
The doctor gets sick sometimes… The teacher does not know everything. The leader misses the way sometimes. Stop looking for perfect people who are always right. Don’t put a burden on others that you cannot carry yourself. Give grace and receive grace.
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