As a child when I complained of anyone abusing me, I spoke in terms of being insulted verbally. As I grow older, I understand that abuse comes in different forms. Humans are not the only recipients of abuse. Animals, objects, food, money, substance and others I may not mention now can also be abused. Never mind, by the grace of God, I shall come to them some other time.
The term abuse can be defined in several ways depending on the situation under consideration. One basic factor however underlines the various descriptions of abuse- improper use of something or someone. Its synonyms include misuse; mistreat; violation; insult; perversion etc.
Human beings may be abused verbally, psychologically, physically or in other ways. This article is on just one form of abuse- abuse of privilege or opportunities. Other forms of abuse shall be addressed in subsequent posts.


Opportunities present themselves to us at different times in our lives. Some we identify, some we do not. When certain privileges or levels of freedom are given, they serve as opportunity for development. However when we cannot identify such opportunities, we cannot take advantage of it and subsequently, abuse becomes inevitable.
Abuse is when a younger person is given a privilege to air his opinion in a gathering of elders and he stands up to query their authority.
A young Christian brother once stood up in a Church meeting and demanded that the committee of leaders (which consists of the minister and older brethren in the congregation) is duty bound to bring their recommendations to the Church for general approval before it is binding on the Church. According to him, this is necessary because the Church had not yet appointed the offices of elders and deacons. I call this an affront and abuse of privilege.
One thing I love about the Church of Christ is the privilege available for everyone (young or old) to function in one capacity or another. This is especially seen in smaller congregations where there is much to do but few persons available. The first thing to note here is this: irrespective of the size of a local church, nobody is above the law of Christ. As the President of a nation is bound by its constitution so is every member of the Church (elders, deacons, ministers, etc) bound by the principles of the Holy Spirit through the inspired word of God. Church leaders are saddled with several responsibilities among which is the responsibility of decision making in the Church. These decisions are binding on the members as long as it does not contradict Biblical injunctions.
Hebrews 13:17
Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.
Isaiah 62:6
I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; They shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent
Get me right. Ministers, elders or deacons are accountable to the Church and God. To the Church in this sense: They should be able to feed the church back on the progress they have made over time. If lapses are seen or erroneous decisions are observed, they should be channeled back to them through appropriate channels towards the growth of the Church. This is not the same as asking them to seek the consent of the general assembly before taking decisions on their behalf.
When next you are privileged to participate in a forum with people who are ahead of you in any way (spiritually, mentally, business-wise, or any other way), use it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Do not abuse such privilege by trying to make a show of the little knowledge you have attained. You only end up displaying how shallow and ignorant you are.
Proverbs 17:27-28
He who has knowledge spares his words, And a man of understanding is of a calm spirit. Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive.
I remember one day in my final year back then in the university. There was a mathematical problem on the board and I was confident that I could solve it. There were intelligent guys in the class and I wondered why they sat back instead of solving. So I moved forward to the board and began to solve. I solved to an extent and I knew something was wrong with the answer I was about arriving at. Beginning to feel embarrassed, I paused and stepped back to review my steps. Someone in the class just casually pointed at the point where my error had begun. I corrected myself and got the answer but something hit me that day. He knew all along from the point I started doing the wrong thing, yet he kept quiet perhaps watching to see if I could still manage to arrive at the correct answer. The lesson I took home that day which still lingers on my heart till today is this: being smart is not in always being forward. There is big wisdom in being reserved.
In my next few posts, I will get to other forms of abuse. You can subscribe to my newsletter to keep informed of new posts. For counselling, you can enjoy from the wealth of our counselors by reaching us here. I also love to hear from my readers. Please drop your comments in the comments section below. Keep your use of language non-abusive as vulgar remarks shall be disapproved. Thanks.

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