Reflections on Purple Hibiscus – Religion Gone Awry

<a href="I finished reading Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie around 12am this morning. And I loved every piece of reading it. I was immediately lost in the plot and fell in love with this Kambali character – a 15 year old girl who is so much more than people often take her for. There is just so much that she does not say, so much that goes left unspoken as a result of living in fear of his father.

I never knew that I could loathe someone so much. Her father Eugene’s character is the epitome of evil, at least in my opinion. However, what makes this guy so fierce is his religion, in that he uses his religion as justification for the way he beats his family into submission. Yes, I said beat. At his hands, his wife has miscarried twice. He nearly kills his daughter, and cripples his son – yet all in the name of righteousness. Any form of evil, wickedness, rebellion, sin, or just plain disagreement with him warrants the severest form of punishment. For him, it is worth it, so that he can attempt to save his family from hellfire.

Now I know this is fiction, and I also know that a scenario like this is a little extreme, however, I also know that in a way behaviors like this are far too common to ignore. In too many instances, people use religion as a means to justify evil, wicked behavior and it absolutely disgusts me, so I know it must tick God off too! Far too often we use religion, faith, spirituality, to coerce others into action, to persuade people how to vote, to get people to give money, when all along we are only promoting our own agendas – it has absolutely nothing to do with God! And as a result, behaviors as such do grave injustice to the Gospel.

Do you want a sure-fire way to test whether or not something or someone is exhibiting godly behavior or just perpetrating evil? Here it is – I call this the Galatians 5 test:

If these characteristics are not present, I am sorry to say that neither is God’s Spirit. Because the thing is, it is impossible to walk in His Spirit, and not have these things present. Notice I did not say anything about prayer, Bible reading, church attendance, tithing, fasting or any other thing. These things are good, and absolutely essential to grow in God, but they do not testify to the inner workings of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Only his Spirit does, and no matter how hard you try, this you can’t fake.

So if someone is passing off as religious, spiritual, etc but their behaviors and actions say anything but, my advice is to run, fast, in the opposite direction very far away.

Make sure to check out my own book, Dancing on Hot Coals on Amazon.com.

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