So working in East Africa, we hear a lot about witch doctors and medicine men. Not too long ago they were selling Albino or Albino parts to witch doctors for a lot of money. It was a scary time for albinos and their families.
That situation was easy to rebuke and show as a false belief and most people whom I know, helped to protect their albino friends. But when things come up that are not so far out there, my friends are quick to believe almost anything they hear.
The village gossip line is crazy and news spreads quickly. Sometimes that helps, when there is a death or illness. But it also is bad when there is a lie which gets bigger and bigger as it goes around. Many church leaders have been hurt by lies of affairs or thievery. Sometimes people purposely start the lies because of jealousy and hope that if the accused is deposed, then they can take their seat of authority!
But when some unexplained thing happens, everyone seems quick to blame the witch doctor, or genies, or spirits. It is all a spiritual battle. How frustrating when my saved friends still live in fear because of these things which they have been taught since childhood. They struggle to fight these spiritual battles. Even if they themselves don’t participate in the witch doctors methods, they still fear them. They live in fear so often.
Now I will say that we in the west have down played the power of Satan. Don’t forget the story of Job. God allowed Satan to do some crazy things. But God is still ultimately in charge. My friends can’t quite grasp that sometimes. When a friend dies and that owl or white chicken was seen nearby, they will blame the witch doctor. They will also be more likely to believe it when a relative of the injured or dead has recently been cursed by someone because of a shady business deal.
As a missionary, we try to dispel the lies and teach the truth,but this society has been so engrained with these lies and beliefs that it will take generations. It is frustrating and yet look back at our history. Not too long ago (and even a bit today) people were afraid of black cats, broken mirrors, walking under a ladder, stepping on a crack, etc.
Although science tries it’s best to explain away God, it has also helped dispel some beliefs. When that shooting star can be understood scientifically, the younger generations put aside the antique belief that it is a witch doctor flying around. But with limited medical facilities, so often they don’t know how someone dies. When the deceased had nightmares in their last days of weird things happening to them. They hallucinate and often perceive that to be true and the witch doctor gets credit where it is not due.
May we be quick to credit our Saviour for all He has done for us. May we be alert to all the little ways He works in our lives so that we don’t explain away things He has done.