IF YOU have attended church long enough or if you have watched some of the many Christian TV programs, you must have listened to some sermons on familial spirits. These, according to some preachers, are evil spirits that may haunt certain individuals because they belong to a certain family lineage. In other words they are spirits ‘familiar’ to you and they may affect you because you, or someone else in your family did something which these spirits want to punish you for. Others may even say that you or your family is cursed. Now my explanation may not be word perfect and I may not be that real theological. But understand that there are beliefs that your financial struggles, your personal failures or perpetual sicknesses may be due to some spirits that follow you along family connections.

Whether you agree or not to my premise, the fact remains that there are certain families or individuals that appear to be troubled by some type of misfortune or lack that runs along the family tree. These may be poverty, joblessness, bareness, sickness or even premature deaths. According to some religious school of thought, a person (Christians included) need to be cleansed or exorcised of these spirits for them to enjoy peace. In this category we find many pastors who have formed deliverance ministries to help people who have such troubles. Other preachers believe that once a person is ‘Born-again’ these evil spirits have no effect on them. The teaching is that once Jesus Christ died and rose again, He carried our sorrows and paid for all our transgressions and curses, if any – past, present and future.

Deliverance ministries are common in Africa where poverty is perennial and many people are highly religious. I’m not very sure if our Christian friends in Europe and America are also subjected to deliverance ministries and exorcism from poverty.

If we are to take the debate further and allow ourselves to be objective, we may find some individuals or families out there who also seem to be generally successful and flow in abundance. Such individuals may not necessarily be believers or people of any faith. Do they then have the spirit of blessedness or they just work hard? And those who appear to be struggling and in perpetual poverty, are they just careless and unlucky? This is where I seek your input.

Bear in mind also that some sicknesses like sickle cell anemia, Down syndrome and others may be hereditary – that is, they run in the family. Other tendencies or behaviors that may run in the family may include habitual smoking, beer drinking and substance abuse, dishonesty etc. These may not necessarily be hereditary but something children pick through imitation.

A family, for example who all their lives have lived in a remote village where education and health facilities are in short supply may appear to be haunted by spirits of poverty and ill-health. A relative of such a family who has gone to live in town; has access to healthcare and acquired some education may appear to have freed himself from the shackles of these inhibiting spirits. But we need to be clear here. Sometimes your struggles may be out of poor judgment and not necessarily spiritual. In such a case all you need is mentorship and psychosocial counselling and, of course, a resolve to change.

The aim of this write-up is to make you aware that life is full of challenges and obstacles. Some challenges may be psychological and can be dealt with using modern therapies, while others may require prayer and spiritual counselling. But I want everyone to know that whatever challenges you may face there’s hope. Life favors those who are determined and resolved. If you feel that your struggles are spiritual, seek help from men of God.

In conclusion, we can say that life favors the bold. Man is a spiritual being and there’s a way in which spirits want to control us, whether for good or for bad intentions. But whatever challenges you may face in life, they can be changed by your own resolve. This can be through prayers, through psychosocial counselling and be assured that you and only you has the answer to your problems.

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