'Tithing made me leave my church'

HARD TIMES Some congregants cannot afford to tithePHOTO: supplied.
HARD TIMES Some congregants cannot afford to tithePHOTO: supplied.

Growing up in a church with a father who was a bishop, our choice about church wasn’t ours. Our father was the head bishop of Zion Apostolic Swaziland Church, so contributing monetarily in church was instilled in us. We remember the contributions we made, but there was never a particular amount requested.

As adults we all made our own choices and followed our own denominations. I chose Christ Embassy.

At this church I was amazed how proud people were of the money they contributed. The more money you contributed, the more opportunities you would be given to stand in front to tell the congregation about your offerings.

I left the church because I felt worthless. I was contributing about R10 every Sunday, and it made me feel like I didn’t belong.

I then went to Rhema in Randburg, where offerings and tithing are also a big thing. Everywhere I went I heard it’s the right thing to do between yourself and God. I interpreted this as meaning God’s blessings are for sale in this church, and I left.

I then went to Universal Church of Christ in Soweto. After going through a difficult phase in my life I decided to dedicate myself fully to God, and became a full member of the church.

But, every time I go there I feel like I shouldn’t have come. It’s not nice to sit when everyone else is placing their tithe at the altar. It’s humiliating.

The church claims you are not forced to do it, but the things said and quotes from the Bible they use make one feel forced. I’m pressured to feel obligated to give offerings and tithe, otherwise my life will never change.

My current financial position means tithing is not on my list, and I should be okay with this. I cannot afford to give 10% of what I earn to church.

Even children at Sunday school are now expected to pay offerings.

My child, who is only eight, had a good laugh about how she needed to quit school and find a job so she can pay offerings.

We love going to church and we love God, but is it worth it for people like us, who can’t afford to have a cent of their income used for faith? Some of us really need our cents, although God’s blessings are what we desire more.

Tithing is becoming too much for some of us to handle. I feel God requires us to assist the poor whenever we can, and not be forced to give away the money we pray for.

Faith is free, and religion should be the same. It shouldn’t be forced on anyone. It should be from the heart that wants to give, and the hands that can afford to do so.

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