'Is it really a lie?'

POSTED ON 2009-12-21
  by Dena McMaster

Komono believers in Ivory Coast find that at some points Christianity clashes with Komono traditions.
Missionary Jan Groenveld used a cultural clash to teach a valuable lesson to his Komono friends.

In Komono culture it is necessary to give someone whatever they ask for. The number one sin is refusing to give something when it’s asked for. However, Komonos consider it proper to lie in order to avoid having to give something valuable away.

Recently when Jan was visiting the Komonos, his friend Ibrahima was showing him a cell phone given to him by his sister. Another Komono man came along and asked about the phone. Ibrahima said it belonged to Jan. Jan immediately replied that it was not his.

The friend did not pursue the subject but Jan was troubled that Ibrahima would tell such a blatant lie. When he and Ibrahima began discussing the topic, Jan used the passage in Ephesians about speaking the truth in love. He told Ibrahima that lying is never appropriate and that God always knows whether you are speaking the truth or not.

Ibrahima found it difficult to accept this challenge to a culturally appropriate method of refusing to give. Just then another believer, Kali, came by and Ibrahima asked him whether he thought it was actually a lie or not.

Kali answered "those are the things that we need to learn as we learn to walk and to grow in faith, to leave our old way of life and to start seeing what is truth and what is lying and not to let ourselves be influenced by the circumstance to determine the truth or a lie."

"Pray that God’s Word, and their time together as believers, will teach them to follow Jesus. And that they will be a help to each other in that way." Jan wrote.

*The names of the Komono believers have been changed to protect their identity.

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