I heard a story many years ago about an experiment that was carried out at one of the universities in Michigan, USA. I remember taking an interest in this only because I’d been to Michigan many times in the past but felt the story was quite intriguing.
I can’t remember the exact rationale for this experiment but it seems rather barbaric now with hindsight. A large fish was taken and placed into a large water tank where its behaviour was monitored for a while where it wasn’t fed for a considerable time. The tank was then divided into 2 with a glass panel in the middle restricting its movements. Minnows were placed on other side of the tank making them inaccessible to this larger fish. Whenever the larger fish went to feed on the minnows it would consequently slam into the invisible screen which occurred quite a few times until the fish just stayed still not moving at all. The screen was then removed allowing the minnows freedom to swim wherever they wished. Now, the interesting thing was that this fish who now had full access to feed on these minnows died soon afterwards of starvation. The fish which had become so discouraged by not being allowed to feed to begin with died with food within it’s grasp but had clearly become so despondent I’m sure it must have thought what’s the point.
I think we as believers can become like this fish if we are not encouraged in the things of God that give us spiritual depth and life. That’s why it is important to have a strong church leadership and one that does not dictate legalism and error within its flock.
There are many Churches up and down this country which have discouraged people out of neglect and ignorance of God’s Grace and Mercy. I am often disappointed when I hear stories of how ministers seem to just keep flogging the flock and expecting people to change just because the minister out of his own insecurities has never found freedom and revelation of a loving father and protector in Jesus.
If the church in this country is ever going to attract the world through its doors we need to become tolerant gracious and loving towards one another, this will effect the world more because even though we don’t realise it, the world is looking at us to see how we treat one another.