Bishop Valery Grigorash: Appeal to those who accuse Ukraine of particular sinfulness. To brothers and sisters in Ukraine, as well as to those who were forced to leave their country due to the war unleashed on the territory of Ukraine by the leadership of the Russian Federation.
In their sermons and addresses regarding the events in Ukraine, some ministers abroad (mostly Russian speakers) talk about the punishment for the sins of Ukraine, the need to repent, etc.
I think that it is necessary to ask the Body of Christ, which is located directly in Ukraine, about what is happening in Ukraine. It is strange when the Body of Christ seeks information about ongoing events, not from their brothers who are involved in them, but from politicians and biased media (as, for example, in 2014 and after, the Russian church believed Russian television more than brothers and sisters in Ukraine who were eyewitnesses of the events).
God speaks to His Body in this country. It is strange to talk and give advice about what is happening with Ukrainians while sitting in the US or Europe. As Clive Lewis said in the preface to the third edition of his famous book Mere Christianity: “Ever since the First World War, when I served in the infantry, I am very annoyed by people who, sitting in safety, warm and kind, give instructions to those who is on the front line.
I think that our country is really sinful and needs repentance (which the Ukrainian church has been praying for for years).
But it is no more sinful than any other nation.
Luke 13:1-5: “Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
Those who accuse Ukraine of particular sinfulness accuse themselves and those “safe” places in which they are, they call for judgment on them, because by what judgment you judge, also you will be judged.
Let’s look at the facts:
1. In Ukraine, at the legislative level, the official activities of sorcerers, fortune-tellers and witches are prohibited.
2. Gambling is prohibited.
3. Legislatively, in Ukraine, the family is a union between a man and a woman.
4. The Constitution recognizes God’s Board over us: «Усвідомлюючи відповідальність перед Богом, власною совістю, попередніми, нинішнім та прийдешніми поколіннями, керуючись Актом проголошення незалежності України від 24 серпня 1991 року, схваленим 1 грудня 1991 року всенародним голосуванням, приймає цю Конституцію — Основний Закон України»
“Aware of its responsibility to God, its own conscience, previous, present and future generations, guided by the Act of Independence of Ukraine of August 24, 1991, approved by popular vote on December 1, 1991, adopts this Constitution – the Basic Law of Ukraine” (Constitution of Ukraine, Introductory Part)
5. Ukraine is the only country from the former USSR that condemned the ideology of communism and the crimes of the communist regime. Communism and its symbols are banned in Ukraine.
6. All monuments of Lenin and other communist criminals were overthrown in Ukraine.
7. Ukraine has incredible freedom of speech and religion.
8. In Ukraine, there is an unprecedented unity among all denominations.
Now tell me, who doesn’t like this, God or the devil? Who has an interest in stopping this?
I offer you a different version of what is happening.
2 Chronicles 32:1: “ After all that Hezekiah had so faithfully done, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah. He laid siege to the fortified cities, thinking to conquer them for himself.”
Sennacherib laid siege to the Jewish cities and wanted to seize them for himself.
After what things? — After idolatry and sin?
Not! After the removal of idols, the restoration of worship and fidelity to God!
Satan, the adversary, has come to stop God’s movement.
The war in Ukraine is a spiritual war! One must fight for Awakening and resist satan and he will flee, as happened in the days of Hezekiah.
I think the ministers’ statements that the current events are a punishment for Ukraine are not just unspiritual, but immoral and cynical.
Instead of calling everything by its proper name (war is war, murderers are murderers, tyrants are tyrants, lies are lies), they talk about things they don’t understand.
I believe that if you do not understand what is really happening, then the surest thing you can do is to reduce the flow of words and cry with those who cry.
Job 16:1-6: “ Then Job replied: “I have heard many things like these; you are miserable comforters, all of you! Will your long-winded speeches never end? What ails you that you keep on arguing? I also could speak like you, if you were in my place; I could make fine speeches against you and shake my head at you. But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief. “Yet if I speak, my pain is not relieved; and if I refrain, it does not go away.”
I believe that the time will soon come when we will have to pray for these “comforters”.
There is black and white, there are killers and victims.
It is immoral in the highest degree to blame the victim at the moment when she is being killed and to justify her killer.
I urge you, beloved, to speak the truth openly to such preachers, since the truth is higher than the religious robe.
To speak meekly, without offence (Gal. 6:1), but, at the same time, firmly and confidently.
Remember that no minister is given authority over the truth, but on the contrary, the truth must guide the church.
If people continue to preach lies, leave such churches and find honest and true servants of God.
Valery Grigorash, Bishop of the Association of Christian Churches “House of Bread”