It was with great anxiety that I looked forward to the BBC African Eye Sex for Marks video, after the investigative journalist, Anas Arameyaw, posted it on his Facebook page. Of the four lecturers that were discussed and ‘exposed’ in that film, the worst hit was the UNILAG lecturer and pastor of a Pentecostal church in Lagos. The expose was so much on him that I greatly suspected (and even told a friend of mine) that this man would attempt to kill himself (and he did, though he failed). In a matter of minutes, all that a man built, laboured for and lived for more than 50 years were destroyed. It would take a very hardened man to take that loss and not commit suicide. I approach in all humility this man’s matter, but I intend to take on a subject that I hope will strike fear in our hearts (especially we who say we are Christians and so bear the name of Christ upon us).
Luke 12 vs. 1-3 reports an encounter with Jesus thus:
“Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.”
Over the course of the last few months before this incidence, I’ve been trembling at this word. Jesus did not mince words here. He said that by the rules of heaven, secrecy does not go on forever. One day, that which we did in secret must surely be made known. Either because you told the story yourself after God had shown you mercy; or someone else opened up your matter in your lifetime or after you have died; or sometime in eternity your story will be told for all to hear.
Secrecy is a mirage, a mirage that will one day be burst. The only challenge is that when my secret life is burst, will I be much ashamed or little ashamed? What I am doing now in secret, is it something I will be proud of or not?
Now, this is not to say that we do not err in our secret places at times, even as Christians. However, our error becomes greater when we cover it up from the brethren because of our prestige or pride or personality. I think of this UNILAG pastor today and I wonder what would have happened if 3 years ago he went to an elder or brother in his church who he respects so much and admitted his sexual misbehaviours and struggles. Of course, it would be so shameful for a man of his age to own up to such struggles, but I would not have heard of it. The church would have silently disciplined him and in due time, he would have been restored to ministry. But he kept hiding his errors from the brotherhood until it became a scandal.
I was reading my Bible today and The Message Bible described a scandal for me. It said, “It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see.” Ephesians 5 vs. 11-16.
I may not be in BBC today, and I may not be trending in the internet today, but that does not mean I am not living a scandalous life. Rather it only means I am a disaster waiting to happen- unless I open up. It is a pity that many of us don’t utilise the privilege of brotherhood that God gave us in Christianity. Your greatest crime is not that secret masturbation, or pornography, or romance, or sex that you are involving yourself in your private corner. Rather your greatest crime is that pride that has stopped you from opening up to a brother or a sister.
The Bible said, “If you have sinned, you should tell each other what you have done. Then you can pray for one another and be healed. The prayer of an innocent person is powerful, and it can help a lot.” – James 5:16 CEV.
Confession, opening up, bringing your sinful habits to the light kills its hold on your life. Sin is like cancer, hide it and it will grow until it leads you into an open shame. But, when you expose it to radiation, it will die or at least go into remission.
It’s okay if you sinned once, repented of it and never went back. But if you see yourself confessing a sin over and over again (i.e. after promising God not to do it again, you will see yourself doing it again and again), then it is a time to let another brother know about it. Be fast about that. Infact don’t let this week pass. And note this, don’t just open up to any Dick and Harry, open up to those who are your elders, know you and trust you, let them put you to shame, and pray for you so that you will be healed. Anything other than this, you will soon be a statistic in the retinue of ‘notable’ Christians caught in scandals.
The Lord have mercy on us all.
In Hope of eternal life,
J. M. OBODOZIE