The Nigerian cyberspace is abuzz. It was taken by storm last night with the confessions by a woman of her illicit affairs with her former pastor who pastors a ‘big church’ in the FCT, Abuja. Needless to say, this is going to have a huge ripple effect and you can be sure that this will go from blogosphere, where it started, to social media, which it is presently already on, to the offline media, where the waters will undoubtedly get really murky, and then out into the world. It’s pretty easy to see these are the latter days considering all the scandals that keep rocking the church in general, especially now that ‘big men of God’ seem to consistently be coming under… and falling all by themselves into fire.
I choose not to discuss the details of this particular mess or direct traffic to the blog. Real names are mentioned, personal details shared, the lady’s face is plastered on the background of the blog, lives and livelihoods may be at stake. I would rather not contribute any drops, no matter how little, to that raging ocean. I’ll briefly summarise though…
A lady joins a church but against the advice of her friend, joins the work force of the church after encouragement from the senior pastor himself, who, according to her story, singled her from the crowd. After serving for a while, she goes abroad to further her education, but not before exchanging contact details with her pastor. They keep in touch. He comes into town eventually and invites her to his hotel room and after cajoling and “manipulating” her, gets her to sleep with him… everyday for an entire week. Pastor is married and constantly speaks out against adultery and fornication. When, in confusion, the lady asks how he manages this, he says “I will teach you a level of grace that you don’t understand.” At some other point, he claims to have dreamt that he saw all that is happening now in a dream and warns her that the bible says “Touch not my anointed and do my prophet no harm”. Wow. Such effontery. *sigh* Naturally, after this whole episode, the lady is thrown into much turmoil. She speaks to friends, leaders and eventually, someone under whose authority the pastor is supposed to be, and in all of this, the issue is not addressed. She finally resorts to telling her story from the mountain top to the whole world.
Naturally, from the comment section of said post, several believers were concerned for the salvation of younger christians and how this may hurt their belief. In all honesty, I was tempted to toe this line of thought also, but then had a rethink. The bible does say “And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.” Mark 9:42 KJV. It is easy to push this lady to the side of the fence of one causing others to stumble, sin, go astray, disbelieve and/or leave the church. But then again, she can very easily also be seen as one who has been led astray herself and is dealing with it as best she can. She repeatedly claimed that even though she was not forced and doesn’t believe she was jazzed and even admits complicity in all of this, she was manipulated and abused by a person using the authority they wielded over her. She clearly states she showed no interest initially or leading on to these happenings and did not seduce the man of God. Off course, this all only her very well told side of the story. She also claims to have evidence of all this.
Now, in all of this, I don’t particularly support the calling out from the mountain top, but at the same time, I admit that this kind of treatment is needed sometimes, possibly even in this case. There are too many such situations that end up getting swept under the rug. Yes, this may discourage young believers. Yes, this will provide much unneeded fuel to the church-, christian- and christianity-bashers. Yes, this is not guaranteed to provide much needed closure for the lady in question. Also, at the end of the day, the lady is certain, in this judgmental, largely chauvinistic society of ours, to get the shortest end of the stick.
BUT at the end of the day, there are certain pros despite all the cons. It offers her some sort of solace. It serves as a wake up call to other spiritual leaders who are guilty of these sorts of travesties to repent and change their ways; if not for the potential spiritual consequences, then at least to avoid the disgrace that comes with being called out like this. And most importantly, it serves as a reminder to believers, old and new to be wary in their walk of faith. “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Matthew 7:15 KJV
Perhaps, the biggest issue for me personally about this whole issue is the man of God using and twisting the scripture and bible teachings to perpetuate and defend his misactions. Yes, we are all sinners. And yes, grace abounds, but Paul asks “…Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Romans 6:1&2. I have a serious issue with folk who have an issue with admitting their mistakes or wrongdoing when confronted with them, within or outside the church. I understand that we each have our own flaws and pride might not be as much an issue for me as it is for some, but if we all know just how much trouble and furor can be avoided by just saying “I was wrong.”, “I’m sorry” and “I will not do this anymore”. That last one more to self than anyone else.
I’m not perfect but I’ve found something that works for me when I’m trying to not do the things I’m tempted to but I’m sure to regret later… I think “What will people say?” Many a time, I’ve looked upon a beau and wanted to misbehave, knowing without doubt that my advances will be welcome… And it is the thoughts of the message I have decided to stand for and how that will be affected when the word gets out (which it always eventually does) that have kept me the most. And oh, lest I’m beginning to actually sound self-righteous, I’ve also been in that position and grossly misbehaved, time and again. Indeed, the grace of God abounds. But for how long? Eventually, even the grace of God runs out if continually taken for granted. Will one wait for that time to go in search of repentance and turn away from indiscretion? I choose not to wait for that time. So for me, that is one major way I have ‘kept’ myself. As someone who grew up under and has served in ministry, I would certainly prescribe it to others.
I know one who has repeatedly taken grace for granted and has become a terrible hazard to himself. I can count no less than fifteen friends of mine who he has attempted to ensnare, a number of them concurrently, with “I’m a man of God and God has told me you are the one I’m to marry.” Fifteen girls. And this is no exaggeration. Trust me, I counted. And all these before he even went to seminary, where he’s supposedly at right now. He would even go on to actually date two of them that I know of. And distance is no barrier either. From the UK to the states to Canada to different corners of Naija, bros was/is writing poetry, tweets and blogposts dedicated to and preaching his way into multiple ladies’ hearts. And the modus operandi when he got found out was/is always the same too. He would ‘become remorseful’, break down and cry over the phone, then say “See, I’m crying. I’ve never shed tears for anyone in my life. That’s how much I love you. Only you”. When this doesn’t seem to work, he would cut her off, delete her from twitter and bbm, block her, etc. Sometimes, when he’s anticipating a really big mess, he’d even delete the twitter account he’s using at the time. But this is usually only for a small while before returning when the dust has settled, sometimes with another account. Then when he hears the lady has moved on and is seeing someone else, he would attempt to reconnect and guilt trip her, usually ending up ranting about how she’s a heartbreaker before he cuts her off again. This has happened countless time with countless ladies.
I’ve reached out to bros, he acted remorseful, said he was changing… and then he cut me off too. LOL. And now, I’ve heard from at least two more ladies who he’s been making advances to and using the same ol’ tired modus operandi. *sigh* This leopard and his spots sef. For a long time, I threatened to call him out and was constantly asked by the ladies he’s tried his stunts with not to bother with all the inevitable drama. Apparently, he’s excellent at picking his targets, which I’m guessing is the only reason none of them has called him out yet. I realised though, that the longer no one was calling him out on this issue, the more he went around trying to sweet talk la ladies. This one just don’t stop, does he?
Bros, I sure as heck hope you’re working on yourself and are taking the example above seriously because, in due time, all your hard work and the ministry you’re helping build will come tumbling around you… if you don’t change. I’m not the one who’s going to name you, for now. But apparently, no one having publicly disgraced you is the only reason you keep doing these things, worse still using the authority placed upon you by the ministry in which you serve. A time comes when you will have to be held accountable for your atrocities. I hope you’ll be prepared.