May We Be Forgiven

‘Dele Oladipupo ©2018

Forgive me, I have appropriated the title of A.M Homes’ fine novel. Sometimes, life is hard as a Christian. Maybe it isn’t, really. Maybe it’s because some of us still have a long way to go. A couple of weeks ago, a lady sauntered into church while the sermon was on. I was listening intently( or so I thought) to the sermon when she passed. Because of the size of the church, I often sit upstairs in a corner where there’s a screen. So, this lady passed in front of the screen. For a second or so, I went blank. I thought I saw something. I looked again. Please, be content with the word ‘massive’. That’s the word that describes both her hips and her boobs. Of course, I quickly looked away. What surprised me was that nearly everyone on that axis, both male and female, looked too. And each face had that palpable shock.

In all honesty, we are no strangers to such matters. Thank God for friends with whom one can act and talk without any fear of being unduly judged. I can freely discuss matters like these with Gbenga, Abimbola and Faith. Back to that day when that lady walked in, two things happened immediately. The first was that my neck developed a life of its own. It turned of its own volition. My eyes simply followed the order given by their superior. The fact that people also looked shows that even as Christians, the flesh rears its ugly head every now and again.

Being a Christian doesn’t make us immune to these things. There’s no point pretending. I guess we just have to fight and shake them off regularly. Personally, I have a problem with those who pretend to be Super men and Wonder women. Especially when one finds out eventually that beneath their hard-line posturing is a rotten, degenerate soul. So, when we admire a beautiful lady or commit some other subtle sins, our hope lies in the certainty that Jesus is kind. If we make it a habit, well then, that’s a much bigger problem. I have often argued with my friend, Abimbola, that pretty ladies are born lucky. Whether in the church or on the streets, people often go out of their way to help these beauty queens.

A fine illustration, you’ll agree, is with the way we treat children. When a child is pleasing to look at, we buy him gifts and even take the child off his mother’s back just so we can play with him. When a child is ugly, however, we just wave from a distance and call the obviously ugly child ‘fine girl’. In doing this, we’ve dealt wickedly with that innocent child. May God be kind to us. Our sins are many, almost numberless. One of my friends has converted the back of her sermon note to a ‘wall’ where she records the grammatical infelicities of her pastor. I have often told her, ‘ your pastor is not an English language professor, cut the poor man some slack.’ My friend has been relentless. One day, I jokingly said there is a file in Heaven where Apostle Peter is keeping a photocopy of her entries as it concerns her pastor and that when she gets to the pearly gates, this might stand in her way. ‘Shaaraaap’, she screamed smiling at the same time.

For those moments when we refuse to act the part of a good Samaritan, for those moments when we daydream about a woman’s boobs, for those times when we keep quiet in the face of injustice, for those times when we flagrantly flout the admonitions of our Master, for those days when we inflict pain on those who love us, for those little sins that we enjoy, for those times when we look at what we’ve accomplished and say: ‘ How great I am?’, for those times when we pretend ‘Mr. A is my friend’, yet treat him like dirt, for all the times we refuse to forgive yet expect forgiveness from the Master, for those times when we show cruelty to animals, may we be forgiven.

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