“You did not choose Me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will remain—so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. This is My command to you: Love one another.” John 15:16-17
I started preaching when I was in Primary 4, God woke me up and asked me to do it. I would go for early morning cry with the mega phone I borrowed from Scripture Union. One thing I wasn’t sure of then was why God would choose me just the way I am, with all my flaws.
When I left primary school, my environment had some effect on me. I remained a boy preacher, but I still had my weakness… While I was genuinely being a practical Christian, I was struggling with stealing from my parents. I was good outside but at home, I was seen as a hardened criminal!
My Mum was very patient with me, she woke me every night and speak to me. It wasn’t something I wanted to be doing but I just couldn’t help it! I grew with this and while in Secondary School, I almost formed an Evangelical Ministry with the name ‘Evangelical Fellowship of Students’, it was approved by School authorities, I was admired and seen as a boy with lots of potentials.
I was made the assistant Chapel Prefect of my school, I wasn’t too outspoken and so it was wise to put someone who had charisma before me. Guess what?
One of those days, after my father experienced a major setback in his business, things got bad for us financially. In school, I was humiliated by some teachers because I didn’t have textbooks! As a school prefect, I was flogged and disgraced in the presence of my junior ones for not paying for School Diary… The heat became too much for me.
My brother came home one certain time and told me he left some money in his table, belonging to a class mate who was also our neighbour at home, he asked me if the money was safe in his table and I replied him with a yes. Very early in the morning, I dashed to school and chased every student out the class asking them to go down for morning assembly. When they did, I tried out my keys on my brothers table and it opened, I found the money, I stole it and that same morning I rushed to a nearby market to buy Biology, Mathematics and Physics textbooks. I was a Chapel prefect, I was a role model to other students, I was supposed to represent everything moral should represent but I committed an offence! A crime punishable by law, a crime that should warrant being stripped of my post in school, disgraced and suspended!
What happened? It was later found out that I was the one who stole the money because everything was traced to my movement and the textbooks I bought. The school authorities did not punish me as expected, the case was hidden from among the junior ones, even my mates did not know about it! It was handled behind closed doors and I remained the assistant Chapel prefect of my school. Before then, a certain teacher have accused me of stealing which wasn’t true but that case made her accusation appear as true.
I continued my academics, the shame alone I faced in the presence of the teachers was enough to correct me, the rebuke I received from my parents was enough to make me cry… The feelings I had then, was enough to make me have a rethink! Although it didn’t absolutely make me a perfect person, I learnt from it without having to be disgraced publicly and condemned by the entire school!
Don’t forget, I did all those as a Christian. At that time, I went to one of my Uncle’s house to help do some home chores. Before I left, I stole a laptop because I felt it wasn’t being used anymore! They have always seen me as a Pastor, they have always respected me because they do hear of my activities and the way I go about preaching. When they discovered what I did, I was called aside by my aunt, I was rebuked but the whole world didn’t know about it, even in the house my cousins didn’t talk about it! They rather gave me a welcoming hand which helped brought me back.
Had it been all my bad side was recorded and played for the whole world to see, would that have made me any better? Had it been I had everyone on my ears shouting and reminding me how terrible what I did was, bet me, suicide would have been my best option!
I was giving time, patience was exercised, I was not condemned because of my wrong doings, I was not disgraced and I was not humiliated! But I am a better person today!
In the same manner, Chidinma doesn’t need to be humiliated for her to come back to her senses! The height of her sin and the nature of it does not matter! What matters is the height God wants to take her. My Pastor, Rev. Canon Prince Chukwuma said to me
“this is surely her way to Damascus… God is surely taking hold of her and believers must not give up on her”
I believe our words have reached her, I believe suicide isn’t in her option again… Now is a time of reformation for her and a time of development. We mustn’t look at her as a sinner anymore, we mustn’t look at her as a whore anymore… We were all at one time or the other worse than Chidinma. Chidinma has been one of us, Chidinma was not a pagan, she is a member of the Christian fold who went prodigal… Just like Jesus, our arms are open wide for her and we don’t care what the world thinks about it… We don’t care if more videos are released, we don’t care if she committed more atrocities… All we care at the moment is her present and her future, we see a brighter day for her.
This is also the way we see every sinner or backslidden Christians out there… The drunk whom everyone has lost hope on, the prostitute who has been in it for years, the terrorist who has killed and killed and have lost hope in God’s mercy…
Earnestly and tenderly, whoever you are, Jesus is calling and saying “COME HOME… MY HEART GOES OUT TO YOU”