We followed the staircase down into the visually impressive church filled with anticipation. Sister B and I were intrigued to attend worship service in a new environment in Nigeria. We settled into our seats quickly and faithfully responded to every aspect of the service. As usual, my eyes wondered about, creating some acquaintance with the place.
We danced along though a tad conservatively since we were new in the place. A few extroverted church members were having the time of their lives as they took the front section of the church and amused everyone with their 'churchy' dance steps. Some of their faces danced (with smiles and expressions) more than their bodies.
He went further to say how bishops were treated as governors in Cameroon. Ahhh! Pentecostal bishops? Treated as governors in Cameroon? Meanwhile, in Cameroon at the time, the only recognised Bishop was Cardinal Tumi. And he wasn't a pentecostal. He was a Roman Catholic.
If Bishop M were as famous as he claimed, couldn't we have known him or even heard of him? He further said his wife drove a Prado- a woman who looked like she had been starved for days. And no, this is not a brilliant use of literary phrases. She seriously looked emaciated. I wondered how she sat in that chair comfortable with all the lies just like I often wonder how wives of lying pastors feel.
The Nigerians who were not in the know as we were, totally believed him, admired him and even Coupé-Décaléed along with him.
"For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies" John 8: 44
Till date, I regret the fact that I didn't take that bold step of speaking to Bishop M. I saw how much he was revered and I withdrew. I didnt want to be termed a "bad belle" person. As Christians, sometimes we need to speak the truth live and direct, politely and in love. After all, open rebuke is better than hidden love (Proverbs 27:5).
One time too many, I have watched untruths slide with ease from the mouths of supposed men of God. Take for instance an "award winning" testimony, which I have heard pastors narrate umpteen times. Here is how it goes:
"There was a sister in my church who had been married for (insert number) years. She came to me and said, "man of God, pray for me." I prayed for her and she got pregnant with twins! After that, she got pregnant again with twins. The third time, she got pregnant again with twins! Then she told me, "man of God please tell God to stop. The blessing is too much!"
Friend, does this story sound familiar to you? So all these different men of God who have told the story were used by God to perform this exact specific miracle? Liar liar pants on fire!
Don't get me wrong. God is a miracle worker, mountain mover and earth shaker. But we do not have to 'help' him with our lies. Just because you heard a story somewhere and it sounded good doesn't mean you should fit yourself into a scene. That's just like photoshopping yourself into a private jet. Saah!
I hear a lot of pastors narrate great things that happened when they were in say, Njinikejem. But when they are right ahead of you, those things don't happen. Why? Stop creating and amplifying stories, to impress people, men of God!
Imagine Jesus standing in front of blind Bartimaeus saying, "The other day eh, I met a dead girl. Everyone was crying they were sad but I raised her up!" No, he didn't do that. He just went ahead to perform the miracle. Stop telling myriads of stories to gain fame. In a multitude of words, sin is not lacking, says Proverbs 10:19.
To all of us, preacher or not, we should avoid lies telling like a plague. Look at what Proverbs 6: 16-19 says:
There are six things the Lord hates—
no, seven things he detests:
17 haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that kill the innocent,
18 a heart that plots evil,
feet that race to do wrong,
19 a false witness who pours out lies,
a person who sows discord in a family.
Did you see that lying is mentioned twice? This is a serious issue. God abhors lies-telling. Some people go as far as classifying some lies as "white lies". Whether white, red, blue, green or purple, a lie is a lie. I wonder where Bishop M is today. But if I ever see him again, I will look into his face and say, "you lied."
If you are guilty of lying to others and even to yourself, take a moment and ask God for forgiveness. Scripture says if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us. (1 John 1:9)
"Telling the truth and making someone cry is better than telling a lie and making someone smile."