The Past Does Matter

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Everyday I hear people say, “the past is the past. It doesn’t matter; just leave it there.” This always gives me a wry smile because anyone going on about how the past doesn’t matter has shown his/her hand.

Does the past really matter? Yes it does! If the past doesn’t matter, why do we still see people the way they were back in Secondary School or University (until proven otherwise)? Why does your doctor always take your medical/clinical history when you visit the hospital? Why do your potential employers check your track record during an interview? Why do people cling to their culture/tradition? Why do African parents insist on investigating their potential in-law’s family history? I could go on and on but I am pretty sure you get my point now.

This may sound harsh or judgmental to many reading this but this is just me embracing reality here. Personally, I don’t judge people by their pasts anymore but it gives me an idea of what to expect from you and prepare myself for it.

This is not a “fun” topic; people are often torn between digging into their potential partner’s past and leaving the past where it belongs. Paranoia grips us when people try to find out certain information about us that we don’t want them finding out, and dealing with disrespect, distrust and uncertainty.

Most people would ask, “what’s the essence of asking about one’s past when s/he will definitely lie? After all, people do change you know” Yes! People do change but our past must have had a huge factor in triggering this change.

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Life is about events, which can either have positive or negative effects on us. Also, these events have a tendency to reoccur so taking history of these events prepare us better to face such things when they reoccur.

For instance, our immune systems spring into action when pathogens (viruses, bacteria and other microbes) invade our body and try to get rid of these foreign invaders. Afterwards, our immune systems make a memory for them and subsequent responses to these antigens are quicker and more effective than those that occurred after the first exposure.

Your past is your story; we are not proud of the wrong choices and mistakes we’ve made but these mistakes often embolden us in all ramifications. We build/develop ourselves based on past events and experiences.

For instance, apostle Paul/Saul went about persecuting Christians with zeal until he was arrested by God on his way to Damascus and was converted to Christianity. He preached the Gospel of Christ with the same zeal he used in killing Christians back in the day until he was martyred.

Life is about patterns; some we carry with us whilst we acquire others as we go along. However, sometimes we let these patterns go unnoticed and this can have a drastic effect on our perceptions of logic, and cause and effect. A good understanding of these patterns allows one to have a different outlook on life as well as the insight to embrace the truths unfolding around us.

Finding out the truth about your new partner’s past is often hard to take, especially for the broken-hearted and faith departed but it is better to know the truth and be prepared for the worst; it saves one from so many things s/he probably could have easily avoided. The past also helps the future generations to act from the mistakes of their predecessors.

Nonetheless, it is also possible to ignore the past and still have happy and fruitful personal relationships with people. In everything, there’s always an outlier.

Thank you for making out time to read this article. If you have enjoyed it, please comment and share your views on this issue. Also, do like, share and follow the blog.

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Finding Balance Fun and Focus

Ecclesiates 3:1 – To all things there is an appointed time, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.

Striking a balance between fun and focus can be a herculean task. Sometimes we prioritize work/school and focus solely on results/grades/achievements, forgetting the real world out there for us to explore and have fun. On the contrary, some give little attention to school/work because they believe their social life trumps every aspect of their lives.

Problems arise when one neglects other important areas of his/her life. You may lose friends and family if you preoccupy yourself with school/work but may also be taken less seriously if you largely focus on fun. These areas, if not balanced, will negatively influence your success and happiness. Balance between focus and fun is key to a happy successful life.

At a very young age, I was made to understand that a child educated only at school is an uneducated child. The advice I received still echo in my head – “As you pass through the school; try and allow the school to pass through you.”

Fun, including personal relationships, is essential to one’s general health, wellbeing and optimal functioning. The health of your focus/fun balance depends on the quality of your relationships.

If you have been opportune to be part of a Sports team, you’d notice every coach sets aside days for his team to socialise and bond together. In Ecclesiastes 9:7, King Solomon implored Christians to have a little fun, “Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do.” Teachers also advice their students to take some time off and have fun to refresh their minds, lower their stress levels and renew their focus.

Emotions have a huge effect on an individual’s health – whether physical, mental or social health. Emotional wellbeing can affect your academic, professional and personal success.

It is important to set goals and be passionate about them but we need to balance all kinds of things in our lives. Before you can be the real you, you ought to have a balanced life. Finding a balance in everything that you do allows you to live a balanced life and enjoy the best of both worlds.

Thank you for making out time to read this article. If you have enjoyed it, please comment and share your views on this issue. Also, do like, share and follow the blog.

Marriage Equality: For or Against?

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Marriage seems to be one of the most lucrative “business ventures” in Nigeria right now. It is ubiquitous; all across our country, in every region, every social class, every ethnicity, every religion or non-religion, people are getting married in drones.

Everyone I know is either getting married or planning to get married. Okay! Not everyone but you get the picture. One cannot hang out and enjoy a glass of beer or watch footie anymore without friends/family reminding you of your age and the need to include marriage in your to-do-list.

Emergence of social media especially instagram, has made weddings a competition. A Nigerian wedding is incomplete nowadays if it does not appear on Bella Naija and/or sites alike. Everyone is trying to out do each other in decoration, organisation, pre/post wedding shoots, costumes, couple entrance etc.

For some, especially the female folk, marriage is something they aspire to and holds the key to the pursuit of happiness. Many are of the belief that married people are better than single people (who are often termed les miserables) and that a healthy marriage has a huge effect on physical/mental health, longevity and prosperity.

Before one goes further, let’s define marriage. Marriage, in all honesty, is complex and hard to define. It encompasses all aspects of life; conjugal relations, friendship/companionship, love, procreation, mutual responsibility and/or solidifying family alliance (special thanks to Game of Thrones).

Traditionally, marriage is between a man and woman for any or all of the aforementioned reasons. Generally, it is believed that marriage gives one a greater sense of responsibility, life and purpose.

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However, our society is at a turning point. The monopoly of traditional marriage has been questioned resulting in calls from different works of life for everyone to embrace marriage equality i.e. marriage between individuals of the same sex.

People are more vocal nowadays and throw their weights behind same-sex marriage; whether it contradicts religious doctrines or not. Recently, marriage equality won the day in Ireland and is soon to be legal following approval of a referendum to constitutionalise the recognition of marriage irrespective of the couple’s sex.

Despite the large Catholic community in Ireland, 78% voted in favour of same-sex marriage hence becoming the 22nd country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage. Other countries include: Netherlands (the first country to do so in 2000), Belgium (2003), US (some states in 2003), Spain (2003), Canada (2005), South Africa (the first African country to do so in 2006), Norway, Sweden (both 2009), Mexico (some parts in 2009), Argentina (2010), Portugal (2010), Denmark (2012), New Zealand, France, Iceland, UK, Brazil, Uruguay (all 2013), Luxembourg (2014), Slovenia (the first Slavic and central European country to do so in 2015) and Finland (2015 but will not take effect till 2017).

Unsurprisingly, despite the marriage madness in our country, Nigeria doesn’t appear on the list. Nigeria and its citizenry still uphold the sanctity of the traditional marriage between a man and a woman. Civilised individuals believe traditional marriage is obsolete and based on religious and moral tenets – which cannot be proven.

This is what piques me the most about same-sex marriage advocates. They are quick to tag people who do not share the same view as homophobic (fear of gays), unexposed and haters. According to Matthew J Franck who wrote in First Things, “In the contemporary debate on the future of marriage, there appears to be, amid many uncertainties, one sure thing. Those who publicly defend traditional marriage can be haters, bigots or irrational theocrats and perhaps all of these at once.”

My question is, how is it homophobic for anyone to reason and express his views based on religious and moral grounds? What happened to one’s right to freedom of religion? It is our constitutional obligation to respect others’ freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of thought/conscience as well.

I am not for/against same sex marriage; I respect everyone’s decisions but you can’t and won’t force certain things down the throats of people and expect them to smile and say thank you. A number of religions do not support same-sex marriage but if your religion or non-religion supports it. That’s fine!

However, I don’t support people who clamour for religious rules to bend to satisfy their desires and ambitions. If you are a same-sex advocate and your religion abhors marriage equality, it is nobody’s fault. Human beings, whether religious or non-religious, base their lives on beliefs and use reason to distinguish between right and wrong.

From a Christian perspective, “therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, shall cleave unto his wife and they shall be one flesh.”  Proverbs 18: 22 also says “He who finds a wife finds what is good and obtains favour from the Lord.” Before you frown at my Bible citations because of your belief or view about the Bible, the truth is that we all tend to make sense of things on the basis of limited evidence available (beliefs).

The Igbos believe marriage is a public institution hence the saying “otu onye anaghi alu nwanyi.” Truly, the only certainty in this unending debate about marriage equality, is that marriage is the business of the society and its success or failure has a huge impact on the society. Live and let live. Don’t expect religion(s) or anyone to bend a knee to your beliefs.

What do you think about marriage equality?

Partial Repentance

“So mi sit down right beside sister Pam
Who ah tell me everything about the congregation
‘Bout Sister Paulette and her gay husband
And how she ah still ah sleep with the mini bus man

Sister Gwen claim she ah Christian
But ah last night dem catch her in ah stone love session
She a do the dutty dance to de Matterhorn song
And say she get de thing them from the baby cham”

Whenever I listen to Shaggy’s Church Heathen track, I can’t help but nod my head in agreement as I believe the singer portrayed everything that is wrong with the church today.

Have you noticed how we deviate from our evil ways when we are troubled and in dire need of God’s intervention in our lives? Yes, that’s what conditional/partial repentance is all about.

Partial repentance means partial escape from sin. It occurs when a person honestly repents for certain things in his/her life that he/she has done wrong, but not for everything. He/she doesn’t see it all. He/she only sees a part of the sin, so he/she is repentant only for the part he/she sees.

Conditional repentance is when an individual repents conditionally/partially because he or she is asking God a favour.

I believe christians are guilty of this, one way or the other. One minute, we are so “spiritual” because we are heavy laden but the moment the loads are taken off our chest by God, we return to our old ways.

That’s a common thing amongst us. I believe everybody is/has been a conditional repentant at one stage in his/her life. We run to God in times of trouble and turn our backs on him when HE delivers us from our troubles.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a saint, I’m just saying it the way it is and I feel it is better we repent completely with a pure heart, not just when we need something from our creator.

Repentance is the most noble and beloved form of obedience in the eyes of God. He loves those who repent and it is because of His love for His creation that He tests them with sins so that He may shower His blessings and favours upon them after they repent.

Repentance is to repent from the heart,to train the heart into obedience and to make a firm resolution never to commit the sin again.

Repentance brings about humility and a sense of helplessness that is not easily acquired through other forms of worship.

Let me leave you with this piece of advice,if you take this too seriously, then you really need some church.

And We Came To CrossRoads by Judie

Two peas in a pod!!!

We both turned instinctively, partly because we knew the voice and partly because we knew she was referring to us. We waited for N to join us and we all walked down the path to our hostels together, she marvelled at how close we both were, always together at all times and I knew she was silently wishing she could be a part of us.

Dee and I had attended senior secondary school together but we never exchanged words once, lo and behold she was the first person I met on getting into the University and we hugged like long lost friends, we were glad to have a found a friendly face in that no man’s land. Let me take out time to describe Dee.

Dee is a blessed child, she is beautiful, intelligent and talented, she could draw, she could sing, she could dance, she could even DJ!!! And best of all she is honest. While I on the other hand, I’m the awkward round glasses-wearing loyal to- a -fault friend but I never begrudged Dee her blessings, she was my friend and I loved her.

We helped each other through trying times, we laughed and cried together and it seemed like a friendship made in heaven, we talked about everything and anything, we were like kindred spirits in different bodies, we loved each other like sisters and kept in touch like lovers during school breaks until it happened.

I called Dee to find out how she was faring without me in school and her sister said “Dee left for church with N”, to say I was surprised is an understatement. Don’t get me wrong, we were Christians, good girls but basically church wasn’t our “thing” especially not on a Wednesday!!! In all fairness, she tried to drag me to church but I wasn’t having it, I’d attend services but I really wasn’t feeling it, I’d go with her and then turn around to sulk and throw tantrums so eventually I stopped attending and nobody invited me anymore. More and more Dee and N found things to do together and more and more I was excluded from the group, we came to a crossroads; I couldn’t betray myself and attend services I wasn’t enjoying and Dee couldn’t find a middle ground with me and to make matters worse, I changed schools and then I was all but forgotten.

I could load a thousand five hundred recharge card to call Dee but we wouldn’t even begin to know what to say to each other, we are no longer two peas in a pod as my co-pea had found another pea, five years down line she replaced that pea with another pea but I had moved on, cos I realized my original co-pea had always been right there beside me despite the distance, despite the disagreements, the neglects et al but I didn’t see it cos I was blinded.

My new co-pea has shown me durability, steadfast love, honesty and above all consistency. I love her so and her name is O+.