By DEBBIE OGUNJOBI
A middle aged man takes a walk with an attractive woman in a beautiful European city. They walk hand in hand and seem just like any other couple. They walk effortlessly with the assurance of the confidence in themselves and their feelings, nothing new, no big deal; the world is full of couples!!
They themselves didn’t feel self conscious in any way; at least nothing suggested they felt any shame; not their demeanour or appearance suggested anything clandestine or forbidden about them.
This really wouldn’t have been news except for the personalities involved; you see, the middle aged man is one of the most popular televangelists in the world and the lady he is walking with is not his wife. She is also a popular televangelist and the onslaught of the attacks that come their way, cause both of them to end their “friendship”.
They make televised apologies to their seething followers and each of them retreats to the lonely cubicle of expectation they carry by their position.
Whatever they had is sacrificed to meet the expectations and retain the adulation of their public.
I always seem to be the last to hear about people’s lives and their scandals as I suffer from a decided lack of curiosity. I have always blamed interest in gossip and gist on joblessness.
My days pass by so fast I hardly have enough time to do the needful so the frivolous doesn’t warrant attention. The above story came to me in church, my pastor had been talking about the need for repentance last Sunday, when the lady sitting next to me had mentioned the story above and I had decided to investigate the truth of it.
I was going to continue the Old me to young me series but I was moved to write by the story and my angle will make me a few enemies I daresay but I say it like I see it. My first observation was that no community is as great at persecution as the Christian one and it comes as no surprise to find that Christians play the entire cast and crew of the execution squad.
I tend not to form an opinion on people’s choices but I thought I needed to tell a few people myself included(at times) that expectations are not to be placed on people but on God alone. I can honestly say I do not put my expectation or trust in any man any more.
I learnt the hard way that a man or woman carrying an anointing or ministry is still flesh. They have the same cravings, needs and make the same mistakes as the rest of us.
The male televangelist in question had a few months back come out in the open to announce that his wife of many years had filed for divorce and I freely admit that I was one of the very shocked. If he couldn’t make a marriage work what chance did the rest of us have?
It’s the nature of human beings to create models of leaders that are perfect, so when they fail we tend to be crushed and as such try to crush them albeit without giving it much thought!
The lady televangelist had also gone through a public and rather humiliating divorce herself a few years ago, so the tongues really wagged when they were both seen hand in hand. I totally understand that people do expect religious leaders to be above and beyond reproach but I fail to see that expectation as a right to deny them what we all want and pray for.
The greatest human need is to love and be loved; to not feel alone and belong with someone. I fail to understand how needing to love and be loved translates to loving God less.
It’s bad enough to have failed openly and be judged by your own community; it’s a lot worse to realise that the community will never let you try ever again.
No one saw any intimacy outside of holding hands and I’d say we should let God judge; they are accountable to him and not us. “Let whoever is without sin cast the first stone”
I know quite a few ministers and if people take careful note of them, they are almost 2 people; one is the one quivering and electrifying under the anointing and the other is the personality that is no different than the average Joe, tired, lonely often times just as discouraged as those he is preaching to.
Take a look at the prophets in the Bible and you will see character traits that are like looking in the mirror; they are no different than you and I. A few years ago, I talked about the psychology of transference.
It’s the emotional projection of our personal fears and turmoil at other peoples and situations causing us to react very forcefully either positively or negative to an experience outside of ourselves. When I reach a stage when I start feeling disappointed in others especially when it concerns my religion, I go back to the fundamentals of my faith and it’s summed up in 2 questions.
Is God any less God because a fellow man has stumbled or even failed? We all need to ask ourselves whether it’s the razzmatazz and presentation of religion that we believe or whether God is actually real to us. If God is real and true, then it shouldn’t matter if man is less than real or an outright lie!
The 2nd and even more important is this; do I love God any less? Thankfully that answer is always no; I love God in spite of man; therein lies my hope and expectations.