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This arm of flesh

By Debbie Olujobi

Trust is a very big thing for most of us; trust is the key that opens the door of our hearts. Once we give someone our trust; we hand over the key to the strong room of our soul. Sadly placing trust in our fellow man can be hazardous; the Bible agrees and if you split the good book right in the middle you will find that Psalm 118 verse 8 says and I quote ” It is better to trust in The Lord than to put confidence in man”.

This bitter truth we all learn again and again and we just never can stop ourselves from trusting. It is my personal belief that the only way to stop trusting people is to become bitter, reclusive and alone, that is not attractive to me, so I take my chances. I have reduced my expectations to zilch where most people are concerned, so even where my trust is betrayed, my heart is not broken; it may get dented but its not broken. The reality is that all men buckle under the weight of a responsibility as heavy as trust; at one time we have all failed God and our fellow men. I blame it on our intrinsic nature; our flesh remains our weakness and it can not only manifest in weakness it is capable of wickedness; pure evil.

I have always thought life would have been simpler if our thoughts could be viewed on our foreheads like a mobile television. Such transparency would drive evil out of the shadows into the brightness of truth. The real issue is that we are created to crave communion in a pursuit of fulfilment. No man Is self existing, we need and desire the joy that is to be found in communion with the opposite sex and even amongst friends and family.

That need is our undoing; what it means for us is that we invest in a venture that carries a more than a seventy percent risk of failure and that risk is multi layered. Loved ones can break our hearts by deception, by differences, and they can leave us by choice or by fate; the end result is always pain. Every association with a human element carries a high risk factor because we are creatures of emotion who change with the times, the whims, the desires and at times naked ambition. When I look into my heart, I am humbled by God’s love. The one who sees me in all areas, who I cant hide any of my darker emotions from with my smile, who truly knows what I am capable of and still chooses to love me is certainly worthy of all my praise.

What can at best be described as a tragedy occurred a few years ago, I didn’t know the lead actors at the time of occurrence but a chance encounter put me face to face with one of them this time last year. To explain my reaction to the event I should mention that I grew up in a household where domestic violence was a regular occurrence, it shaped my mind to resent violence as an expression in any manner or form, especially towards women.

Volunteering in the prison ministry also regularly exposes me to people who have committed crimes that defy the expectation of right and wrong. I had gone for a ministration last year and as usual I had noticed some inmates that didn’t look like they belonged behind bars.  Three in particular stood out because of their dressing, composure and diction.

My assumption had been that perhaps they were there for white collar crimes and I didn’t think much of it till I had seen one of the faces above a horrible headline in the papers sometime later. It is not my place to judge so while I was very horrified at the allegations, I had just left it at the foot of the cross. It may be infuriating for my readers that I choose not to disclose names or delve into situations but I tread lightly as a disciple so I cannot judge or gossip. What I can say is that an act of violence was committed in a relationship that should have been sacred and it ended a life painfully and horribly.

The tragedy took a dramatic turn lately and it enters a new phase that offers no healing or even closure for anyone. The reality on ground is that a young life has been cut short and the law demands vengeance; we call it justice. It is not my place to advocate innocence I cant prove or scorn the voices crying for justice. What appals me is the very nature of man that makes it possible for such evil to be perpetrated by man to his fellow man.

Inside everyone of us is a saint and a sinner and while I hope to God we will not in a fit of rage kill a loved one; we have inside of us the ingredients to make cake or a bomb. I spent a lot of time this weekend pondering the constitution of our psyches, I was trying to piece together the sequence of triggers that can cause a man to degenerate from anger to rage and finally descend into an abyss of evil. The Bible repeatedly warns us that the arm of flesh will fail us and the truth of that is plain to see; what is unsettling is that the arm of flesh is at times eager to destroy itself and others. Is it destiny to fall into the arms of evil or are some people programmed for destruction?

Take away the spiritual musings and lets look realistically at the close correlation between evil and madness. Can some criminal acts actually be the consequence of madness or do we just assume that some people are beyond redemption and evil personified? Most Psychologists will tell you that most minds can degenerate into madness given the right triggers while some are genetically predisposed. My conclusion is that all flesh is weak and without God predisposed to evil. I also believe that we are all predisposed to doing dastardly acts in fits of rage, sadly for some those acts define destinies and will be interpreted as evil. I pray God to comfort all those touched by crime and tragedy. Sadly, that the arm of flesh is weak, deceitful and destructive is no defence in the eyes of the law, may we all continue to receive grace to subdue our flesh


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