I woke up the next morning not knowing what to do, I had prayed the previous night for God to speak to me and let me know he has forgiven me if he really has. I asked him to call my name out loud and tell me how much he loved me or even tell me in a dream, if he couldn’t speak to me audibly yet. But none of this happened.
Determined not to go anywhere, I neither went to our church nor did I go in search of my placenta (the program I was invited for). I just sat in my room and cried. I prayed, I sang and waited to hear Gods voice, but nothing happened.
A knock on my door woke me up; I had slept off while praying. I looked at my wrist watch, it was already 2:30pm. I reluctantly went to answer the door. It was Pastor Emeka, our assistant Pastor.
So they have sent him to me to come and haul me to the church for further embarrassment, maybe this time, it will be announced to whole church and I will be stopped from coming to church. What more could they do? I thought
Though I was surprised to see him, I just stood there and said nothing.
“Sister Nnenna, please will you let me in? good afternoon”
He sounded like Jesus standing at the door of my heart knocking the way He said it in Revelations. There was just something about Pastor Emeka that was different, he was very different from the others in the church and I respected Him, though I didn’t know much about Him but I chose to listen to Him anyway.
We talked at length and I told him everything that happened. I was surprised at his response;
“Nnenna, there is something I want you to understand; God doesn’t hold your sins against you anymore. The punishment was put on Jesus when he died on the cross; don’t believe anyone that tells you otherwise. God is eternally in love with you. He now sees you through the eyes of Jesus, He sees you as Christ, you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Your sins have been forgiven and you are new creature, that person that sinned is long dead, Christ now lives in you.”
He went ahead to make me understand Gods love all over again. I couldn’t believe it, it sounded too good to be true.
“God thinks you are holy, he sees you that way because of Jesus. He doesn’t love you any more or less now, His love for you is perfect and eternal, it doesn’t change with your feelings, it doesn’t even increase when you do good neither does it decrease when you sin. It’s not like a pendulum swinging left and right with your acts or deeds, no it’s a rock, a solid rock you can build you life and faith on. It is his commitment to you, He can’t fail or falter regardless of what you do or don’t do, He will never change his mind. I wish I can make you understand this”
His face was radiant with joy and the joy was palpable. He was aglow with God’s love!
“Wow!” Was all I could say
“The most beautiful thing is that His grace is ever abundant to ensure you don’t fall into sin again”
I was all smiles
He encouraged me to keep coming to Church since I was not going there to worship men but God. Most importantly, he instructed me to always study Gods word so I can know him for myself and know what he says about me instead of wallowing in guilt and self pity.
I was overwhelmed with joy, by the time he was leaving; I was already laughing and happy. It was as if God really came and spoke to me, He was an answer to my prayers.
“Ok sir. Thank you very much sir, you don’t know what you have done for me today. Am really grateful, please don’t mind me o, I didn’t cook today, please manage this” I said as I served Him the coke and biscuit I had planned to eat that day. I didn’t even mind, I was overwhelmed with joy.
“My dear, am not a visitor, I am your brother please don’t bother yourself”
“No sir, I insist.”
I didn’t mind giving him the snacks I wanted to take that afternoon. He stayed back to eat and I watched him eat it with so much delight. I didn’t even know men of God used to eat, I thought all they did was pray and share word. We talked more about family, work and life generally.
I felt so peaceful and renewed. I now had scriptures to fight the guilt that would come knocking and I needed to keep reminding myself of God’s love.
“One last thing dear, I want to forgive Bro David for betraying your trust. I apologize on his behalf”
“But sir, he is not even sorry, I confided in him and he promised to keep it to himself yet he said it was God that told him to say it. I don’t believe him anyway”
“Hmmm, my dear, the little I know about God, he doesn’t like to shame us. I don’t want you to see Him from that perspective; don’t be moved by what people say he said. It matters less, what is important is what he has revealed in his word about his nature and we can see it clearly through the life of Jesus. It is unmistakable.”
“Hmmm, sir I don’t know what to do, I feel so betrayed and he hasn’t even apologized”
“You don’t have to wait for him to, let it go. It may look hard but it’s very possible. You have been forgiven so you can now forgive others. Am praying for you and I trust the Holy Spirit to help you and teach you more. There is a lot more.”
Pastor Emeka made the Christian walk seem like an interesting adventure, and I was loving it all over again.
“Thank you for giving me your time”. He said as he stood up to leave, “I will see you later”.
To my greatest surprise Pastor Emeka left without preaching at me for not coming to church, I was thinking he came to scold me for being so rude and disobedient. It must really be true that God doesn’t like to shame us.
When I came back from seeing him off, I had 4 missed calls and a text message. It was from Bro David:
I have been instructed to inform you that you are requested to come for a meeting with the church board by 5pm tomorrow. Be punctual.
“Mtcheewww”…I hissed and threw my phone on the bed. But I remembered Pst Emeka’s advice and decided to go. I just wished everybody will be like him.
The conference room was a large air-conditioned room with a round table. It was well lit and the curtains were attractively flowered, I personally loved the orderly arrangement. There was a door at the other end written “counseling room” it led into the room where one could meet with the Pastor for personal counseling. There were also beautiful pictures on the wall of the room; the group picture of the church board members was conspicuously placed at the top corner of the other end. The Lords Holy Hill Assembly International was boldly written on the top of the enlarged picture frame.
There were also group pictures of the different unit members, each unit dressed in their unique attire, the choir, drama wing, ushers and prayer team, they really looked like warriors. The women ministry, men ministry as well as the youth and the children group pictures were hung securely all around the top most part of the wall. It was beautifully arranged. The picture of the senior pastor and his wife was not missing; in fact it was the largest of all the pictures. The wife was truly beautiful, it confirmed the findings of my previous research and I instantly concluded that men of God always married pretty ladies.
The church board members as well as Bro David were seated in a round table and I was seated at the end of the room near the door leading to the counseling room, that was where I was told to sit when I came in, the meeting had already begun before I arrived at the time I was given. I guess they started it about an hour before the time I was asked to come.
“Now that she is here, Bro David spoke, what I am saying is that not everybody must be a part of this church, we have a special holiness mandate from God, and it’s for only a select few- those who can pay the price. If you can’t, hmmmm I don’t know what will become of you. As for me, I have been living a holy life ever since I joined this ministry. The worst part is that she is even a member of my unit, as worshippers, we are the people that are expected uphold the banner of holiness unto the Lord, but look at what she has done. When I had that vision about her, I knew instantly that God wants us to take immediate action.”
“So what immediate action are you suggesting we take?” Pastor Jerry asked
I was still looking around when Pastor Emeka spoke:
“Sir, I have spoken with Nnenna extensively and she told me everything that happened. She is just a new convert and this incident happened before she gave her life to Christ. We can’t be judging her based on her past life. I believe God has forgiven her and we should do the same. She has repented and forsaken those ways”
“How do we know she has forsaken them?” Pastor Jerry, the senior pastor interrupted. “Sexual immorality is not something that one can let go of easily in a space of 6 months, there is a hold it has on the individual. What about the baby she killed? She has blood on her hands! You see, Pastor Emeka, this ministry was given to me directly from God to raise a holy people, condoning this act will contaminate the others. It will spread like wild fire. Sin is very contagious; you don’t understand the gravity of this act.”
“But what about the blood of Jesus?” Pastor Emeka continued, “She has the blood of Jesus on her hands too, all over her body. We must not forget that she is the reason Jesus died and she is now a new creature in Christ. Which of us did not ever sin in our life? Yet God forgave us, I think we should…”
“It’s ok Pastor Emeka”, Pastor Jerry interrupted, “Nnenna, please kindly wait outside; we will call you in after some minutes.”
I stood up; head bowed and walked outside while they debated over my life.
PS: The name of the church is purely fictional, any coincidence is unintentional