To properly immerse yourself in the Nigerian Christian culture, there are several things you must do but principal of all, you must learn the language with which you must communicate. For example:
- Find someone to call ‘mummy in the lord’ or ‘daddy in the lord’. It doesn’t matter the age. Just find someone for this prestigious title.
- Remember that ‘We thank God’ is the answer to ‘how are you?’
- When someone asks for your skin care regimen, say: ‘it can only be God o’.
- If they ask the secret of your success, say it again: ‘it can only be God o’. Under no circumstance will you leave the ‘o’ out.
- Don’t say ‘I am sick’. Say: ‘I am strong’.
- Don’t say ‘I am broke’. Say: ‘I am rich’.
- Don’t say ‘I don’t know what to do’. Say: ‘it is well’.
Okay. Jokes apart and removing my satirical cloak, I don’t have a problem with how anybody chooses to express themselves. I don’t believe in uniformity. So, by all means, communicate how you wish. The problem starts when you try to force me to say ‘God will be faithful in my finances’ instead of ‘I’m broke’. Do you really want to go down this lane?
I once wrote an exam that didn’t go as planned. I came out of the hall feeling a deep sense of failure, feeling stupid because the answers came to me after I had turned in my papers. My Christian friend approached me, held my hands and asked how my exam went. I told him it was bad.
“Don’t say it was bad. Stop it. It was good in Jesus name. Say ‘it is good in Jesus name’. You are the daughter of a king, act like one.” He then lapsed into a lecture on faith and prophetic declarations; calling the things that were not as if they were so they could come to be. Joel 3:10.
After he left, I started thinking about delusions because it looked like a delusion to me. Does faith really work this way? Did the Centurion not tell Jesus that his servant was sick? Or, is it because Jesus said a dead little girl was sleeping? Or, is it because of that Don Moen song: “Let the weak say I am strong…because of what the Lord has done for us”?
I am no expert on the subject but I don’t see how owning up to my illness will exclude me from a miracle. I don’t see God being disappointed in me because I did not say I was strong when I was not.
I also think that Nigerian Christians are addicted to denying facts because we want to feel good all the time. We want to appear strong, contained and ‘getting it’ all the time. Nobody is ready to be vulnerable. Nobody is ready to say things are not working out. Nobody is ready to own shortcomings or weaknesses or lack. In many of our gatherings, if not all, there is little or no space to have real conversations; to own up to housing fear or doubt or worry. We can’t be strong all the time. We can’t feel good all the time. Even Jesus did not feel good all the time.
Having said that, can we quit the charade already?