“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
3 years have now passed since that day Rhoda left Bolanle’s house . Rhoda was amazed how God had turned Bolanle’s life around as she sat in the conference room watching her best friend preach to an audience of about 200 women. Bolanle had become on fire for God, bringing people to the Knowledge of Christ and not hesitating to tell anyone who had ears to listen about her “encounter with the Awesome Jesus”. She was no longer the woman who said “Abegi, the God I’ve heard you Christians talk about is just a bully that just tells you go and you have no choice but to go! How can you people call that love?”
Rhoda remembered their last “religious war” some months before Bolanle’s wedding. Rhoda was going through her Instagram page when she saw the news of a particular pastor on a popular Instagram blog that they accused of infidelity. Rhoda showed Bolanle her phone and they read the news together.
“Nigerians are so gullible! See how they are defending him in the comments section” Bolanle said as she got up to plug in her phone to charge.
“I wish Nigerians will just come to their senses that religion is a scam and a sham that the white men brought to us. I wish they’d just see that they did that to make our forefathers submissive to them. Some people have given their all to these pastors in the name of tithe yet they can’t even feed properly and their pastors are riding the best cars and owning private jets” Bolanle continued
“Madam, the man is being accused of fornication or is it adultery? Why are you now digressing and blaming the whole church at large and other pastors ehn?” Rhoda said matter-of-factly.
“Because Christians are just so gullible! I don’t understand how you can believe in a book that was written by a group of people who came together to ruin your life! And cage your brains!”
“Bolanle please don’t even start. The bible was not written by the white man. They only compiled the books and every scripture was given by the inspiration of the Holyspirit” Rhoda answered standing up. “I don’t blame you, shey I’m the one that came to give you gist about a pastor that’s why you can have mouth as an unbeliever. I don’t blame you at all! I blame all these Christians that fall Jesus hand and bring our issues that can be solved in church to the limelight and be allowing people like you talk and condemn us. Nonsense” Rhoda hissed.
“Rhoda darling” Bolanle let out a very loud laugh that made Rhoda even more pissed “the truth is bitter, Religion is a sham and a scam! Yep I said it again and I will continue saying it till you wake up”
Rhoda just stared at her wishing she knew more of the bible to tackle her. She was so pissed right now, she wanted to slap her for saying her religion is a scam.
“Listen to me Bolanle, please mind your business let me do my own and do your own. Have I ever forced you to be a Christian? So why do you always have something terrible to say about my religion. I was born a Christian and I will die as one. When the time comes and I’m in heaven then all of you that refuse to believe will find yourself in hell.”
Bolanle laughed even harder than the last time. “Rhoda, Christianity has done nothing for you. I’ve known you since we were little and I’ve always being better than you in life generally. How can there be a God and you a church freak had to stay at home for 3 years before getting admission into the uni? Yet I got in immediately and I’m even getting married before you and you haven’t had a man since I can remember. Don’t you see it Rhoda? It’s just brain wash.”
Rhoda’s countenance changed. Bolanle’s statement hurt her. She tried hard to fight the tears.
Bolanle didn’t even notice, she continued “I’m not trying to make you feel bad but I’m just saying if there was a Jesus as you claim with the way you serve him; you should own a G-wagon by now.” She laughed and continued “See, so far you do what is right, give to the poor, help the needy, don’t plan evil against anyone then God is fine. Do you know how many religions are in the world? You people keep saying Jesus is the only way so all those countries will perish? For example now, our fore fathers that never had anyone tell them about Jeusus and lived life right, do you think they will end up in hell?”
That night Rhoda couldn’t sleep, she kept turning and turning thinking about how Bolanle had it all in actual fact and all she said to her that afternoon. Here she was single and desperately searching yet Bolanle an unbeliever was getting married. She had also noticed many unbelievers got good jobs and all those other good stuff but believers always had it tough. Even though the Pastor keeps saying God was going to provide for his children abundantly than all they could ever think of.
Is God really a bully?
After that day Rhoda resolved never to talk about Jesus to Bolanle again. If she wanted to end up in hell then that was her problem.
“Let’s all rise up and worship Jesus. The author and finisher of our faith, our way maker, our light..” Rhoda jerked back to the reality in front of her. The new Bolanle.
This Bolanle that moved back to Lagos because God was leading her to Lagos. This new Bolanle no longer saw God as a bully and is now “led” by the spirit. She also now runs a mentoring program for teenagers and youths to help them build their faith in Christ and know His will for their lives. She now allowed the Holyspirit control her tongue. This new Bolanle was now a new creation.
Now Rhoda realized she was just a church-goer who played religion and not a real Christian back then, beca now she knows better. If she had being a true Christian then and not just someone that believed because her parents told her so, or because she was born as one, she would have been able to answer Bolanle then with John 15:22 when she asked her what would happen to the forefathers who never heard about Christ, not cry at night and doubt her own faith. She would have been able to tell Bolanle that the riches of this world is nothing compared to the glory of the Father and will eventually fade away because the things of this world is temporary but God will remain. That even if unbelievers seem to be doing well, it was part of God’s kindness that he gives as he pleases, he makes the rain fall and the sun shine on both the wicked and the righteous and that was not guarantee of anything.
Rhoda had been one of those Christians who thought prosperity was proof of your Christianity. Well the kind of influence she had then from her pastors was the kind that says “My God is not a poor God so you cannot be poor” as if that was all there was to God. They never made Heaven a mandate or Love a requirement neither did they make soul winning a purpose. Becoming like Jesus was not even a goal. All they did was talk about how grace covered them no matter what they did.
Rhoda wished she had being well grounded in the word then, she wouldn’t have felt the need to argue, to defend God. She would have taught Bolanle patiently with love. She would have prayed for Bolanle and not create the hate box in her heart. Rhoda could not even remember if she had a prayer life before then. She didn’t have a relationship with Jesus then yet she would call herself a Christian. Yet she thought she was going to make Heaven. She now understands why 1corithians 12:3 says “no one can say that Jesus is lord, except by the Holyspirit” because the Holyspirit is the one that convicts.
“Dear God, thank you for bringing me out of that darkness. I was so stupid!” Rhoda whispered with tears as the worship session went on.
And it was why God used someone else to get her friend because even she too needed redemption. It was a typical “one stone, two birds” situation because he used Bolanle to bring her to the light. Thank God for women like Pelumi who genuinely burned for God. Now she also understood why God had said she didn’t love Bolanle, because really she didn’t.
Love is patient and kind.
Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud.
Love is not rude, it is not selfish, and it cannot be made angry easily.
Love does not remember wrongs done against it.
Love is never happy when others do wrong, but it is always happy with the truth.
Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits.
The last 4years has been quite amazing for the both of them in their walk with Christ. Rhoda has now learnt that you cannot love without God because God is love. That Divine relationships not only happens with the opposite sex as two women can have a divine relationship and help build each other spiritually like Pelumi and Nneka. That the goal was to be like Jesus who is the standard because he showed love by laying down his life for his friends. His friends, that’s how the bible puts it, because you shouldn’t call someone friend yet not love the person and that most importantly you shouldn’t call someone your friend and yet not share Jesus with that person, not with anger, pride and strife the way she did it but with love the way Pelumi did it.
Read Episode 1
Read Episode 2
Read Episode 3
Read Episode 4