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Coming out of the ruins of a shameful past

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Bishop Charles Ighele

I was in debt when I was courting my wife, Carol. I was ill for over two years and the illness affected my means of livelihood. When I bounced back to life, I felt the need to have a wife and so, I proposed to Carol. I did not tell her that I owed house rent in the three-bedroom flat I occupied as a single. The landlord did not disturb me throughout that long period because I was usually the first to pay among the tenants. When he could no longer bear it, he employed the services of a huge, terrible looking thug to collect his rent from me.

The thug would come to my house and lie down in my bedroom or parlour, just to embarrass me. Carol hardly visited me during our courtship. She lived with her well-organised parents. She could not dash out of their home anyhow without her parents knowing where she was going.

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I was, however, scared as I thought, “what if the caretaker thug comes when Carol is around?” What I feared came to pass one Sunday afternoon after service. Carol was to take a book from me. As we strolled into my compound of a block of four flats, the caretaker thug emerged from under the staircase that led to my flat upstairs.

From the way he moved towards me, I knew he was ready to disgrace me in the presence of my fiancé, Carol. He came nearer and pushed me gently on my right shoulder. I responded by warning him never to touch me again. I spoke harshly to him. Before now, I used to beg him not to disgrace me.

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But before my babe Carol, ah! I decided to fight back. But do you know what? I was praying silently in my heart that God should touch him and disarm him of his thuggery, so that he would not slap me or deliver a terrible blow to my face.

To my greatest surprise and utter relief, the man turned and went away. Praise God. As I entered my house with Carol, I was filled with shame and sadness. After some period of silence, she asked me, “Are you owing house rent?” My response was “don’t mind him. I used to be the first to pay…” The shame was too much for me. Carol asked again, “Are you owing house rent?” After some inner struggle, I finally humbled myself and owned up. It was the same Carol I was hiding my shame from that gave me advice on how to approach and pacify the landlord. Based on her advice, which I followed, the landlord eventually withdrew the thug and I was allowed to stay, while I paid the arrears little by little.

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The lesson I learnt from this encounter is that the only way not to be under the power and torment of shame is to repent and let your loved ones know of what you have done wrong and the impending shame.

Also, stop regretting your shameful past. Know that shameful things happen to every human being. Pick up your life again “despising the shame” (Hebrews 12:2) Like David, Jesus and countless number of successful people.

The daughter of a very responsible Christian couple was impregnated by a very irresponsible teenager. The Christian couple despised the shame by raising up the child as their own. Today, that child is a highly responsible young man. His mother got married to a wealthy responsible man some years later after she had despised the shame and completed her university education. Despise your shame and start making a new story out of the ruins of your shameful past. Love you.

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