By Pat Amobi Chukwuma
A certain dubious girl was at large for three days. She left home on the pretence that she was going for an all night prayer crusade by a popular priest of God, which was about five kilometers away from her home. As a result of the long distance, she must travel by bus. She left home with a Bible and her hand bag. As she was stepping out, she was singing songs of praise to convince her widowed mother that she was going to encounter the Lord at Mountain Zion. She was expected to come back the following day.
Her mother was tensed up when it was midnight and she did not come back as expected. She called her on phone several times but her line was not reachable. After some time, she dialed again and again. It became clear that her phone was totally switched off. The mother became so much worried that her blood pressure rose above normal. In her anxiety, she urinated unconsciously on her clothe. It was when her clothe became wet that she regained consciousness. Her little daughter, who was leaning on her body, noticed the wetness.
Innocently she tapped her mother gently and said, “Mummy, you have urinated on your clothe. You have to wear pampers to avoid doing it again.” The mother looked at her angrily and shouted, “Shut up! Go and lie down and sleep.” She did so. The wet mother sat at the edge of the bed and was sleepless till daybreak. The tensed heat emanating from her body dried the wet clothe.
As soon as the cock crew, she went out with a burning local lamp and started searching everywhere for her missing daughter. She took pains and boarded a bus to visit the prayer crusade ground in search of her. On reaching there, she searched everywhere and made necessary enquiries, but all to no avail. She returned home and reported to the traditional ruler of her town who advised her to report immediately to the police. She reported with dispatch. The police promised to spring into action.
By this time the mother's tears were running like heavy flood from her eyes down her feet. At last she took her plight to God by entering a church and prostrating before the Holy of Holies. She poured out her heart to God saying with heavy tears: “O my precious God, I am in big trouble. My daughter is missing since three days now. You know everything and can see everywhere. Please tell me where my daughter is.” She cried pitifully to the Almighty God for help. After spending about two hours in tearful prayer, she left with unseen heavenly consolation.
On reaching home, behold her missing daughter was sitting in front of the house with smiles on her face. On sighting each other, both mother and daughter ran towards each other joyfully and embraced themselves deeply. Happily, the daughter carried her mother shoulder high and asserted, “Mummy, God is wonderful. He saved me miraculously from the hands of ritual men three days ago. In fact, I escaped by whiskers. Praise the Lord!” The happy mother exclaimed, “Alleluia! The Lord is good all the time!” Both mother and daughter danced joyfully for some minutes. Then the mother enquired, “My daughter what happened? Please tell me because my ears are itching seriously.”
The dubious daughter cleared her throat and started pouring out convincing lies. She narrated how some ritual men hijacked their bus. They later found themselves in a thick forest at midnight. The five ladies in the bus, including the dubious girl, were ordered out and marched into a terrifying shrine. The ritual men began to cut off their breasts one after the other.
When it was her turn, the evil men fidgeted when they saw the Rosary beads she was wearing. Instantly they ordered her to run away because she was an obstacle in their occult act. That was how she escaped miraculously.
The Holy Scripture says, “For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light” (Luke 8:17). After few months of the missing girl's miraculous escape, the mother discovered that her miraculous escaped daughter was three months pregnant. The poor widow broke into tears. After some verbal and actual threats, the daughter confessed that she did neither attend any prayer crusade nor was she kidnapped. It was a frame-up to justify her illicit action. Instead she went to her boyfriend's house and spent three nights with him. The pregnancy was the certificate she got from the lustful visit.
The mother lost her temper and beat her mercilessly with a club. She wanted to club her to death but for the quick intervention of an anxious neighbor. The enraged mother stopped beating her and shouted at her, “Liar and prostitute! You will live to regret!”
My people say, “Eziokwu bu Ndu” (Truth is Life). If truth is life, then falsehood (lie) is death. A person fond of telling lies is in dangerous bondage. He is never a free person. On the other hand, a truthful person enjoys freedom in all its ramifications. A liar can never be trusted. The Bible states: “A thief is better than a habitual liar, but both are headed for ruin. A liar has no honour. He lives in constant disgrace” (Proverbs 20:25 – 26). Lying and theft are both evil acts. However, where there are two unavoidable evils, you choose the lesser evil. But in essence a liar and a thief are liable to hell.
One of my uncles goes by the nickname “Ikpe mara eziokwu.” When you call him by the 3-word name, he responds: “Akaazu di ya.” This means that bribery is always involved whenever the Truth stands under condemnation. If there is a conflict between a rich and a poor man, justice demands that the truth must be said no matter who is at wrong. But if the rich is favoured because of his wealth, then it becomes injustice. A local slang has it that it is better for a dog to die at the gate of the fowl (cock). If it is the opposite, everyone will believe that the dog bit the fowl to death.
The truth must not be compromised. In Nigeria today, many people in the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Arms of Government compromise the truth because of the quest for political power or for money. It is often done to justify the party in power. Some persons tell lies in order to remain relevant or to save their faces. Some magistrates and judges make false judgments in the Law court because their palms are oiled by the powers that be. The Learned Men of the Bar emphasize that they do not tell lies, instead they deal with facts.
From my encounter in the bar so far (as an observer), I do not mince words to say that often the Facts are embedded in falsehood. Truth is truth. A lie is a lie. No lie is holy. If a Man of God or a Priest tells a lie, is the lie holy? Of course, it is not. Therefore, no lie is holy, even if an Angel tells it.
A house built on lies as foundation is bound to collapse sooner or later. A church founded on lies is a disaster. A government built on lies will definitely crumble. Some individuals in our society today breathe in lies and breathe out lies. We are morally bound to tell the Truth always even under threat. Jesus Christ our Saviour died for the Truth. John the Baptist was martyred because he said the truth. Anyone who is silent about the truth is equally a liar. The Holy Writ says, “The trustworthy witness leads to the truth, and the liar to confusion. The one who speaks thoughtlessly pierces like a sword; but the words of the wise bring healing.
Truthful words endure forever but lies for only a moment … Yahweh hates the lips of liars and loves those who speak the truth” (Proverbs 12:17 – 19, 22). Truth is a virtue while lying is a vice. The children of God live by the truth while the children of the Evil One live by falsehood. Whose child are you?