A friend of mine called me up the other day to remind me of some of the pranks we played against the born-again christians during our Pharmacy school days at UNN more than two decades ago. He told several stories of how the "born-again" christians were such a bunch of nuisance on campus in those days. He reminded me of how the born-again christians would adamantly refuse to vacate their hostel rooms for their non born-again hostel room-mates who often chose to convert their joint-hostel-rooms to "mini-improvised-hotel-rooms" with the intent of engaging in unholy activities.
Back then, such an act was described in UNN slang and parlance as "going on exile." So much was this issue amongst the students that the first thing most people wanted to know was if their room-mates were either believers or not. If they were, they either began to think of changing rooms or they would begin to think of ways to frustrate that believer out of the room.
So, when my friend brought up this story, he reminded me of one of such encounters that we had when we were sharing a room in Awo Hall.
I must confess that I could not believe that we did that!
But yes, we did!
At that point in time, we had built a reputation as the "happening dudes on campus." So, to think of sharing our room with a born-again christian who would counter our ideas was not something we wanted to hear or even consider. So, when we saw Bro So-and-so step into our room to tell us that he was going to be our new roommate, we immediately stereotyped his mannerisms to be very typical of a born-again christian.
So, we asked him if he was one, and he boldly said that he was...with a cheerful, radiant smile on his face.
So, we told him to come back in one hour when we would be more interested in his story. And surprisingly, he left without trying to argue with us that he had as much right as we did to the room. But before he could come back in an hour, we had devised a plan.
And what was that plan?
Well, we chose to scare the heck out of him by acting as if we were staunch idol worshippers. We brought the image of an art work that was crafted and molded with a human face like an effigy. And began to dance and bow to the image when he came back. When he saw what we were doing, he simply left.
And just as we were relaxing and jubilating that another nuisance had just been gotten rid of, he came back to the room with another student who was two years my senior back in our High School days. And the name of that other student was Ogoke Jonathan.
Ogoke Jonathan (now a Professor of Agriculture) was senior prefect of my High School two years before I served in the same capacity during our set. So, because of that and several other reasons, he commanded my respect in more ways than one!
So, unknown to me, the fellow we were trying to get out of the room was a member of his campus fellowship. So, when he was told of the room in question, he recalled that it was my room and chose to come to talk to me on behalf of his friend.
And guess what, when I saw Ogoke Jonathan, I felt so embarrassed acting that way (because he had been talking to me about Jesus). And with a smile on his face mixed with a tinge of disappointment, he asked me this question:
"But why are you behaving this way?"
My dear, it pays to have someone you respect in your life. Someone who can change your attitude with a simple question. I dare say that that question was all I needed to change my mind. And with a note of repentance, I talked to the other roommates to let him be. And in retrospect, I can categorically state that that brother was one of the finest room mates we eventually had.
Another prank we played back then was when a pretty lady came to tell us about Jesus. Now, I don't know if we listened to her just because of her beauty and charisma or some other reasons. But all I could recall now was that when they came back to get us to the fellowship venue the next week, we acted like we were in some very deep sleep...snoring loudly and so "deep was that sleep" that, not even a leg- kick could wake us up!
And what is the import of these stories...you ask? It is for us to see how people can just take exceptions to us because of our passion for Jesus as born again christians, It is for us to see how our conducts can radiate respect in the heart of the other person, it is for us to appreciate that shame is not what we care about when we talk about Jesus. That was why when I became a born-again christian, and became passionate about Jesus and his word, I began to publish it, witness it, and broadcast it both in season and out of season.
Now, that passion has also landed me in a few murky waters a few times. One of such times was when I invaded the Pharmaceutical Society Of Nigeria's Facebook group with the story of Jesus via my writings. Expectedly, some of them who claim to be christians came after me. They called me names like, "bigot" "fanatic" "zealous" "stupid" etc. They reminded me that all we should share on that group was pharmacy-related information, they considered it an insult to come and talk about Jesus in a professional group.
And when I reminded them that while it was the responsibility of the group's Administrator to vet and censor whatever was posted, I had the right to share anything in any group that I belonged to...they knew that the fault was not mine. I also reminded them that if the Apostles of old were that dignified about sharing the gospel, they would not have dared the Sanhedrin of old contrary to the protocol of that day, they would not also have disregarded the rules against preaching Jesus, they would not have even suffered the many reproaches they experienced because of the gospel...and by extension, we would not have received the message of reconciliation in Christ Jesus.
But kindly note that in all of those situations, my staying power was that I, who formerly assumed (ignorantly) that the gospel was a boring chore meant only for lazy folks, was found worthy to preach the same timeless, too-good-to-be-true glad tidings of the kingdom....And not only that, but was also branded by these unsavory epithets: "bigot" "fanatic" "zealous" and "stupid" by some of my very honorable professional colleagues!
But did those name-tags stick on me? No!
Did I answer to them? No!
Did I get intimidated by them? No!
Did I hate them? No
Instead of those, I got fired up the more to keep inspiring hope in the hearts of people using the tool of the word of God.
And guess what, in no time, some of them began to inbox me with their testimonies and love for Jesus...Hallelujah!!!
So, my dear friend, step out in style today, be bold for Jesus both in season and out of season...Lifting up the glorious and gracious banner of Jesus to the rest of the world, and you will soon begin to see the manifest harvest of souls in the kingdom.
God bless you richly...and kindly let me have your feedback. Shalom!
Yours in His service,
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Dr Iyke Nwambie is the President of the Advancement Ministries World Outreach Inc.
Hosts of the weekly christian inspirational TV broadcast, "The Advancement Strategies Broadcast"
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