There was a post a while back where someone commented in terrible terms about Nigeria. It wasn’t the usual corruption, government criticism frustrated lamentations that we all indulge in almost everyday about our country. It was instead a blistering condemnation and crucifixion of Nigeria in very harsh and denigrating terms. It disturbed me terribly and I was so sad. It took me a while to understand what I was feeling was hurt, and a little bit longer to realize it was because the person was a Nigerian.
Let me explain.
When a foreigner speaks very very bad of Nigeria, I get pissed. But when a Nigerian speaks the same way, I realize that for you to speak that way of your own so openly means you do not even think of Nigeria as your own.
Maybe its just me. But if a stranger speak bad of my mum, what I will feel will be anger . . . okay, rage. But imagining one of my siblings speaking about her same way the stranger did will hurt me beyond words. What I will feel is pain. She is their mum too. They know her. The stranger doesn’t. How can they then speak like that about her
That was what I felt when I read that comment about Nigeria from a Nigerian.
It was then I realized I speak that way about the church. The body of Christ.
And it dawned on me – God feels pain and hurt when I talk like that about His Church. Not only because the church is His body but also because it shows division of his body, his children and also because my words show what I think of the people Jesus loved enough to die for.
No matter how much I disagree with my husband or siblings, there are certain words I will never use on them, talkless of talking about them in a denigratory way to outsiders. Do you know what will caution my mouth, no matter my ire? Love and loyalty, and that sense of ‘oneness’.
“It is not possible to ridicule what you love”
That lady didn’t have those feelings for Nigeria, so nothing cautioned her words. And I didn’t have those feelings for the church so nothing cautioned my own words about them.
The Church, like Nigeria might have lots of things wrong but how I talk about them is a more a reflection of how I feel about them than the actual facts.
The way I feel about my siblings is the way I should feel about the church because they are my siblings too. The Blood of Jesus makes us family. And until I think of them as family, I will not have loyalty and love to hold my tongue.
Does that mean we should not talk about what is wrong with our siblings, spouses, country, church? NO! We should. How else can we know our wrongs, repent and change.
But I believe we can all agree that there’s a difference between words that speak to our conscience with intention to inspire, change, motivate, uplift and restore, and words that are just to ridicule, beat down, destroy and strip of dignity.
It’s our choice. From inside us. “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks”.
First change what you feel about the church, then you can change how you talk about it.
I’m still working on that everyday.