When Not To Blame The Devil

Their worlds are gradually looking like scenes set in a Hollywood blockbuster. The similarities they share have become notable defining marks in their lives. They are educated, neighbous, ostentatious in fashion, possessing gifts of gab, remarkably affluent, and have similar prefixes preceding their names. That is not all. They are from the South south region of the country and carry curly-hairs as their manes. The addition: one is a two-time divorcee, and runs a ‘household’, the other allegedly travelling down a similar road runs an ‘embassy’. The convergence in their trade is that both are pastors, with the highfaluting identity, Man of God, MoG. Welcome to the worlds of Pastors Chris Oyahkilome and Chris Okotie, Chief Executive Officers, Christ Embassy, and Household of God respectively. When the news of Pastor Chris separating from his wife, Anita, also a pastor, first broke in January, the church quickly put a lie to it. Not done, the eagle-eyed talebearers followed with an admonition Pastor Chris allegedly handed members of his London ‘embassy.’ Suspecting his matrimonial palaver was threatening the loyalty many of the Christian ‘diplomats’ in the embassy had for him, and because they had begun to show some sympathy for his wife, Pastor Chris allegedly moved in to whip them into line. He was alleged to have accused his wife of always being bitter, angry, ambitious and keeping friends unbecoming the wife of a ‘global pastor’ like him. The statement which started like a line in a poetry was definitely not one Anita would want read to her. Pastor Chris allegedly said: “Bitterness is prolonged and accumulated anger. My wife is always angry and bitter. “Some pastors’ wives think when they marry a pastor, they are equal to the pastor. My wife thinks so. As a matter of fact, Rev. Tom was her pastor before I married her and Rev. Ray and Evang. Owase were her leaders long before I married her. How come she thinks she’s senior to them now? “I already started Christ Embassy before I married her. I didn’t marry her and said we should start Christ Embassy. I was already ‘pastoring.’ I already set my sail and knew my direction before I married her. I only said ‘come and help me.’ “Be careful of the friends you keep. My wife keeps friends who bring out the worst in her and help her see the worst in people, instead of keeping friends that will help her vision, especially as the wife of a global pastor like me.” Although, there have not been any publicly-known rebuttal from Anita, but it emerged, yesterday, Friday, that she has responded in a quite lethal way. According to the news, she has filed a divorce suit in London over her husband’s ‘adultery and unreasonable behaviour.’ While Pastor Chris has not debunked the news, some people in certain quarters have joked the impact of the attack on him, as well as his embassy was as devastating as the one unleashed on the United States’ Embassy in Benghazi. The other Chris, a ‘householder’, and sometime ago pop star, has divorced twice. Pastor Chris Okotoie, presiding MoG at the Household of God, first divorced his campus lover, Tina, in 1998, and Stephanie Henshaw, who he married four years earlier, in 2012. The fashionista and walking vocabulary encyclopedia Pastor Okotie was reported to have sauntered on to pulpit to officially announce his separation to the church. “Stephanie and I are no longer married. We have separated. You can see she is not in church today. It is due to the irreconciliable differences and you should please respect our wishes at this time because there is no going back,” he told the church. Stephanie, a two-time divorcee herself, days later wrote on her Facebook wall: “Twenty years I have known a man, 15 years we have become the closest friends. I prepared his meals for 10 years, including the four years we were married. The day I was asked to leave, I prepared his meal, served it and left. For the four years he never fell ill, but today I am called all sorts of names.” The question working many people’s mind is what exactly is happening to the Chrises in the Lord’s Vineyard. To the less charitable watchers, the two Chrises actually depict what is happening in their lives. But to their flocks, it is the devil’s handiwork- the mysterious fall guy for all human misdemeanors. While they are unable to help the two Chrises carry their crosses, they will rather skillfully and mercilessly, bind, rebuke, invoke fire, and deploy the banned Weapons of Mass Destruction, on the wreaker of havoc –Devil - even though he physically did not act the offence. I think this is a time to lend some real help to Chris and Chris, let the devil be. Telling some home truths will do. Mafe Tamuno is a satirist, writes from University of Lagos

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