Making Christian arguments should go beyond just being emotional

A lot of us Christians seem to just talk or argue from emotions when making a defense of our faith, which is good, but sometimes, a little bit of facts will help our arguments. We are obviously in an era when one will have to rely on a great dose of wits even as a Christian, just to win a single soul, or advance a case for Christ. It’s like this generation of unbelievers are so knowledgeable and not just ‘blindly’ stuck in their worldly ways, but they have a lot of ‘convincing facts’ to support the things they do. It’s like a facts-based generation and any Christian who attempts to witness to this generation must aside being sentimental, equally have his/her facts well laid out, such that it makes sense.

It’s like Christianity no longer makes sense to a lot of folks out there…unless we present very convincing facts. However, many a Christian will not even research just a little into the things s/he is for or against…and then falls short when an argument erupts with an unbeliever. Of course, it’s the Holy Spirit that convicts, which is the ultimate truth, but isn’t there a reason why God gave us brains too? I fear if we do not know our Bible so well, and get as much additional knowledge as possible, we will soon lose out and be ineffective in our missions because gone are the days when we were witnessing to “illiterates”.

Our tasks in recent times (in this generation) have become bigger and while we are at it being “emotionally” sentimental and discrediting our exalted faith with total disregard for basic professionalism and Christian ethics (given all the many scandalous acts or antics of our men of God), the world we must win is strategically studying, effectively planning and “falsely and enticingly dividing our word of truth”. It’s not just sentiments that will win us the battle in an era where the tables are turning and paganism (in all its forms and vices) is taking foothold and is being exalted above all that is comprehensible to the Christian mind.

I feel when you study and you know, you have a firmer grounding and cannot be easily swayed, but that’s the Christian’s problem today, because we are only looking to the “pulpit” for the very least Christian knowledge. We would rather spend our time championing our Pastors rather than studying the word for ourselves. Because our focus is only on our Pastors, we have become the kind of Christians that could be easily misled or deceived by our Pastors without even realizing it.

Perhaps, it is high time we move beyond just being over emotional as Christians anytime our faith comes into question. There is a lot at stake and being just emotional may not cut it; it’s important for a Christian to be well studied and seek knowledge so as not to fall short.

Some may rightly argue on the basis of 1 Corinthians 2:4-5 that wits doesn’t bring any man to the kingdom and it is only the Holy Spirit that truly draws a man unto Christ by His own power. The argument is also rightly made that men may begin to trust in their methods for “reaching” and “winning” souls, when in fact, all it takes is God’s own Spirit, working through a man, studied or not.

“and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God” ~ 1 Corinthians 2:4-5

Those are very good points or arguments to make. However, the thrust of this post is not to promote intellectual cunningness. I still believe though that in our day and time and just like the very learned Paul, our ministries are and will be more effectual when we are well studied, with not only knowledge from the Bible. I do not in anyway want to push the Holy Spirit to the background and assume that it is man himself who wins a soul.

But, I still think Paul was very effective in his ministry also to a large extent because of his high learning…judging from 1 Cor 9:22. I can boldly say he didn’t use illiteracy to witness to the gurus of knowledge, neither did he just go manifesting the Holy Spirit to the learned and just winning them like that. There are accounts of he using intellectual battling (plus the help of the Holy Spirit) in winning “strong learned hearts who try to defy all truths”.

Hence, there’s always a methodology we must use…Jesus had his methodology and didn’t just go manifesting Holy Spirit anyhow to win souls, I guess. Paul had his. Peter had his. Yet still, we must understand the balance, that not all will be won by mere intellectual discourse; some will have to be “only by prayer and fasting” like in Mark 9:29.

Happy Easter! Christ is risen, a victor from the dark domain and lives forever with His saints to reign! May Christ’s death and resurrection bring us wholeness and victory in every area of our lives!

©Mark Gadogbe, 2021

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Owning up to our realities

All there is to life is facing reality. You can’t escape the realities of life; you can only live through it (facing one reality after the other) and hope to grow through it. Nobody’s life is easier; we are all facing realities, but just differently.

Reality is always staring us in the face but we always try to look the other way. Many times, we truly just don’t want to face reality. Perhaps, it’s a much bitter pill to swallow; so, we keep trying to run away from it…forgetting that we may only be plunging ourselves into another reality in a different form.

If you think somebody’s life is rosier than yours, think again. If you think somebody’s relationship/marriage is better, happier and shinier than yours, think again. Accept yours as it is and invest in it. If you think those who are married are better and more fulfilled than you, think again, my dear. If you think those living in cosier houses, environment and own expensive cars are way much better and happier than you, think again. If you think those who are academically more accomplished than you are better than you, spare yourself a moment and think through again.

Perhaps, you also think those who have never experienced a relationship failure (“broken heart”) are better than you? Think again. Do you know what they might have lost in life? Well, maybe you might also be thinking those who married young are better than you who married late? Think again, for in this life, nothing is ever a sure guarantee.

No permutation is ever a sure bet in this life, trust me. We’ve seen young people die in their prime. We’ve seen young marriages collapse. We’ve seen far too many young people becoming widows and widowers. We’ve seen people’s fortunes turn upside down just overnight. We’ve seen and heard all the unthinkable happen! Why then do we place so much confidence in this life and worry ourselves to death, thinking we are perhaps the only ones experiencing the harsh realities of life, and trying to wish it away? You may be surprised that life is fucking everybody up!

It’s important you enjoy your own little life and be thankful for it, for the day you hear people’s full stories, you would wish you were never them. If life could be traded or exchanged, many will regret purchasing other people’s lives. People only show you what they want to show you, and trust me, there’s so much gabbage in people’s lives that you wouldn’t want to buy or even envy, if only you knew the full story. People are fighting hidden battles we are never privileged to see.

Sometimes, it is only when God opens our eyes to see what is going on in other people’s lives that we become thankful and accepting of our own realities. In such moments we realize after all, that our own lives and realities are perhaps better off than we thought or imagined.

We should make the best of our time here on earth for life in itself is not promised (guaranteed). Here today, gone tomorrow. That’s the life we’re truly living. Grace is the only differentiator.

©Mark Gadogbe, 2021

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Every man wants something in a woman

Know your man, then you’ll know his needs and how you fit in with meeting those needs.

Then, know yourself also, if you really are the one you think he really needs.

©Mark Gadogbe, 2021

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The Domestic Violence and Divorce Conundrum…

I have always maintained that we must be alive, first of all, to make our marriages or relationships work. That stance I do not think will ever change.

It is therefore absolutely important that people are encouraged to run from toxic and abusive unions and not waste anytime trying to save it, especially with physical abuse. Chances are that, the more minutes one wastes to stay and save an abusive marriage / relationship from collapse, the more opportunities one loses to even save themselves.

Sometimes, we put undue focus on preserving the sanctity of the marriage institution than safeguarding the sanity of the people in it, who are affected the most from any fallout, and who should at all cost be protected from abuse of all kinds. Jesus loves the individuals just as much as the institution of marriage; does He not? It would be difficult to wrap ones head around any religion or culture that wouldn’t value human life more than doctrines or practices.

Maybe part of the problem is that good people wait forever for bad situations to change, and that’s how they get played by bad people or their abusers who overtime get convinced and emboldened by the victim’s own decision of clinging on to a false hope that things would eventually change. Indeed, some choose to stay because of the kids, but in the end still die at the hands of their abusers, leaving the kids.

And how on earth a large part of society, including some churches still encourages people to stay, fast and pray away abuse in marriage and it will somehow disappear miraculously sometimes beats imagination. I absolutely believe in the power of prayer but I do not believe it is the solution to everything. I can never understand why in our part of the world, every problem we face must be attributed to some fact that we are either not prayerful or praying hard enough, or might have sinned against God.

Maybe we erroneously interpret the “for better for worse” marriage vow to simply mean people should die in their marriage irrespective of whether they are being physically abused or not. It always comes down to the sad conclusions that after all, “God hates divorce“, “what He has put together, no man should put asunder“, “infidelity is the only grounds for divorce“, etc. Then, there are often other statements that suggest that the victims perhaps did not pray enough or sought well the face of God in choosing their partners, hence the situation they find themselves in. Really? Godly people don’t change? We’ve not seen enough examples of very spiritual people who are intoxicated by the Holy Spirit himself acting like beasts? What’s even the guarantee that somebody being spiritual and approved by God today cannot change tomorrow or when it comes to God revealing marriage partners, that kind of revelation no longer comes in part but in full? I shudder to ask because anytime revelations / prophesies come from God, we are always told they come in part and not in full; and that is sometimes used to explain away why some revelations or prophesies fail, or?

Sometimes we just use our own interpretations and the ones we’ve grown up to be taught to limit the wisdom of God. And sometimes, we do it so much to suggest that we the interpreters of the Bible are ourselves wiser than God. We really try so hard to put God in a box, our own little boxes, outside of which He has no room to operate.

Marriage is great but sometimes we make marriage look and feel more like a bait for some, allowing many evil and unthinkable things to happen in the marriage, and people cannot break free as long as the issues does not involve infidelity. We have continuously pushed the rhetorics of infidelity at the expense of things that are sometimes worse than infidelity, such as physical abuse or domestic violence and maltreatment. Perhaps we forget that some people in a marital union are more accepting of infidelity and can live with it but can never stand violence, maltreatment and physical abuse. There are spouses who will never commit infidelity and yet are so wicked and abusive that continuing to live with them is more than signing ones own death warrant.

Apparently, the kind of rhetorics we push, even in our churches, makes God look like someone who approves of every kind of vice in marriage, except infidelity. We are happy as a people for women (who are mostly victims of physical abuse) to continue to hide behind makeups and concealers to paint beautiful faces that hides the scars of abuse, saving face in public and deceiving themselves and younger generations that they are enjoying a “God ordained marriage”.

God must be happy too, right?

As for me, I only tell people one thing: don’t buy anybody’s idea of “God hates divorce” and die in your abusive marriage. God does hate divorce, and neither is divorce a thrill for many right thinking couples because nobody enters happily into marriage to just get up and divorce. Context is very critical in the evaluation of every issue to which a rule or law applies. I have always asked extremists who lean on the rhetorics of “infidelity is the only grounds for divorce and that is final” this simple questions that I never get answers to: To whose benefit is it when people endure physical abuse and die in their marriage? God? Are the victims given a crown for that in Heaven for staying and dying? You think it’s enough to just preach “God hates divorce” and life goes on? Do you know how many Christians are perpetuating so much evil within the walls of marriage but will not even cheat for their spouse to as it may have at least that “one ground” to seek divorce?

You must be just a religious fanatic to think that far worse things do not happen in marriage than infidelity and people feel trapped just because God has only given one ground for divorce in the Bible. Just like any enterprise, if a marriage won’t work after you have put in your everything, including prayers, it just won’t work. Accept that and move on. Run even when it involves physical abuse.

In any case, even though marriage is an institution of God and a spiritual union, aside it being physical, no marriage will ever exist without the willingness of two individuals committing to the journey. Christian marriage is not a union solemnized at gun point or with knife to the throat. Two consenting adults find each other, express love for each other and decide to live together, seek approval of parents, bring the marriage to be covenanted before God in a Church (which then makes it a Christian marriage, as legally, the laws only see the Church as a venue for holding marriage), then a certificate from the state (not church) is given to them and they go on to live as married couples. So, at any point where one partner, irrespective of the circumstance, becomes unwilling to go on, and all effort to solve the issue fails, the union is as good as dead and no amount of not allowing them to go their separate ways because “God hates divorce” can ever make that marriage a happy one. The ability of a marriage to stand is always premised on the two consenting individuals who must be committed at all times, with a great dose of God’s grace to make it work.

In any case, even if the Church does not consent to divorce under any circumstance, except infidelity, have you ever seen married couples dissolve their marriage in Church instead of the law court before? The Church may play a big spiritual role in instituting the marriage and helping it last with godly counseling but when it comes to dissolution of marriage, it is a matter solely for the courts (the body that certified the marriage). Well, if you think that marriage certificates belong to the Churches that issue them, then think again.

Yes, God hates divorce and would be unhappy with couples divorcing not on the ground of infidelity (perhaps they may miss heaven, which I don’t even think is the case as context matters as much as rules), but it is more a matter of faith than legality.

Truly, may God grant grace where it is needed and may all parties to a lasting marriage play their part because the wellbeing of society depends on happy marriages and happy homes. And if we all raise our voices against domestic violence and physical abuse as much as we advocate against divorce, we would all achieve the same thing and we would not have to constantly fall on the “God hates divorce” rhetoric to cower people to stay and die in abusive unions.

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©Mark Gadogbe, 2021

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Why label Christians judgmental just because they do not support your cause?

Every one in life is entitled to their choices. God gave each of us that right. Society through human rights has also given us same right.

Nonetheless, you will find that in any human setting, even in the animal kingdom, we all can never agree on one thing, or follow the same path. This is simply because we are all different. Yes, we are all different and so will always disagree; there will always be differences in society, including people who will always form majority and others in minority. Even science keeps talking about mutations, and I don’t know if that can simply be explained as “variations from the norm”. The norms do change too, even if rarely, bringing up new differences or variants to deal with.

Similarly, I believe as human beings, we all have our different experiences of life and hence, our different opinions. Whether we feel something is right or wrong, we are entitled to share our opinion about whatever affects our life and the ultimate wellbeing of society. The same society we live in, I believe, wants us to share our opinion freely without being labelled hateful just because another set of people do not see our reason, or agree with our stance. However, it is always important to realize that where one person’s right ends, another person’s begin.

I believe we can all appreciate the fact that even where there is love (like in marriage), there still exists disagreements brought on by our natural differences. However, the fact that you disagree with your partner (or share different opinions, likes and dislikes) does not necessarily mean you are hateful! Does it? Even married people have different sexual preferences. Some like doggy sex, others don’t; some like oral sex, others you can never get to agree to oral sex. There are people in marriage whose only sexual preference is missionary style, any other style is unnatural to them and can never change their preference for a million dollars. The sexual preference differences is endless in marriages, but does it simply culminate in hate? You will be amazed at people’s views and stance about the simple subject of sex, even in Christian marriages.

We all exercise the right to be different or be heard, irrespective of our backgrounds, cultures, religious stances, sexual orientations, etc. However, when you find yourself in the minority and want something to be accepted in any setting, you stand on a point/foundation (whether religious, social, biological, humanitarian, etc) to push your argument through. You don’t do that yet deny someone else the right to present opposing argument. We see that always in parliaments and various settings. Even at our workplaces, when you feel you are being overlooked by your bosses or want to push a different idea or practice from the norm, you won’t just be embraced without having to push through your argument.

So, must the expression of disapproval for any act or action always be labeled as HATE? Where do we really draw the line, to not always attempt to equate disapproval to hate?

I identify as Christian yet do not HATE anybody who identifies otherwise or engages in anything unchristian; neither do I take away their right to freely speak of that which they believe in or hold as true. Even among us Christians, we disagree on a number of things but that doesn’t mean we HATE or are JUDGEMENTAL of others.

I will really appreciate it so much if people stop labeling Christians whose opinion differ from a certain group as JUDGEMENTAL and HATEFUL people anytime they share an opinion that someone else disagrees with. You know why? That’s because, funny enough, whilst trying to condemn Christians, you are in essence being judgemental towards them…sometimes without even realizing it; the same thing you’re trying to avoid. See the circle? Right!

This applies to every topical issue in life, including the ever sensitive LGBTQI+ discourse gaining momentum in all parts of the world.

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©Mark Gadogbe, 2021

Love Sometimes Gets Messy

Love is a good thing; people make it messy.
Be careful the kind of advice you give to people in love or blinded by love…for good or for bad. Some people are not wise enough to read between the lines when you offer advice.

Someone once told me “when two lovers fight in a toxic relationship and you advice one to leave the other, the next time they have make-up sex and re-establish their bond, the mess will be on you, because the one you advised will surely tell the other you proposed that they break up”.

Yes, it happens all the time. That’s how unwise love makes some people.
So, it is always best to avoid rubbing your mouth into people’s love affairs, and be especially wise even when they invite you themselves into it!

We all get tangled in that web sometimes and you just don’t know what to say or not to say.
It’s not our fault though; love sometimes just gets so unavoidably messy! 😊

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©Mark Gadogbe, 2021

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Remove the labels!

You may have had some negative things spoken about you lately or throughout your life, but you must know this:

YOU ARE NOT WHAT PEOPLE LABEL YOU…YOU ARE WHAT GOD LABELS YOU!! HE ALONE MUST HAVE THE FINAL SAY!!!

So quit believing those things…and put on your new found label in Christ. And begin telling yourself all the good stuff: I am beautiful, caring, intelligent, the best… (the list is endless!).

Say it TODAY! Do not remain what people think and say that you are. There’s never a great time to break free from all that negativity than everyday. Everyday is the right time! So, make a conscious effort everyday to cast off all those cloaks of negative labels!

See you at the top!

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©Mark Gadogbe, 2021

Stop lying to yourself

This new year, I hope that part of our resolutions would be to stop living a lie in our marriages and relationships just to keep or save face. If your marriage/relationship is not good or healthy, it’s just not good. Face that ‘shit’ and deal with it!

Stop all that “playing religious” just to hide the garbage in your marriage. It’s not good for your health. If you die in it, we’ll bury you anyways. There is so much to live for, and a whole lot not worth dying for. A lot of marriages only look good on the outside because we keep playing the game of religious pretense, deceiving our own selves.

I hope you do not realize too late to save yourself from a bad and toxic marriage or relationship this new year, before it kills you.

Cheers to a happy and healthy 2021! 💪🏽

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©Mark Gadogbe, 2021

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Christmas

Christmas is here again and for some, it’s just one of those festivals… that great time for wild partying, boozing and doing all the worldly fun stuff.

Fun is healthy and good for the soul, and it’s worth remembering, connecting and celebrating with family and friends. And Christmas offers a perfect time to.
But, Jesus Christ would want us not to just get caught up in all the merry making and wild partying.
He would want us to also take a moment and remember the man of the season, our Jesus, our Saviour.
Reflect we must, about His love, and the fact that He wasn’t only born, but He died too; then think about His place in our life and what value He holds in our life. But, why do all these?

“People don’t remember, let alone celebrate something of no value”.

To celebrate Christmas should surely mean that Christ must have some very important value as someone who ever lived (and still lives) and has impacted lives positively. He must have left remarkable footprints in our hearts to merit remembrance and celebration.
He must therefore take glory in our joyful celebrations, and we must lift Him high like a banner that flies across every land, so all men will see and know that He alone is Christ our Saviour, the risen Lord, the soon coming King, and the only true way and promise to heaven!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!
May our celebrations glorify God as we spread love and happiness this season.

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©Mark Gadogbe, 2020

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Public Opinions

Sometimes in life, when you seek too many opinions from people, you never get to make any bold decision! And most times too, when you need others’ opinion, you never get it until after a decision is made and then their “expert opinions” on your decision (actions) come flying in torrents. “Oh, you should have done it like this or that, or you should have gone this other way”, etc., will always be the feedback from your critics, who funny enough, just sit and wait to offer their criticism only after an action is taken.

The spirit of unhealthy criticism seems to have gotten into many of us, and all we know and do lately, is turn ourselves into “social commentators” who just sit and talk (commenting) all day on other people’s life choices, especially all over the media platforms. Whenever news gets into our ears or our social media feeds, of people around us who are striving in life and daily putting themselves out there to make ends meet – often on the back of many critical personal decisions – we quickly zoom into our default criticism mode and make unwholesome comments about them. If only we are putting in the works ourselves, that could be cool, but no, we always forget we have so many decisions to make about our own lives that we ourselves are not even courageous enough to make. Sadly, instead of lifting people up with inspiring opinions, we instead specialize only in pointing out other’s faults, denigrating them or hating on them. This is becoming the growing trend with this new generation of ours, especially on social media platforms.

This unwholesome trend is making social media no longer fun for a lot of people. It is no longer a place for the faint hearted, but those who can grow the toughest skin to all manner of criticism, abuse or cyber bully. It is now a place where even a post with the most innocent of intentions can place you in deep waters of cyber bully which can cripple your very existence.

Funny enough, most of the people we always find expedient to criticize for making what to us are ‘wrong choices’, as if that is our paid job, are the ones not just sitting down like us, trying to act all clean and angelic. Rather, they are at least doing something with their life, they are the ones putting their hands to the plow and trying out what works or will not work for them, learning valuable lessons and making future improvements. One day, they are the ones that will grow to become resilient influencers and world game changers. On the contrary, it is we, the critics, who now call ourselves “social media commentators”, who will remain at the same place with apparently nothing better to do with our lives, other than offering vitriolic criticism.

Perhaps, the most talked about people are always people who are doing something and trying to get somewhere. Critics will always remain to talk down achievers, but may themselves not be achievers. Very few achievers seem to waste time talking down others.

Well, criticism in itself is not a bad thing, but it must be constructive. Otherwise, it is only damaging and never builds a person up. People struggle to turn out good when they constantly hear negative words thrown at them. Try that on your child or spouse and see how they turn out. Words carry power and our words must always be measured, even if we want to criticize. Negative environments are just so caustic, and we must do all that we can to avoid them – at least, for our own mental health.

©Mark Gadogbe, 2020

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