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

Cover image credit: https://instagram.com/museumofblackart?igshid=9r194jprooxh

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

Featured Image Source: https://instagram.com/carlosdanielart?igshid=1kgw0qogzpaj7

Dear Women, It’s International Men’s Day! Hello?

International Men’s Day is celebrated on 19th November every year to celebrate men and address some important male issues. Unfortunately, it appears the day doesn’t receive as much buzz as its opposite, International Women’s Day, which is celebrated on March 8 every year.

I know it’s somehow sad that an important day as International Men’s Day passes every year without some women in our lives even realizing it. The least they could do is to use the day to recognize our existence as men and the positive roles we play (no matter how little) in their life and society as a whole, but somehow, it often appears there’s a grand scheme amongst some women to pretend not to know what day today is and what every little bit of appreciation means to men.

Maybe it’s not a grand scheme after all. Perhaps it’s just a sad reality that only a few men out there are influencing women’s lives positively enough to warrant a great celebration or recognition by the large army or population of women.

Perhaps, the reality might also just be that it is time for us men to embrace the sad fact that the world is progressively becoming feminine, and our essence in this new world might continue to be downplayed. We might as well awaken to the fact that it’s not just gender equality or balance that is being sought but female domination.

Perhaps, all men are needed for by some women in this “new feminist world” is to be sperm donors. If we are not lucky, that’s the only recognition we may continue to get. We may only find our worth when our “new age women” get tired of their dildos, so let’s fast and pray they do real quick…for our own good. 😂😜

In any case, may the good Lord continue to bless and lift up all women who continue to recognize, appreciate and celebrate the men in their life. Thank you for being our support system and life blood! 🙏🏾

Happy International Men’s Day to all men! May we continue to play our divine roles and fulfill God’s purpose in our lives. The world can still not do without us, under God’s divine order. 👏🏽💪🏽🙏🏾

©Mark Gadogbe, 2020

A Philanthropist in Need?

Sometimes, the people who make the big sacrifices, who readily go out of their way to help others, don’t get help easily when they need it.

Maybe people just don’t believe their helpers can also ever be in need. How can a Philanthropist ever be in need?

But thank goodness there’s a God who supplies man’s every need.

Man out of his limited resources will draw, but God’s resources are limitless; what better helper than Him? He alone remains our help in ages past; our hope for years to come!

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©Mark Gadogbe, 2020

Witnessed a mix of good and bad fatherhood

Our fathers are great (not all though), but we do not want to be like them when we become fathers…we want to be better. Yes, better than they are or were! Come on fathers, a charge to keep we have…!

A charge to keep…🤔

My view of fatherhood has been a balanced one because of my personal experiences. Even though I focus most on the good, I appreciate the ‘bad’ as well.

Ultimately, dad has been a great dad, but he had his good times and bad times with parenting. I had a fairly balanced experience of fatherhood growing up. I grew up to witness at first hand, both the good and the bad. Dad had largely been a great dad; but at a point, he admittedly became a bad dad and neglected his responsibilities towards us. I wouldn’t say he is fully to blame for my parents’ divorce and our bitter experiences of growing up in a broken home, but he obviously contributed. Mum single handedly shouldered a lot of responsibilities until her untimely demise. But I’ve been blessed to also see Dad acknowledge his shortcomings openly to us following mum’s death and trying his best to make amends. I have seen a beautiful lesson of a Dad pick himself up and try to be better.

Even though it had to take the shock of mum’s death to perhaps bring our Dad back to his senses, I guess he really did his best to reunite with his children. Ten years on, after mum’s demise, he’s still trying his best to be there for us in every capacity as a Dad, obviously having learned his lessons. On our part as his children, I wouldn’t say there’s still any bitterness towards him for the way things went (trust me, words can’t describe how really broken our relationship with Dad was), except that we do sometimes wish mum hadn’t gone that early.

But we also do know that there are no guarantees in this life and that our story or experiences is obviously still better than many people who had to go through worse. Whether we like it or not, the obvious truth is that, there are families much more devastated by divorce and failings of parents. It is therefore important to have that balanced thought and always be reminded that, no matter what we are going through or facing today, our story is still better than millions out there.

So, on every Father’s Day going forward, we just feel blessed that things turned around for us and our Dad, when we never even imagined it would. And then, we also remind ourselves of our resolve to do better and be better.

Indeed, a charge to keep we have and a God to glorify! Happy Father’s Day to all you amazing fathers out there! Keep giving fatherhood your best shot, God being our help! 🙏🏾

Been grateful for this one thing…all my life 😊😁

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©Mark Gadogbe, 2020

The good girl bad girl balance

I guess the sexy churchy girl balance is very important when it comes to marriages and/or relationships. Most men, I guess, want a good balance between holy and sexy; they want their woman’s ‘bad girl’ game to be just as good as her holiness game. Obviously, a woman’s sex appeal must be top notch to continually attract her man. Men want the good girl and the bad chick, all in one package.

Somehow, a woman must be a bit of a ‘bad girl’ and a ‘church girl’ to be perfectly right for a man. Women who switch both roles perfectly well are great at keeping their men and their home. Women who downplay physical attraction often lose out because the rare truth is that, it is mostly hard for a man to feel a sexual or romantic connection with a woman he is not physically attracted to. That is why a woman must invest in always looking attractive and appealing to her man; she must invest in everything that makes a woman look and be sexy.

A man would crave a bit of the ‘bad girl’ when all a woman offers is too much of the ‘good girl’ character. When it’s all too religious, it gets boring. Obviously, that must be the real reasons why I lot of christian sex books had to be written to at least teach church girls how to be sexy, act horny, play a little ‘dirty’, spice things up and have great sex? Godliness is of course a great gain, but a woman must not only learn how to be a prayer warrior.

Similarly, the ‘good girl’ will be most desired when all a man gets is the ‘bad girl’ stuff. Too much of everything is obviously bad, right? That good balance of a good girl bad girl trait is absolutely a winner with men.

The reverse is also true, just so we don’t put it all on the women. Women also want a good balance of the playboy and church boy traits in their men.

Obviously it’s all about times and seasons, knowing when to be churchy and when not to be, right? 😊

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…And do share your opinions with us!

©Mark Gadogbe, 2020

Your righteousness can be sinful…

Your righteousness can be sinful and your salvation questionable…if it blinds you to the gospel of grace, when it makes you feel exalted above all, when it gives you no patience for the sinner, when it makes you feel it is for you that Christ came and not the worst of sinners, when it makes you forget that it is God himself who works in us both to will and to do His good pleasure and that of our own we can do no good thing.

The posture of some Christians on social media is sometimes worrisome as a lot of people’s activities or contents are loaded with unnecessary arguments, labelling and putting people down. I do feel mostly that nobody gets saved by what seems like insults, judgments and castigations on social media, especially when people express opposing views to our Christian posts or messages. In many cases, it perhaps makes us no different from the people throwing stones at the biblical woman caught in adultery.

It is not here (social media) that we are coming to differentiate between what is morally wrong and morally right…it is mostly common knowledge. Nonetheless, if that has to be done, it must be done with a lot of tactfulness. To the best of my knowledge, people don’t become good when all you do is constantly hammer their wrongs in their face; they become worse. If you like, try that approach on your child and see how they turn out.

It doesn’t mean a Christian should never point out people’s wrongs, but there’s always a good way to do that; the approach matters sometimes more than the message. It is always important to remember that it is by grace that some of us even turned out good. We must always acknowledge the grace of God in our lives because sitting on social media, loading our timelines with Bible verses and acting all clean and righteous is not what is at stake. Fact is, when someone’s sin or actions bothers you more than your own and instead of working on you, you will rather judge and castigate them, you have a problem! It’s like today’s Christians are more interested in pointing out sinners than even praying for them so God does His own work in them. We just like to let people see they are the bad nuts and we are the good ones, I guess.

I may be right or wrong but I never maintain that I speak truth; I speak my mind on issues. It’s the recipients of what I say, write, publish, etc. that are the judge of whether it is truth (makes sense) for them or not. That’s why I don’t go about forcing my opinion on others for them to accept it as the truth, and if they don’t, they become the enemy. No, God alone is true and I’m not a Pastor so I don’t lay claim to “speaking the mind of God” and forcing His will on people. I’m focusing on living my Christian life the way I know best.

Social media is a great place to evangelize and spread the message of the gospel but we must never lose sight of our approach and conduct in achieving that aim so we don’t look self-righteous. We surely can build each other up, but we can’t force our truth on people and make enemies out of the very people we are sending the gospel to. And we can’t be hypocritical either, keeping our timelines flooded with scriptures just to look good outside while our real lives are questionable.

©Mark Gadogbe, 2020

Accommodate people’s personal choices 

Tell me why you feel my life choices offend you or are wrong to you?“. This is the question I mostly ask “nosy, know it all people” who enjoy prying into my personal life. And on a countless number of times, I realize they don’t always have any good reason for their disapprovals; it’s just something they themselves are uncomfortable with, their own fears, their self-created rules (dos and don’ts) for life.

In the end, those who are wise enough realize one simple truth: their fears do not have to be my fears; their life choices do not have to be my life choices. Their mission in life is completely different from mine!

The kind of man we will become in the future is entirely based on our life choices. So, sometimes you have to allow us to make our own mistakes and learn from them. We just need to know that we are answerable to our own choices. You need to allow us room to be men; to own up our choices and accept responsibility for the outcome…whether good or bad.

So, as difficult as it is, can we try this new year not to be quick to judge people? When you fear for someone’s personal choices, just pray for them that their choices, no matter how uncomfortable you are with them, turns out good for them.

It’s true we have to learn from other people’s mistakes and take caution every now and then. But it’s also true that what killed my mother is not necessarily what will kill your mother.

Simply, let’s make room to accommodate other people’s life choices. There’s a reason why God made us all different in the same human skin.

©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2020

Pressures of young married couples

Young married couples need money to run their life. Once you marry in our part of the world, your responsibilities skyrocket because it’s never about just you and your partner. There’s so much to do and there’s so much external pressures…especially from our families. You don’t have to complain in our part of the world…you just have to cope; it’s called being “responsible“.

We’ve seen many young couples unable to survive because many fail to sit down and plan their monthly expenditure early in their marriage. When you do, you’ll actually realize you have very little to save for your future after trying so hard to satisfy “everybody”.

Everybody is trying to get money out of you in our part of the world and funny enough, they see it as their “right” to have a part in your small money. Family, friends, church, strangers, etc. Some take it as a loan and do not pay back, perhaps thinking your situation is better than theirs. Others think it is their “human right” to demand money from you just because they are your family. The Churches especially, if they have their own way, they will take all your monthly salary and tell you to go depend on God’s supply.

Many churches these days don’t care the source of your money or how their members make a living. It doesn’t matter to them how young folks make their money (genuinely or not), as long as they bring it to Church. The more you give in church, the more you’re liked and the closer you get to (or the better attention you get from) the “man of God”. The more affluent you seem, the more the Church tries to get closer to you or act as if they care about you. Minus the money, you’re on your own. Some Pastors live on Church funds (which of course keeps growing) so it doesn’t matter to them to even think about the kind of financial responsibilities their members carry outside the Church.

Out of over spirituality too, many struggling young couples themselves too don’t mind throwing money at Church even if they can’t feed their family. If their family member is in real need even, they will rather send the money to church than help the family member with it and not have anything (e.g. tithe) to give at Church.

Some churches have no clue at all what work their young members do. In fact, they know close to nothing about the people they call “members”. They care rather more about “members” bringing in money to give tithe, offertory, covenant offering and all the many others they have devised in our part of the world.

We are living in a time where many people are doing very dubious things just to make money and some feel encouraged or rather pushed by our churches and their constant demand for money and so will do just anything to “save face” in church or feel they also belong. Imagine how close you are to the “man of God” or the position you hold in Church and most times that he asks for members to sow “a seed befitting your status” you are unable to give. Some Pastors will even force you to give by calling out your name or putting you on the spot with all manner of tricks.

But the sad truth is that, most times when young married couples or “members” are even in need, family and friends offer help faster than the Churches we give all our lives to with 100% religious devotion. In fact, you even feel more comfortable going to family and friends for help than the Church. The Church mostly becomes the last resort when all avenues have been exhausted. How many churches even help their poor members? Most times, they even take longer to help. It is mostly when “members” need the Church to come through for them that the Church starts acting funny with their “are you a member in good standing” antics, but surprisingly, one’s membership never comes into question when the Church needs your money (tithes,offerings,fund raisings for projects, etc).

The financial pressures are just so much on young married couples…but many times too, we are our own enemies because we try to do too much to please everybody. We must learn to live within our means, always watch our finances and have good financial plans for our life. We must live with the mind that help is never coming from anywhere. It’s sad because I often see young married couples depend on alms just to get by, yet still give all they have without thought to church, family and friends…just to save face and thereafter wallow back into poverty. I don’t know what kind of mentality that is though. 🤔

©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2019

Image source: El Carna Studios