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Sermon : Let us be honest with ourselves and with others and stop living a lie

Published on November 28, 2010


Iwill never forget the wonderful message blazoned on a Poda Poda I rode the last time I was in Freetown. The message which I am always reminded about when circumstances cause it says  :  BE YOURSELF. It looks like a common and simple message but if examined closer, it is a wise saying with a deeper and more significant meaning than it appears on the surface. And it is the message that holds the key to peace in our communities.

Most of our problems in life come when we decide not to be what we are. If only human beings would be honest with themselves and accept their limitations and do not pretend to be what they are not most of lifeís problems would not exist.  

In the world we live, no human being can ever have it all. Even in the area of education, nobody has it all. You meet somebody with two PH.Ds and you think he is the be-all and end-all of Education until you meet somebody else who has 5 PH.Ds. You watch Arsenal and you think that they are the best ball-playing team in the game. Though I am a Manchester United fan, I do not conceal my admiration of Arsene Wengerís boys who are soccer purists and dazzlers and whose flowing, immaculate , ball-passing game thrill  me a lot , never mind they donít often translate it into victory. But when I used to watch the Barcelona of a few years back that had Samuel Eíto and Ronaldino at the peak of their glory, Arsenal at once became novices in my eyes. Of course, I will not mention the Brazil of yester years with soccer artists  like Garrincha, Tostao, Gershon, Djalma Santos, Carlos Alberto ,Jairzinho and the greatest player of all times, Pele. You simply run out of adjectives trying to describe their dazzling skills on the ball. And yet, they were never infallible. There were World Cup competitions where the likes of Italy, Argentina or Germany stole the laurels.

God, who made us,  knows that we have limitations.  Some of the limitations we can change but there are some  we cannot. There are other limitations we can change but it takes a long time. However, the joy of life is knowing  our limitations and living within it until we or God changes it for us. What is bad and troublesome in this world is when human beings refuse to accept their limitations and pretend to be what they are not.

We all want to be rich and live the  bourgeoise  life.  Nobody wants to be poor but the reality of life is that everybody cannot be rich at the same time. However, it is never a crime to be a man of modest means or to be poor. There are many people who are poor, but they live  happier, more dignified and  more respectable lives. There is more to life than material wealth , especially given the fact that not all who are materially wealthy feel fulfilled or are happy.

JESUS CHRIST warned : " Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a manís life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.." ( Luke 12: 15 ).

However, even with that , the  biggest problem comes when we try to pretend to be rich ; when we give people the false impression that we have millions in our bank accounts when we do not have even up to $50 in our accounts. And this is the problem with a whole lot of us. We pretend too much to be what we are not. And are you looking for a life that is full of torture and unease ? It is the life that is not honest with itself. When once we decide to live a lie, our whole life becomes dysfunctional  and we become liars and braggards because we have to keep lying or bragging all the time to keep others convinced about the false impressions we are giving them.

Because we want to be what we are not, we promise people fantastic things  that we cannot deliver. Because we  want to be what we are not, we claim credit for everything achieved by others. We, for instance, go around lying to those who want to be gullible that we found for others the jobs they have presently, though it is a blatant lie and an absolute impossibility  and we did not find the jobs for them  . Leaders we are not ; how can we claim to have given jobs that come from only one source ?  Because we want others to see us as being what we are not. Because we want to always be what we are not, we always want people  to be minimized in the eyes of others while elevating ourselves at their expense; Because we want to be what we are not, we claim to own businesses that belong to others , when we are just partners;  By trying to steal praise for something we did not do,we make ourselves   sound like the marabout man who lies that he made somebody rich when he cannot make himself  rich. Our ego is too big and we think that others will respect us more than they do if we attribute deeds to ourselves that we never accomplished. It is all because we do not want to accept our limitations and we want people to think we are what we are not. And the question you would want to ask is : why would  people of reasonable minds want to put themselves through such torture of making people think they are what they are not ? Why not live a plain, honest and simple life and let people admire you for what you are? The answer is our ego. We are too egoistic for our own and other peopleís good.

The master, JESUS CHRIST, though he was a perfect and blameless man, left us a lesson in humility in Mark 10:17-18 ESV  .The Bible says that :  "And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, ĎGood Teac.her, what must I do to inherit eternal life?í And Jesus said to him, Ď Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.í " Everybody knows that Jesus Christ personified goodness and in him no guile  or sin was found but he was so humble and selfless he eschewed the idea of somebody he did not know before  coming and larvishing praise on him.  It was not bad for the man to call Christ a good man because it was the truth .If somebody is doing a great job and we praise him it is nothing bad. It is the truth and people who are doing well need to be motivated. However, this man was a stranger . Should his praise be trusted ? 

I once shared an apartment at Bass Street, Brookfields ,  with a cousin of mine, a very famous Sierra Leonean then , who was the most creative individual I had met all my life, a dramatist and a playwright, who at the time had never darkened the doors of a university but I had not met or known anybody more skilful with the English word or who understood  how to produce Lierature so profoundly lke him . The Late John Kolossa Kargbo, who gave Sierra Leone immortal plays like LET ME DIE ALONE, POYOTOGN WAHALA, AMINATA, ME PAPER IN SPEAR etc .  never used to conceal the fact that he had not gone to college and that he was just a  simple high school leaver. He was very honest with himself and this more than doubled the admiration people had for him. Apart from being a dramatist, Kolossa was also Sports Editor of We Yone and the writer of the gossip columns LOOK GRON and ON THE SAFARI BEAT WITH JOE TEX.  John was simply the best and I would see somebody with a PH.D in Journalism or Theatre Arts struggling to match his native talents and agility . But such is life. We do not have it all. And interestingly, I noticed that John Kargbo himself profoundly admired Yulissa Amadu Maddy and the Sports Editor of the DAILY TIMES of Nigeria, Tunde Oshuntolu. I have humble friends who are PH.D holders but they donít want you to call them Dr. at all.

When we donít live a false life and we try to be who we really are, life becomes pleasurable, consumately easier and comfortable for us and the people around us .And people admire us for our simplicity and genuineness . We are also  spared the million tons of ego, conceit and self-importance we require to spice our false life which also affect those around us . We are spared the inconvenience and the indignity of having to keep lying to cover the fact that we are fake and living a lie.

Trying to live a lie will ultimately destroy us . When we can no longer manipulate the things and people around us to sustain our false life , we become grumpy and deadly .

I am appealing to those reading this sermon today to learn to be simple and real. When JESUS was on this earth, he had the opportunity to live a very opulent and ostentatious life .All the gold, diamonds and riches of this world belong to his Father in Heaven but Christ chosse to be simple .

The Bible admonishes us :
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider  himself  equal with God,
7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. PHILIPPIANS 2:5-8 NKJ

And because JESUS CHRIST  humbled himself , God elevated him and gave him a name which is above every other name, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2: 9 ). Let us learn to be humble and be true to ourselves and others about what we are. People will still admire us for what we are , as long as we are honest and good citizens. We donít have to be what we are not for people to respect and admire us.





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