I received a forwarded message about a man that was visited by a beggar and then requested food from him. He gave him the leftover food in his kitchen. Leading the beggar in prayers over the food, he told him to repeat after him, ‘Our Father in Heaven…’ Strangely, the beggar, as he prayed, said, ‘Your Father in Heaven…’ Uncle pointed out his error and told him to say, ‘Our Father in Heaven…’ The beggar still said, ‘Your Father in Heaven…’
Uncle could no longer hide his anger as he asked the beggar, why he was saying, ‘Your Father in Heaven…’ The beggar replied, “If I say, ‘our Father’, it meant that you and I are brothers, and if we are, you would have allowed me into your house through the front door, instead of the backdoor. You would have offered me a seat at your dining table, instead of making me to sit on the floor. If we are brothers, you wouldn’t have given me stale food. It is not possible that you and I are the sons of the same Father. He can be your Father but not our Father certainly”.
It does not matter where we are, it may be at home, in the office, in the Church or at home, the way and manner we relate to people is more important than what we tell them. It is only, when we are our brother’s keeper, treating people dearly that we can claim that the God in Heaven is our Father truly. Let us be treating people as we treat ourselves.
One thing is very clear in this story, Uncle did well by meeting the needs of this man, but he spelt it boldly before him that he was a beggar. That was why he could admit him only through the back door and served him food on the floor. In the industry, some Ogas have strict limits in their relationship with the junior officers.
The proponents of this theory of keeping underlines at a distance, defend themselves by arguing that it prevents abuse that emanates from intimate relationship. In practice, it is counter-productive. I used to work with a boss that was close to me. He was living at Victoria Island, Lagos and would drive often to my house in Surulere, each time he returned from the Eastern States. When our first son was born, his wife nicknamed him Odumegwu Ojukwu and brought to us a pot of home soup. That was beyond any amount of money they would have given us. Their conduct encouraged me to work beyond measure in the office for him to succeed, and he did.
Discrimination was what made the beggar not to pray, ‘Our Father’ and he was saying rather, ‘Your Father’. Many people like to discriminate. I watched a video of a family of four, in which the parents were showing much affection to them. I do not know how their elder daughter knew that her younger sister was adopted. She refused to accept her younger sister as her sister. If her sister sat on any seat, she would claim that it was where she wanted to sit. The girl would leave the seat for her and would sit in another place. It was the same case, if the younger girl picked any food item. When the parents called the younger girl their daughter, the elder one would protest, reminding them before the girl that she was not but only adopted by them. She went on and on, making life very uncomfortable for her younger sister.
“Adoption or by birth, all the children are members of the family,” her dad told her one day. It was very strange that at her young age, she would not accept that. Her stubborn attitude continued until the parents had no choice but to draw the curtain to show her the reality behind the façade. The unexpected picture, as William
Shakespeare would tell us, and the one the elder daughter would have done everything to avoid, was that she was adopted also by the couple! It was a case, as Ndigbo would say, of Anini calling his fellow Anini, ‘Anini’! The parents brought out the documents of her adoption. It was too late for a lady that was unmindful in giving birth in a public place, where people were passing freely, to enter her house and start putting her legs together!
Hearing what she would not have heard, the young girl broke down in humiliation and sorrow and went to ‘her sister’ and apologized to her for all her insults. Of a truth, she had no reason to have refused to accept her, all the years, as her sister. That was the prize for selfishness. One wonders what she was struggling for. Was she not too young to start thinking about sharing the family property with her? Young children like her desire usually, that their parents should have more children. In her unusual stance, she preferred to be born alone. In the same manner, the elder brother of the Prodigal son in the Bible, in a similar way, was sad when his brother, he had thought that he was dead returned.
The parents erred by disclosing to girl that they adopted their other daughter. An adopted child, by all means, is the legal child of the parents. Nothing should have made them to disclose to people that they adopted her unless to their very close family members and very intimate friends. To safeguard the child for ever knowing that she has been adopted, some parents will move away from the residence they were living during the adoption to a new environment.
In some of the Churches that invite me to minister on Child Adoption, the usual question has been what the parents would do, should an adopted child ask them whether is it true that they are not his parents. My response has always been, “A certain woman gave birth to you but she didn’t like, hence she dumped on a pit, where I found you. My wife and I said that we wouldn’t like you to die. That’s why we brought you to our house and have been taking good care of you. We sent you to nursery and primary schools. We sent you to the secondary school and also to the university. We have two houses as you know, they are all yours. In fact, all the things we have, including our money in the banks, are yours. Please, tell me, who then is your mum, the one that abandoned you so that you would die or Mummy, who takes care of you?” The youth, without any doubt, will be grateful to the couple.
God is very gracious as He forgives us our sins when we repent and plead with Him for mercy. Our common problem is intolerance. It is possible for a man, who lives in sin to drag someone to court for defrauding him when he also defrauds his company of even a larger sum of money. In the process, his sinful deeds may be made known.
Let year 2021 be a year we will relate very friendly with all and sundry, including our underlines. Let it be a year of tolerance with everybody as God does to us.
For further comment, Please contact: Osondu Anyalechi: 0817 223 7012; [email protected]