Some time ago, I have been in some series of little debts that culminated to some thousands of naira when added up together. It had given me a lot of concern because I wanted to clear it and sleep without getting worried about who would call me the next morning. One evening, one of my own debtors called me and demanded my bank number. When I did, he transferred some money and it was nearly the amount I needed to offset most of these bills.
I had paid some of the bills immediately and was about continuing when I got a beep from a Pastor who had followed my platform online for about two to three years. He said he just felt like informing me of something he has been a part of and he told me about certain investment opportunities that promised a hundred per cent profit. I wasn’t interested because I have always never wanted to get myself involved with certain schemes. But he said to me
“I am a Pastor, at least, you have known me on this platform for some time now. Even if you don’t trust anyone or even me, trust the office I occupy. Trust the integrity I have built over the years. I am only doing this to help you.”
I thought about it, I wasn’t interested but he had already appealed to my emotions and if I would do it, I was only doing it based on who he was. I asked for more details which he supplied me and I went online, registered myself and paid in seventy per cent of the money I had. Not long, I got a call from their office and they acknowledged my registration and the payment and promised I would get my returns soon because of the Pastor whom they respect. I was amazed! They also asked me to send the details of the payment to the Pastor as a confirmation and I did.
On the due time of getting my returns, they called me and said a lot of things which I wouldn’t have the time to write here but the summary was that they wanted me to upgrade my investment since the only option left in their program was opportunities for a bigger package. I voiced out my fears about fraud and what looked like a Ponzi scheme to me and they sent their proof of registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission of Nigeria, details of business registration and other things. The caller also started laying all manner of curses on himself promising me that if they are scammers those curses will be of effect on him.
I still wasn’t convinced and I returned a call to the Pastor but he kept swearing on his integrity and office of a Pastor about the legitimacy of that stuff. He also submits to the ministry of a Pastor that I respect so much. Something in me wasn’t right about this but I had already taken the risk and I felt maybe I had to continue. I thought about the debts it would help me offset, and even have more to myself. But there was a problem. The money left in my account was not enough to upgrade my investment and I said to the Pastor “you will help me complete the money I have. When I finally receive the fund, I will refund you.” He agreed.
After several minutes, he sent me a screenshot of an unsuccessful transaction and said he was having issues with his bank app. Something in me felt uneasy about this but I was stubborn to listen to my intuition. I wasn’t doing this because I desperately needed money even though if I got it, it would be helpful. I was only doing it because the Pastor appealed to my emotion and the major reason I was doing it was that he wanted me to do it and I trusted him. I had to call a sibling who sent me some money to complete the one I had and I sent to them.
To cut the long story short.
I waited and waited but I wasn’t paid. The Pastor blacklisted my number and blocked me on social media. The person who served as the customer care agent also warned me to stop calling his number. I almost ran mad! I thought about the debts I was supposed to settle, I thought about the additional debt I had incurred to myself, I thought about how I was left stranded in the middle of nowhere, I thought about how I had used even the money I was supposed to use for transport and purchase groceries for myself. To be frank, my entire month’s earning had gone and I would have to live another moment of fear and panic from one point to another trying to settle debts.
I knew what to do, I wasn’t hopeless, I knew I had the pictures of that Pastor and I knew I could easily write about the fraud and submit to bloggers. I knew I could tarnish his image entirely if I wanted it and he wasn’t hard stuff for me to trace if it was my desire. I also knew with proof that I could freeze the account they had used. I have helped people in this regard before and I was ready to go an extra mile and see that the Pastor’s image gets destroyed. I was ready to even sponsor an advert on Facebook that would announce him in a negative manner with proof on how I got defrauded by him.
One of the nights, I had already launched different Facebook accounts with different identities and I planned on using these different accounts to circulate allegations on him and ensure I destroy his public image completely and I was on my bed smiling at the drama that was going to ensue, I was enjoying the imaginations. Suddenly, I heard a voice say loudly in my heart
“George, you were greatly wronged but you must do nothing about this.”
I knew this was God but I always didn’t like it when God interfere in some of these matters because He usually makes me do things that portray me as a coward before men. I was once hit by a conductor in the eyes and I wanted to do something about it but God didn’t just ask me to stop, He asked me to forgive Him on that spot. I have always seen myself in several situations where people don’t just bully me but add the line “you will do nothing” when I know I can do something terrifying to them and then God would say to my heart “yes, do nothing.” So, when God started speaking to me on ignoring whatever had happened, I didn’t feel good about it. After some hours, I insisted I was going to go ahead to deal with that Pastor. I even tried convincing myself that it wasn’t God speaking to my heart. I felt it was a moral thing to do, to tarnish his image and also prevent him from defrauding others. In my heart, I knew I wasn’t doing it for others but to satisfy my anger.
Well, I insisted I was going ahead with my plans and I slept on the thought of that. The next morning, I was already in the office working on the press kit that I’d release to bloggers and of course I had also prepared the strategy with which I would launch my attack. I am creative, no doubt about that and when I narrated my plans to a colleague, she was shocked to the bones that she said “I am afraid of you! If you had decided to go into cyber-criminality, your creativity is enough to pull money. This guy is gone for good.” I couldn’t wait for this to enter into full force, I couldn’t wait to see this fraudulent Pastor get on his knees begging me to stop. The way I had planned it, I was going to attack his personality without even coming out to the scene! I would attack him while my own image remains protected.
That morning again, I heard it clearly as God said to my heart again “George, stop!” I was wondering why I should stop, I remember being stranded and how I was beaten by the rain to a point it later challenged my health that I even slept on the hospital bed. I was able to connect the issue to several challenges I had after then but God continued “George if you ever do anything about this, you are simply asking me to leave it all up to you. But if you want me to fight my fight, then let me handle it the way I want to.”
If it is the God I serve, I was afraid He wouldn’t handle it in a manner I had wanted. I knew He might eventually be merciful to him, I knew He might still go ahead and show him His love. I wanted to see God punish him! And another line of words got dropped in my heart saying
“George, I will handle this. You may not even get to see how I handle it but if you want to trust me, then trust me. Open up those circumstances and let me in, open up your hurts and let me in! Open up your challenges and let me in. Open up that disagreement you have with people and let me in. This is how you open your heart and allow me to rule!”
I broke down, I held CRTL + A button on my keyboard and I pressed the DEL button. Everything got wiped off! I gave up on myself and I gave in to God. And then I heard another word clearly in my heart saying
“It is true that certain offence seems more painful than others. But, you have also offended people in one way or another. This is why I said in my word “forgive others as you have been forgiven.” Even if people don’t forgive you, I forgave you even before you realized it. You got defrauded by a fellow because you trusted him, take the lessons but leave vengeance to me. Let me deal with it. Don’t bother yourself how I do it because my judgment is perfect! Are you letting me in?”
“Yes Lord,” I said “I am letting you in. I chose to forgive, I chose to let go!”
And I’d let go, I didn’t just let go of my plans, I also forgave him in my heart and my heart has remained at peace. Maybe, God used it to also save me from further mistakes! He didn’t initiate it, but He used it after all. I learnt I shouldn’t trust any man regardless of the title they parade! Who knows? It would have been millions or billions of naira in the future but because of yesterday, I can’t make the same mistake tomorrow. Maybe the money I lost was my tuition fee.
Now, I ask you the same thing I was asked “Can you open up your heart? Are you letting Him in into those circumstances?”
~ George O.N