Between tithing and marital issues, especially marriage, it is hard to say which is more volatile for the Church of today. The challenge that some “heretics” mounted against the payment of tithes appears to have abated but now emerges another contentious issue of mandatory genital test for intending couples. As it was with tithing, so it is again with the genital test issue – opinions are divided, with some for; some against. Those against think it is an unwarranted invasion of privacy, with the Church veering into what it is not called to do. Those for argue that they seek to solve problems that have reared their ugly heads over time so as to help maintain peace, harmony, and happiness in marriages. Many churches test for pregnancy before joining intending couples. This is a shadow of what Church leaders would have loved – chastity. Bed undefiled strictly speaking means that intending couples (the man as well as the woman) should remain virgins until marriage. Testing for virginity in women is possible but how do we achieve this with men? While there are still many who make it to the hallowed sanctuary of bed undefiled in the true meaning of the word and not the perverted, bend-to-the-times definition of “virginity” meaning that intending suitors have not experienced sex with each other before marriage, I doubt how many church leaders themselves made the grade. I confess with regrets that I, for one, did not. For many, therefore, it is do as I say but not as I do.
Being addressed is the recurring problem of deceit, which is becoming an albatross around the neck of many in today’s marriages, and the specific case of deceit is that of men who, though impotent, hide this fact from their women before marriage. After marriage, the woman discovers to her chagrin that her man cannot perform. Companionship is, perhaps, the bible’s most important reason for marriage. Pro-creation is another very critical reason for marriage between man and woman; otherwise, we will lose one of our most convincing arguments against same-sex marriage. An impotent man cannot perform this function, thus God’s command that we replenish the earth will, in the hands of such a man, be rendered impotent. Then the apostle Paul said men ought to marry, if they have not received the grace to make themselves impotent for the sake of the gospel, so that they do not burn. And I should think burning is not limited to men alone. Unresolved burning leads to sin: it can crowd our mind and heart with lurid and lewd thoughts; it also leads some to masturbation. Here, again, an impotent man is unable to satisfy the sexual desires of his wife. Whereas she got married for the three reasons given above, she will still burn or cut corners by engaging in adultery to escape burning and to procreate. After idolatry, fornication and adultery are, perhaps, the vilest sins in the sight of God.
Importantly, a man who fails to disclose his impotency status to his would-be wife hides very vital information which, if the woman had got hold of, would most likely have influenced her decision in another direction. Most women will not go ahead with the marriage if they knew, a priori, as philosophers say, that the man in question cannot perform. A small percentage may – and faith it. The men in question know this, so they hide the information and lie about their sexual status. While some will argue about the efficacy of deceit to justify what some men do in this regard, the Bible says categorically that liars are the children of Satan and that no liar will make heaven. Judah and his daughter-in-law Tamar; Jacob and Esau; King Ahab and the lying angel in the mouth of his prophets; Rahab the harlot and Joshua’s spies versus the people of Jericho; and Joshua versus the inhabitants of Gibeon are some of the examples that men like Shylock, in William Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice”, who was aptly described as an evil soul producing a holy witness, cite to justify deceit and lies. They should not forget, however, that the Gibeonites, because of their deceit, were condemned to being hewers of wood and fetchers of water. In a marriage procured through deceit, it is up to the victim, in my view! Under the law, deceit is a criminal offence known by its other name of Obtaining By Trick (OBT). Many Christians – and the Church – get themselves into this bind and make themselves lame duck for mischievous and devilish men because of their understanding or the way they have chosen to interpret the word of God. And it is not only men lying about their impotency that take undue advantage of this. Other criminals now do. Some are marrying so they could murder their spouse and harvest his or her vital organs for sale. Marriage has also become a potent weapon of evangelization in the hands of Islamists who see this as a means not only to disorientate Christian girls but to also depopulate God’s kingdom. Many women – and men increasingly – get into marriage before realising they have been married to function as slaves or ATM machines. Domestic violence arising from the above causes has led to avoidable loss of lives. As they say, the Holy Spirit does not use dead bodies! The choice, again, is yours because, whatever anyone may say and no matter how much they may love or care for you, they cannot give you their own life if you lose yours to domestic violence or waste it in futile labour over an unfruitful venture.
I support the RCCG new policy of mandatory genital test and I recommend it to all other missions. It will help reduce the problems of deceit and lies that are ruining many homes and marriages today – but potency or impotency test should not be the only one to be conducted since it is not the only rampant problem that is a silent killer of joy and fulfilment in marriages nowadays. Test for blood group and discourage AS/SS from marrying each other. We must also test for low sperm count. Most men pretend that women are the cause of infertility in marriages but low sperm count in men has been exposed as a major reason why many couples are still waiting on the Lord, as we say. Most men are unwilling to admit this, not to talk of submitting to the required test and treatment. If we discover this problem at source, it becomes easier to address. In this age of recurring spousal homicide, why not also conduct psychiatric test on intending couples as some have suggested? Such test is being conducted on errant drivers and it has also been suggested for those aspiring into political office. In case you think only men need tests, you are wrong; women, too, need blocked tube and fibroid tests. Many men are suffering silently as a result of these problems. They cause delayed conception and keep many marriages barren. They impose heavy financial burden that drives many men crazy. How about women who knew their womb had been impaired or completely removed; yet, they went into marriage without confiding in their spouse? A problem you know, they say, is half-solved, not one that is hidden from you. We can only faith it, as we say, when we know it. To live a life of lies and deceit is a disincentive unto man and God. Can two walk together unless they be agreed? If two of you agree concerning anything…Full disclosure is inescapable.
The question, then, is this: Should blatant liars and wilful deceivers go scot-free? Should someone retain what he/she deceitfully obtained? Should a selfish fellow who deliberately decides to ruin your life, still tie you down and make you unhappy after he has been smoked out of his hideous hide-out? Again, the choice is yours. I believe in the sanctity of marriage. This is the perfect will of God. Broken marriages, even without the bible saying so, are fraught with dangers and dire consequences. I am a product not just of a broken marriage but also of a polygamous setting. I shudder to recall what it meant to my growing up…but for the grace of God. While yet an atheist, my secret wish – I cannot call it prayer – was that I would never be a polygamist. To God be the glory, up till this moment, He has sustained me in this; so also my other siblings who are born-again. Bend over backward to keep your marriage – make it work and keep it happy. This is God’s perfect will. His heart aches against divorce, saying it covers the divorcee’s garment with violence. Bible, however, records three instances where the permissive (divorce) can happen: When there are irreconcilable differences tending towards homicide, Moses said, give her (him?) a divorce paper. Where there is a proven case of infidelity or adultery, Jesus said you may put her (him?) away. The apostle Paul says where deceit was involved or creeps in suddenly; there was no marriage in the first place. Little or no effort at all is made by some people to make their marriage work because of the belief that Bible already chains the man or woman – No divorce; whatever happens, he or she is going nowhere. The choice, again, is yours.
Couples, especially women, need enlightenment about their rhesus status; ignorance concerning this has led to the one-child syndrome in many marriages, with its attendant stress and pressure. Many men have had to look elsewhere to have more children. Picking and choosing the sex of our children, if this is possible by whatever means, should also be taken seriously. We play the ostrich – and this to our chagrin – if we pretend not to know that the search for a preferred sex (a boy most often but a girl in some instances) have caused ruptures in families. After our first two babies were girls, my wife practically force-fed me with onions because some people had told her it would help us produce a baby boy. Unknown to me she had been under pressure from family members who threatened that two girls in succession meant her name in the family records had only been written with pencil and could be easily erased if she failed to produce a baby boy. As God would have it, two boys then came in quick succession. I do not think it was her onions that worked, anyway.
As I conclude, permit me to ask what the Church is doing about the army of young women in our midst whose husbands have “ported”? Many are still waiting years and decades after the “husband” has settled into another marriage. We have seen miracles of returnee prodigal-son husbands (and wives?) but by its very definition, miracles are the exception rather than the rule. Expecting miracles where we can apply practical solutions could tantamount to tempting God. Divorce and re-marriage are problematic but so also is burning and loneliness. For how long are we going to only pontificate and afterwards send those less fortunate ones off to a cold and comfortless bed? At night, they clutch their pillows and count the ceiling. They burn and when they can no longer bear it and backslide, we raise the hell. We return to our own warm and cosy beds and clutch our spouses. If two lie together, one will keep the other warm…In many churches, single parents or women-divorcees are treated as prime suspect by married women who forbid them to move near their husbands. These are unresolved issues in Christendom. South African reggae artiste, the late Lucky Dube, said: Read your Bible and understand what it says. I dare to say that, that, again, is your choice!
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