Sin Does Not Pay
By Okang’a Ooko
Excerpt from the preface to my forthcoming books 101 SINS EVEN CHRISTIANS STRUGGLE WITH EVERYDAY. Published with permission of Oba kunta Octipus. All Rights Reserved
In 2012 I arrived back at the bosom of the Church after experiencing total decline when my life was in ruins because of common sins I was indulging in. My flesh was corrupted and my soul was wounded and my spirit was defiled and my sins had caused many people to suffer.
Well, I got more than what I bargained for from my sinful life. My sins did not go unpunished: in 2009, my creative agency collapsed and the wheels of my business ceased to rotate. I was upto my teeth in debt and I found myself gasping for breath, shipwrecked on a rocky beach in a hostile location. I lost everything in the dangerous waters… property, family, friends, money… everything. I defaulted on my mortgage, lost my house and shylocks and loan sharks descended on me mercilessly and stripped me bare and ripped me off. My wife was fed up with my womanising and threw the door open and screamed, “Out, you God-forsaken womaniser. Go to your women and let them bear your burden!” She hurled out my laptop and my clothes. I stuffed my things in a black rubbish polythene bag, got in my car and took off in the night hour not even knowing where I was going. Soon I defaulted on my loan repayments and the bank sent debt recovery guys after me. They were after my car, so I hid it with a friend who took off with it and threatened me. I spent the next one year and six months holed in my office, living and working there. I used to buy mitumba shirts in the streets of Nairobi, take them to the cleaners. Every morning I would pay lodging managers to shower and freshen. I used to eat in hotels. My office girl soon discovered that I was lodging in the office; she gathered my soiled clothes and socks and used to to take to her place to clean and press them. She started bringing me home-cooked meals and I stopped eating junk. Every morning she brought the boss sweet tea in a flask and mandazis. After the eighteen months ran over, she boldly advised me to put down my pride and accept my predicament, asked me to get into a cheap rented house. Soon I was living on the the tail end in an upside-down neighbourhood in Wanye Road in a 2-room shoe-box house with a bathroom and a pit latrine outside where dogs howled and screamed like Pumwani women in shackles of labour pain in the midnight hours and muggers prowled around banging on doors. The house had rats the size if kittens and roaches that ate even paper. I bough a green wicker kerosene stove and fried beans and boiled water to make strong tea. I hid there feverishly working out an escape plan to leave Kenya for good. My neighbours included watchmen and matatu touts and prostitutes and they called me mzai or buda.
But God had His own plans. You see, folks, if you’re God’s Work-in-Progress and if He has work for you, His plans will prevail. He will decide what is needed for you and He knows the best route to proceed with. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28, NKJV). If He decides to deliver you from anger and pride (as that was the biggest hindrance to my walk), this means that anger and pride are removed internally. These are demons, mind you. He works on you and humbles you completely. He took me right down to the ground and dismantled me completely. Ellen G. White likens this process of Godly purification to the potter taking the clay and molding it according to His will.
Trials and obstacles are God’s chosen methods of discipline and Hisappointed conditions of success. He who reads the hearts of men better than they themselves know them. He sees that some have [owers and susceptibilities which, rightly directed, might be used in the advancement of His work. In His providence e brings these persons into different positions and varied circumstances that they may discover their in character the defects and to fit themselves for His service. Often He permits the fire of affliction to assail them that they may be purified. (Help In Daily Living 9.2).
Fortunately for me, my strong Adventist background provided a reprieve. I remembered one teaching in Deuteronomy 4:31… that God never gives up on us. “…God is a merciful God, He will not leave you nor forsake you…” The Holy Spirit convinced me that Jesus Christ came to save not good men but bad men. I remembered Elen G. White’s teaching that the Church is God’s appointed agency for the salvation of men.1 (Acts Of The Apostles) God beckoned me saying “…Come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16). Jesus Christ, our loving Saviour encouraged troubled men in Matthew 11:28 to come to him for comfort in times of trouble. He ministered to me.
So in 2012, I was welcomed into Newlife Church like I was a long-lost brother and the love they gave to a sinner perplexed me. That is the importance of the church a community of believers coming together to show the love of Christ. I was soon shown how to avoid pitfalls that others have already fallen into because they pointed them out for me. As a sinner you’re like a terminally ill in a hospital or a prisoner on deathrow. It is up to you to find a good hospital with good physician, but most important is that the chief of staff is the Great Physician Jesus Christ.
Towards the end of 2012 things had improved and God delivered me on the strength of a simple confession and prayer. He delivered me and blessed me and I was doing international commodity export business and handling serious millions of shillings. He restored my family and spruced me up. But my character had not been transformed and in 2016 things took a dramatic nose-dive. The crash was resoundly disastrous and the pangs of affliction once gain set in with a defeaning crescendo.
Today I am still a work-in-progress. I tell people that I am God’s instrument Under-Construction.
Now I find it very necessary to fully understand this virus called Sin which had caused me to suffer so much and hurt so many people. When you are faced with a disease, the intellectual inclination is not to ignore it but try and understand it in order to deal with it. The cure for my sins is today the gift of a new heart that acts in accordance to the love and law of God. This new heart can only come from God. Ezekiel 36:26-27 says, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.”