By: Philip Amiola?

I have taken a break from mass media for a while to take care of some personal projects. However, I have been so harangued by the sex scandal involving Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo and Ese Walter that I think I should offer a word or two on it. Reading Ese Walter?s account on her personal blog, I couldn?t help but admire the courage with which she is learning to live her authentic life. However, it is quite unfortunate that many people have had their minds so beclouded with anger, jealousy or some other strong emotions that they have completely missed the point.

The volume of malicious words and degree of distortion on social media suggests that a good number of people are simply motivated by the desire to derive pleasure from other people?s misfortunes especially when such people are leaders, public figures or high achievers. We hear stories of someone missing the mark and we?re all too eager to nail the culprit and condemn the ?sinner?, forgetting that in God?s courtroom, we?re either witnesses or advocates, not judges. Besides, history has proven time and time again that the most vehement critics are often guilty of greater transgressions either secretly or somewhere down the line. When we criticise and condemn people, it says more about us than it says about them.

Thankfully, the Bible does not hide the stories of great people like King David who committed adultery and aggravated it with murder in a bid to cover up. Yet, God forgave him as soon as he dealt with the issue. Even though he suffered great losses after the incident, he still occupies pride of place both in the Bible and in secular history. We have similar examples in contemporary times. To deny our tendency to transgress is to deny our humanity. When people fail or appear to fail, we should learn to accept their predicament with charity and equanimity, especially when such people are leaders and public figures. These people face challenges that are unknown to most of us. Our responsibility is to pray for them while supporting them on the path to recovery. It is not our prerogative to judge or condemn anyone. This does not mean that leaders are unquestionable. However, it is important that we free them to sort themselves out with the Ultimate Judge and the people that have been hurt by their actions.

I understand the anger, disappointment and frustration evoked by stories like this. However, I believe that we would do well to stop every form of vindictive remark and despiteful gossip against either party. Rather, let us address the situation in the spirit of the confessor whose self-professed goal is to bring healing to herself and deliverance to other people caught in a similar web. This is even more important in light of the fact that the plaintiff always seems convincing until the defendant comes to cross-examine him. It is too early to form a fair opinion on this issue as we have only heard one side of the story. And even if the other side confirms our fears, it does not in any way signal the end of Pastor Fatoyinbo?s ministry; neither does it pollute the credibility of the Gospel or dilute the authenticity of Christ?s message.


Philip Amiola is a teacher, writer and campaigner of empowerment. He writes from Lagos, Nigeria, blogs at? tweets from @PhilipAmiola.


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