TESTIMONIES THAT TORMENT

So, I remember once when I was in the university, I and two of my friends were gossiping (our favourite pastime then). So we moved from topic to topic until we got to one that concerned one of our mutual acquaintances, let’s call her Cally. And let’s call my friends Jasmine and Geraldine. The discussion went thus:

Geraldine: “I heard that Cally just went to visit that guy she met the other day and he gave her 100k.”

Jasmine: “Ehn? are you serious? So he just gave her 100k without doing anything? I heard that’s what she told people ooo”

Me: “If I hear! You just go person house and the person come give you 100k. Na your papa?…Anyway, if na true, make she introduce me”

Geraldine: “Abeg, na wetin she tell me. Na wetin I hear, na him I talk”

We all burst out laughing. See, I’m a believer and when I listen to people, I believe what they say because I reason that no normal person should lie to me since I have no business in their lives. Afterall, they have nothing to gain if they lie to me. Usually, my belief in people even borders on naiveté. However, there are some stories I hear that sounds so unbelievable that it’s impossible to believe every detail. I mean, I know people receive amazing gifts but telling me that you just met a guy and spent the night in his house and he gives you a hundred thousand naira and you guys did not “do anything”, that tori get as e be ooo.

So I call these stories “Testimonies that Torment” ie stories that are too good to be true that they begin to torment the hearer. Usually, these stories may not be outright lies rather they are stories laced with so much exaggeration and half-truths that the believing listener is overwhelmed by the plethora of “good news”. From the conversation above, I don’t know if Cally “did something” or “did not do anything” but I believe that some information she gave were either embellished or withheld. Some other examples of “testimonies” I’ve heard are:

“I don’t read at all. I don’t know how come I always get ‘A’ {I know you’re a  genius but…really, you don’t read at all?}

“Praise God. Yesterday I was selling moi-moi. Today, I’m a millionaire” {Can you really explain how you became a millionaire between Yesterday and today?}

“Nooo…I just rubbed chief’s stomach only and he gave me a car” {you dun’t mean it!…insert surprise face smiley}

See, like I said earlier, I believe in testimonies, divine favour and miracles. Heck, I don’t believe I would be where I am today without some sort of miracle or the other. But even miracles have a foundation. There is something in place already and a miracle multiplies it. Moses had to use a rod to part the red sea and even Jesus used five loaves and two fish which he multiplied to feed 5000. So my issue with these “testimonies” is that they seem to come out of the blue with no foundation whatsoever. In fact they sound like extraordinary lies.

Once, I was in a church and the pastor mentioned that when people give testimonies, we should not just take them at face value. He told a story of a member who gave a testimony that he prayed to God for a job and while he was just seating at home, he got a message inviting him for a job interview and bang! the job was his. The pastor, who was privy to most of the information asked the member to tell the full story step by step. The said member then explained how he had met someone at a meeting and had told the person that he was looking for a job. The person asked for his credentials then he had waited for six months for an opening before he got the text message inviting him for the job interview. The pastor explained that he had asked the member to say the full story because he did not want other job seekers to listen to the testimony and believe that God just throws job interviews from heaven. He wanted the other members to see that some background work had been done before the job came through.

I’m with Pastor on this one. So, before somebody starts telling me all his/her wonderful stories, let the person tell me the challenges he/she faced, the work they had to do to get to where they are. When you are popping champagne and pouring hennessey, tell me of the times you had to soak garri for one hour for it to swell before you could eat. Okay, it may not be that bad but I believe every true success story or miracle had a beginning. If your own is to “visit” people and collect one million naira, tell me everything. Let me know what you had to sacrifice, the price you had to pay to get to where you are so I will truly know if I’m ready to pay it instead of starting a journey which I cannot complete. On that note, that’s why I love our Nigerian artistes. Once they release one hit song, they immediately release a “we-don-struggle-now-we’re-chopping-money” song. Even the rich kids among them who have never experienced poverty in their lives will sing their own.Anyway…at least upcoming artistes would listen and console themselves.