When Your Enemies Are Just Bloody Tomatoes


A teacher asked her students to bring some tomatoes in a plastic bag to school. Each tomato was to be given the name of a person whom that child hates. So, the number of tomatoes would be equal to the number of persons they hate.

On a pre-determined day, the children brought their tomatoes well addressed. Some had two, some had three and some had five, some even had 20 tomatoes in accordance with the number of people they hated.

The teacher then told them they had to carry the tomatoes with them everywhere they go for two weeks. As the days passed the children started to complain about the decay and smell of the tomatoes. The students who had many tomatoes complained it was very heavy to carry and the smell was too much.

After a week, the teacher asked the students “How did you feel this week?”

The children complained of the awful smell and heavy weight of the tomatoes, especially those who carried several tomatoes.

The teacher said, “This is very similar to what you carry in your heart when you don’t like some people. Hatred makes the heart unhealthy and you carry that hatred everywhere. If you can’t bear the smell of spoilt tomatoes for a week, imagine the impact of bitterness on your heart as you carry it daily.”

The heart is a beautiful garden that needs regular cleaning of unwanted weeds. Forgive those who have angered you. This makes room for storing good things.

As this year ends, do a self check-up and see if there is bitterness, envy, unforgiveness in your fragile heart. Unforgivingness is like choosing to stay trapped in a cell for the crime committed by someone else.

As Lewis Smedes once said “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.

Forgiveness doesn’t change the past but it brightenes your future. If you are bitter against anybody it means the person has gotten the best of you and that means he/she has won. Don’t let them win. Let it go.

Remember, one of the secrets of a long and fruitful life is to forgive everybody everything everynight before you go to bed – Bernard Baruch.

Forgive others as quickly as you want God to forgive you.

Forgiveness is not a feeling – it’s a decision we make because we want to do what’s right before God – Joyce Meyer.

Remember to let go and let God.

A 9ice Way To Get Rid Of Payne


In 2006, Toni Payne and Abolore Ajifolajifaola (9ice) met through a mutual friend Michael Stephens (Rugged Man) and got married on Thursday July 17, 2008 but had a particularly messy breakup when they separated 6 years ago.

They got divorced after 18 months of marriage and details of their marriage (and divorce) was played out messily in the media. At first public sympathy was on Toni’s side with many accusing 9ice of dumping his wife after making money. Others said he was beating his wife and chasing other women. But after the release of 9ice’s album, Tradition, people started pointing accusing fingers at Tony Payne and Rugged Man as true causes of their break-up. People alleged 9ice caught her in bed with a friend of his as the lyrics in his song, “Once Beaten Twice Shy” suggested. In the song, 9ice said he caught a lover giving his friend oral sex. Tongues started wagging and people alleged it was Ruggedman the singer was referring to.
While people accused Toni Payne of infidelity, 9ice kept shut and made no move to correct people’s impression of Toni Payne with the media accusing her of being a cheat and the cause of her marriage’s collapse.

After about 10 years since they met, 8 years since they got married and 6 years since their messy breakup and with tons of water under the bridge, Toni Payne shared the most powerful message about forgiveness, closure and moving on that you may ever read this year. So touching was the message that I am led to share her words verbatim with the hope that her message would touch someone’s heart who is struggling with forgiveness and moving on.

It has been a good 6 years and now I can categorically say I have let go of all bitterness and hate I felt for a man I once loved. It has been an uphill journey but to find myself here is a blessing.

Without getting into detail and backtracking too much, I’ll summarize it as a lot of naivety, a lot of bad decisions, and a lot of untrained media professionals ready to blow things out of proportion. A man sang a song and for whatever reason known to them, Nigerian Media “professionals” decided to tag it as what it was not, and a lot of Nigerian onlookers decided to help spread it without knowing if it was true or not and unfortunately for me, I was caught in the crossfire. A lot of people formed opinions about me, some even hate me till today for something that was mere fiction. Such is life right?

Till today, I still wonder how things got that far. I wonder how things got so nasty. I wonder how a once beautiful relationship turned so sour so quickly.

These days, we talk – a lot. We talk about what happened and how we got here. These days, we can now joke and laugh about the past. I ask a lot of questions because I really want to understand him and put myself in his shoes. I also hope he understands my every reaction and puts himself in my shoes.

Through all the mess, we never really talked deeply about things. There was too much resentment on my side for me to want to allow him in. There was too much bitterness in my soul to ever want to forgive. I honestly never thought this day would come – that is how angry I was. There is a Yoruba proverb that states “when the ocean rises, you don’t rise to meet it.” For every action there is a reaction and for every reaction there are consequences.

I think sometimes, when you are finally in a good place, it is good to talk. Don’t just leave things like that, reach out to each other and talk about things. It is good for both parties to get closure. It is good to try to understand each other and move on with peace in your heart.

He stands by his reasoning that he never mentioned my name or ever accused me of such, and even though I agree with him that he never accused me of anything, I stand by my reasoning that he still should have defended me against a very wicked rumor. He argues that he felt it would have escalated things, I argue that things got escalated because he did not speak up.

We both believed in our decisions at that point. He felt silence was the best answer, I felt I needed to defend myself for posterity sake. At the end of the day, it is what it is. When the noise calms, we still have to deal with each other. When the curtains fall, we still need to have each others best interest at heart.

I am not perfect but I can categorically say I did my best to be a good woman to him. I still do. I believe deep down inside, he knows this. I do all possible best never to speak ill of him publicly – and as far as I know, he does the same for me.

After everything we went through, I always say it is best to keep your private life private. I write this today not to deviate from that but it would be unfair to forgive wholesomely for something that was so “Public” while leaving the impression that I have not. I know a lot of people think I hate him- I don’t!.

I also write this today not to bring up the past but to go on record and let anyone that feels bitter inside know that it only gets better. Trust me, if I can move on from an entire nation thinking I cheated when I did not, you can also forgive whomever hurt you. Just let love and kindness in your heart. Bitterness is a heavy weight to carry and now I feel 100 times lighter.

I believe the younger ones can learn a lot from our errors and most importantly learn about forgiveness. In life, we can only predict what we want from it, we can never ever guess 100% what it will give us. I spent so many years caring what others think till I realized in this life, the opinion of others is just that – an opinion. I believe I am starting my 2016 off in the right direction. I hope to work on forgiving others who contributed to this chapter in my story. I believe this is a great place to start. At the end of the day, we are family and I am eternally grateful for the grace to see this day.



Marriage Is Not About Love


I was having a very candid conversation with my elder brother who got married when I was out of the country. He made a profound statement that made me think deep. He said marriage is not all about love, its about so many other things. I thought about it and this article is a compilation of what we discussed and other things I believe marriage entails:

1. Understanding: I wrote an article on how marriages from the days of our grand parents differ from modern day marriages. I discovered that couples back then understood themselves more than we do now. What the modern day couple cares about is love, love, love. I love this person so much that I can do anything for the person. I can go extra miles for this person. Do you even understand your partner? Do you know when he/she is happy? Do you know when he/she is troubled? Do you know what makes your spouse smile? Do you know what gets them offended? How well do you really understand each other.

2. Sacrifice: Some people enter marriage and are not willing to sacrifice for their families. There are lots of career women who enter marriage and are not willing to at least take a break from work to establish their homes and take care of their children.  In some cases, the woman earns far more than the man but he is not willing to sacrifice for the good of the family. Are you willing to give up your job? Are you willing to give up your car? Are you willing to leave your father’s house in Lekki to move in with your husband in Okoko Maiko?

3. Forgiveness: I once saw an advert for a company or so that said “marriage is a union of two forgivers living together”. In marriage, your partner will step on your toe, your partner will annoy you, your partner will say things or do things that will hurt you but are you always willing to forgive? Are you willing to look past the act and focus on the person? Marriage is like forgiving someone for their past, present and future sins.

4. Tolerance: According to Merriam-Webster, tolerance can be defined as the willingness to accept habits or beliefs that are different from one’s own. I had this flatmate while in school who snores. The snores were so loud that when I was up to study even though his room was upstairs, I could still hear it from my room downstairs. I always thought to myself that no one could possibly sleep in the same room with this guy. To my utmost surprise, his girlfriend came over and stayed with him for over a month. His snores never ceased but I am sure his snores were music to her ears, she could tolerate his snores if not she couldn’t have left her own house and stayed at his for so long. Are you willing to tolerate him?

5. Trust: A friend once told told me about her fiance now husband who loves her very much but doesn’t trust men around her (doesn’t trust her kpata kpata). He doesn’t want her to work, he doesn’t want men to call her, he doesn’t want her to have keep male friends.  How much do you trust your spouse? Are you the type that goes through your spouse’s phones, the type that checks their Facebook pages occasionally. There is nothing like 80% trust or 25% trust, you either trust someone or you don’t.

6. Decision for life: The biggest question you should answer before marriage is not “do I love this person?”, its “can I live with this person for the rest of my life?” The rest of your life not a part of your life. Abroad, you hear couples signing prenuptial agreements, so just in case they divorce they all know what they can get. They have already put divorce as one of the conditions even before the commencement of marriage, no wonder the divorce rate is always on the increase in that part of the World. Are you sure you can live with your partner for the rest of your life. Whether she gains weight, or she gets darker, or he gets pot belly, or he becomes bald, or he gets sacked from work.

7. Communication: Communication is one of the most vital aspects of human life. Without a form of communication, we might never exist. If human life is so dependent on communication, then what about the most important establishment in human life called marriage. Questions like how many children should we have? Do we use family planning in spacing our kids? Which schools do they attend? What roles should our parents play in our marriage? How often do we have sex? should be asked and answered before and during marriage.

8. Selflessness: Marriage is not about you. Its about the person you are married to and about your future family. People enter marriage with the “give me give me” mentality. They have the “what can I get from this marriage?” mindset and not how can I add to this person? How can I make this person better than he/she is already? How can I make him grow spiritually? Some women enter marriage and think sex is something they should have only when they feel like it. In marriage, your body is no longer yours but your spouses’ (1 Corinthians 7:1-40). Are you willing to have sex even when you don’t feel like it just to satisfy your spouse?

Without the above, love is a mere feeling and it can NEVER sustain a relationship not to talk of a marriage.

Forgiveness Heals The Forgiver


Forgiving when we have been wronged personally is one of the most difficult things we have to do. But until we forgive we carry that injury with us as if it was happening over and over. We remain the victim of the abuse as long as we continue to give the other person power by not forgiving them.
I was having a candid conversation/counselling session with a friend who was abused by her cousin when she was a little girl. She grew up with so much resentment and hurt that she unleashed that hurt on any man she could find. She hated guys so much that having anything emotional to do with a guy brought up memories of the abuse she endured at the hands of her cousin. This predicament caused an emotional disconnection and made her suicidal at times and promiscuous other times.
I had another friend who was disvirgined by 3 rapists and ever since, having emotional or sexual connection with a guy brought back memories of the rape and this led her to having sexual affairs with girls.
The sad and unfair part of their stories is that the cousin that abused the first girl and the guys that raped the other girl may have prayed to God for forgiveness, payed for their sins, have families and enjoying their lives while these girls are still carrying the hurt and punishing themselves.
Forgiveness has nothing to do with accepting the transgressor’s behaviour. Left up to me, a grown man that has the audacity to abuse a little girl should be castrated. Men Wizards that can take turns in raping a virgin should live the rest of their lives behind bars where other men will take turns in raping them.
But, what good will that do to the person that was hurt?
What good will that do to that girl that feels violated?
How will that help her regain her confidence in men?
how will that enable her to trust other men with her heart?
I’ll repeat, forgiveness has nothing to do with accepting the transgressor’s behaviour. Forgiveness involves acknowledging that while a person may have behaved in an unacceptable way, he or she is human and prone to making mistakes and bad choices. You can forgive them for making a bad decision – ALL human beings are fallible and this means they are at risk for making very big mistakes. You don’t need to love them or even like them, but giving up your hatred for them will be the first step in taking control of how you feel and not allowing your feelings to be at the mercy of someone else’s behavior.
To forgive is to let go of an affliction which has in reality already passed. If you are holding onto an affliction against you which has already passed, you are trapped by it and consumed by it. For example, both my friends have let what does men did to them consume them, they have let unforgiveness trap them from moving and enjoying their lives.
Forgiveness is for the wronged, not the wrongdoer. Forgiving releases the negativity in your heart. If you don’t forgive and instead hold a grudge, the negativity will grow and eventually overcome any and all positivity in your heart, so that all that is left will be negativity. Once that happens, all goodness is gone, and your heart will be evil.
You can’t get ahead while you’re trying to get even. Forgive your enemies-nothing annoys them more.
There is no revenge so sweet as forgiveness. The only people you should try to get even with are those who have helped you. The one guaranteed formula for limiting your potential is unforgiveness. Hate, bitterness and revenge are luxuries none of us can afford.
The best illustration as to why we should learn to forgive and let go of anger and resentment is by Buddha who said that “holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”
Did he promise you marriage and later impregnate someone?…forgive him and move on
Did he rape you and later deny it?…forgive him and move on
Did he get you pregnant and leave you all alone…forgive him and move on
Did she use you to finance her education and marry someone?…forgive her and move on
Your parents didn’t take care of you like all parents should?…forgive them and move on

Remember you are not forgiving him/her for their sake. Forgiveness saves you the expense of anger, the high cost of hatred and the waste of energy. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.

“Why Ask Why” by John Mason
“Forgiveness for the forgiver” by Mary Russell
“Forgiveness: Letting go of grudges and bitterness” by Mayo Clinic Staff
“Forgiveness is for the Forgiver” by Barb