Boko Haram And The Faith Of Dapchi Christian Girl, Leah Sharibu
Nigeria News takes a look at the only Christian Girl, Leah Sharibu of the Dapchi School who is still in the custody of Boo Haram.
On Thursday, President Muhammadu Buhari promised to free Sharibu from the custody of her abductor, the Boko Haram. The insurgents had refused to release the girl with 104 other girls of the Government Girls Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State because she had refused to renounce her Christian faith and change to Islam.
On Friday, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye prayed for the girl and was optimistic that she would be freed by the terrorists.
In all these, I had thought it won’t be necessary to make a comment on Leah Sharibu, the Dapchi girl that reportedly held unto her faith in the face of persecution by Boko Haram. But reading through a wide range of comments and submission makes me feel a bit uncomfortable and thereby want to give a perspective which may not necessarily be sacrosanct.
First, I am convinced that there are a lot of angles to the terrorism tale in Nigeria. There is the economic angle, the political angle, the social angle, the tribal angle and the religious angle. But I will like to dwell on the religious angle which appears to be what is generating the recent discourse.
I find it quite amusing in the first place that Boko Haram will let the public know that one of their captives did not regain freedom because she would not jettison her faith. That act of courage from the young girl has, however, become the hub of heated debate in many circles. Some felt she should have abandoned her faith to get her freedom and later reclaim it as if the Christian faith is a switch that could be put on and off. There are some who also believe she took the right steps. Though some of those saying this have not seen the periphery of a crisis in their entire Christian walk, it seems to be the most convenient thing to say especially when one is not in the fray.
But I think the issue goes beyond the denial of faith or decision to hold on in the face of trouble.
For me I think the Dapchi girl has opened a new record in the profession of our faith, calling us to a re-examination of what we profess. When I read Leah’s story, my mind first raced to the Ghanaian Archbishop (would like to keep his name) who upon being threatened by Islamic fundamentalists started confessing like a parrot. I watched the video sometimes last year and was grieved in my spirit when the respected Archbishop who had earlier made some comments about Islam stood sheepishly before Islamic clerics and began pleading passionately that he did not mean to offend them. He could not stand by his word when he was threatened by the Ulamas.
It’s not a time to blame the Archbishop. Until one is faced with a similar threat and one does not budge then one can talk and trade blames. Elijah found himself in the similar situation when Jezebel threatened him with death. He ran for his life and declared that he was not better than his fathers. This was Elijah who just saw the end of several prophets of Baal.
So, the issue is neither here nor there. But then there are valid lessons I think every believer should learn from the Dapchi girl. One, I think the girl has got some heavy convictions which cannot be taken away from her. Such conviction is rare in this clime. She also does not seem to see the worth in holding unto life by all means. It is heartening that her parents are not taken aback by their daughter’s decision to keep her faith in the face of persecution.
But then, it is important we tell ourselves some home truth. In this age where the gospel we preach is “Me I no go suffer” is it likely we get people in the ilk of Leah who will be ready to lay their lives for what they believe?
I think for now we should not be talking about people dying for their faith, though we may inevitably get there. I am saying that because on daily basis several professing believers deny Christ in their attitude and their relationship. Some don’t even want to identify with Christ where their pot of soup is concerned. Our concern first should be how many of us are living the life of Christ? How many can say no to promotion if that promotion will take Christ from us? How many can go hungry instead of taking a bribe and compromising their faith? How many sisters can stay single instead of marrying an unbeliever who is a money bag?
How many young men can hold onto their integrity and rather choose to suffer hunger and shame instead of compromising their faith for filthy lucre? I think the talk about laying our lives for Christ is far-fetched. Let us start from the basics. To what extent are we practising what we profess we believe?
If we can answer those questions then we can then talk about martyrdom. For now, I think the lesson to draw from Leah is to first reflect on the life of Christ that we profess to live. The naked truth is that when the chips are down, in the face of daggers and threat to life, many believers will recount. But by the way, the Leah way is certainly the way to go…Any Christian who is not ready to lose his life, lose material things and the goodies of life for what he believes is not worth being called a Christian.