The Pot of Stew

by Olufunmilayo

****Reader’s discretion is advised****

I do not remember which of my sibling’s idea it was to get a family dog. All I know is there was huge anticipation as we requested my father for a dog– and he agreed. One day, he brought a skinny-looking dog home. In Nigeria, this dog’s breed is usually called “local dog”, “shit eater”, “stray dog”, or “bingo”.

We were all elated at its arrival and had a family meeting to name the dog – it was called Emperor Nero. My father being an “expert” nutritionist for animals spent a lot of money in buying dog food ingredients and compounding it for the dog. Amongst my siblings, we divvied the tasks for taking care of the dog including cooking, washing its plate and cage, and packing its feces.

But our joy was very short-lived.

Within a few days, this dog had become the worst nightmare for my family. It never ate the expensive food we cooked for it. Instead, it went down our street to the central garbage, and it would drag as much rubbish as it could all through the night back to our compound and scatter it. The awful onus was on me to sweep and clean up the compound after it. Sometimes, it would also drag some trash to our neighbors’ compound, and it became a growing source of concern.

I began to loathe the dog and wished it would disappear.

(*** covers face***, Please do not judge the next actions that took place, we were very desperate, hahaha).

After a few months, my father saw that we had suffered enough as a family, and decided it was time to get rid of the dog. He put the dog in his car and drove it some kilometers away from our home and abandoned it there. When he drove back home that day, we were all so happy and sighed at the end of our misery.

Again, our joy was very short-lived. We woke up the next morning to annoying barks, Emperor Nero was back with a sack of trash sprawled around our compound. And so, the cycle started again, and we had to put up with it for another few months – till we could not take it again. This time, we knew we had to get rid of it for good.

A “well-meaning” family friend suggested that we put it in a sack and load it with heavy stones and throw it into a nearby river. Another suggested that we throw it into a large pot of boiling detergent. We got several gory ideas on how to end this problem, but we felt they were just all too inhumane.

Finally, one of my father’s junior colleagues at work offered him a solution. He told my father to give him the dog and my father did. He was from Calabar, an area in Nigeria where dog eating is quite widespread. He thanked my father for the dog, and the last we heard of it was that it ended in a pot of stew (I do not know if this is true or not though). However, we never saw Emperor Nero again.

I share this story because of its similarity to some sin problems Christian face. Unwittingly, we allow sin into our lives despite knowing its very nature. We think we can handle it, pamper it, or control it – till it becomes a monster. Every effort we try to get rid of it by ourselves proves futile and we become stuck with it.

Thankfully, there is hope for us; if we freely give it to the master Jesus, whose work on the cross has dealt with sin permanently. Indeed, it is a mystery how what might have troubled us for so long can easily be taken away when we let go. But we need to believe that it is as simple as handing it over to Jesus because it is a finished work.

1st Peter 2:24: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”

I pray for every reader that you see the cross and the victory it has brought for you over every ailing situation.

Amen!

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