I still remember it. It was just like yesterday.
All I could see was pitch black. I could also smell the sweet aroma of freshly baked pastries oozing from my neighbour’s kitchen. I could also sense the buzz buzz of mosquitoes hovering in the dark. The slow swiveling blades of the ceiling fan above my head rendered catcophonous rhythm in labored obedience to the low power voltage. It was a cold night but dollops of sweat trickled down my body as I knelt in the dark of my room. My heart palpitated, thumping against my chest like it would tear out. It could not bear what was to come. I knelt by my bed side, my palms placed against each other, my head bowed in shame and my eyes closed. This was the umpteenth time I would be repeating this prayer but I had no choice. I was a pathetic and unrepentant sinner who always repeated my sin – This Sin.
I knew This Sin like the back of my hands. I knew it was bad. I knew it was unhealthy. I knew it had repercussions and could lead to eternal destruction. I knew it was not right. But I was helpless. I did not want to continue in This Sin but I could not NOT continue. I did not know how to say no. Just like a dog goes back to its poo, I always went back to this sin.
So that night, just like the prodigal son who had ventured into the world on a frolic of his own but had realized his misdeeds and returned home, I turned to my Creator with a heavy heart. I confessed my sins and unburdened my heart. Just like I had done a million times. I banished This Sin to the pit of hell. I renounced its authority over me and re-dedicated my life. I was a new creature, for old things had passed away.
The morning after my latest repentance, I studied the words of The Good Book. I bought religious audio tapes and uplifting leaflets. I had to guard myself against falling prey to This Sin again. I sang songs of victory and kept watchful eyes. I knew like the gatekeeper,I had to consciously be on the look out for This Sin and anything that portrayed its semblance so I don’t fall victim to it again.
One fateful day as I stayed alert, I saw This Sin come towards me. Only that this time, it did not look like the sin I knew. It – it looked different. I could not believe my eyes. It was not the sin I used to know. It had changed. It wore a new and exotic regalia and smelled of foreign annointed oil.
Is that you? This sin? Is that really you?
This Sin had changed. It looked different. It smelled different. It was now a new creature just like I was!
I took pity on This Sin and wanted to embrace it, like I had done in the past, but my head rebuked me. Then I saw the looks in This Sin’s eyes. They were looks of pity and genuine repentance. The Sin I knew was not the same sin before me. It really had changed. So my heart decided to give it a second chance. The millionth second chance.
This new Sin was sweeter than the old one. It really had changed. As each day passed, I grew closer and deeper into This Sin. It gave me happiness like never before. I glowed in it and relished every bit of it. So I consumed it more and more each day.
And then it dawned on me that, this was how the old sin was. It always came back sweeter than it used to be. And on each return, I would take it back for being different. But it remained the same. It dawned on me that I was harming myself by consuming so much of its new sweetness. It dawned on me that, I had sinned again.
So I went back to my bedside at night. I reflected on the pathetic sinner that I was. Pathetic because, I knew what my sin was – what This Sin was, yet, just like a goat ruminates, I had repeated This Sin. So I placed my palms against each other, bowed my head in shame and closed my eyes. As I was about to unburden my heart, I felt a tug at my breast pocket. My hands went to the pocket. It felt hard.
I stood up and turned on the light switch. Then I pulled out the item from my pocket. It was This Sin! My guilty pleasure! A brown, rectangular, sugar coated chocolate bar. This was my guilty pleasure – chocolate bars. Eating excessively sweetened brown chocolate. My doctor had advised me to desist from such because of my blood sugar level, but like a Sallah ram being pulled to the slaughter house, I felt helpless when it came to sweetened chocolate bars. I ate them anytime, everytime and when I felt I had had too much, I prayed for the grace to abstain from chocolates.
On realising that I had brown chocolate bar with me, I put off the light and returned to my kneeling position by my bedside. I closed my eyes. I unwrapped the chocolate bar and stuffed it in my mouth.
Wow. Sweet Lord!
As I chewed, I recited the prayer I had already recited a million times – I prayed for the strength to abstain from This Sin.