Welcome to the second edition on the topic, “Healthy Family at a Cost”. In the last edition, I rounded up by asking salient questions that could change the trajectory of your family, if honestly answered. The question was, “How much sacrifice can you make for your family’s sake?” It’s like genuinely evaluating your wishes and desires for a healthy family. Beloved, for the goal of nurturing a healthy family, how much price are you willing to pay? Remember we did learn from the first edition that when you Pay the PRICE called sacrifice, you will enjoy the PRIZE called HEALTHY FAMILY!!!
Today we will emphasize another dimension to building a healthy family. To build a healthy family, you must learn to forgive, and accept being forgiven. For example, forgiving your spouse is fundamental to experiencing a healthy marriage relationship. There can never be a healthy family if the husband harbors unforgiveness towards his wi犀利士
fe and vice versa, or if parents remain unforgiving of their children for ill behavior.
There isn’t any family under heaven that is bereft of the need for forgiveness. If the members of your family are human beings, then the offence is of surety because it is inherent in human relationships to offend each other, thus the need for forgiveness is inevitable.
Is it possible to live in a family and never be offended? Let me twist the question, do you have the propensity to offend people? If yes, then other human beings in your family also have the propensity to offend you. So, create in your heart three realities: (1) you will be offended/angered/annoyed/provoked/deceived by at least a member of your family, (2) because you are not a spirit, you will definitely offend at least one member of your family, (3) you will need to create the room to forgive family members.

Hear what the Bible prescribes in the Book of Colossians 3:12-13 (NLT)
12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
The rule of thumb in this text is to “make allowance for each other’s fault…” Making room helps you to live with the three realities stated above, and helps you create a healthy family. Remember, you are as imperfect as the people you are expecting to be perfect… think about this truth.

In families where children have rebelled and offended parents, remember, “The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against Him.” (Daniel 9:9, NIV). In God’s mercy, He has been merciful to you even when you rebelled and spoke lies instead of truth, chose compromise instead of honesty. It is that same God that is inviting you to be merciful to your children when they rebel against you.

For anybody reading this article with hurt because of your rebellious child(ren), I pray for God’s transforming power to change your rebellious child(ren) lives right now in Jesus’ name! Every prayer prayed in their lives receives manifestation right now in Jesus’ name! I will hear your testimony. Hallelujah! Speaking of couples harbouring each other’s offences, do you know it is possible to see married couples who go for a whole week, some months and some others go for years without talking to each other? For some, the only talk that joins them is either sex or worship at church (public spaces for people’s sake). Even when they do family devotion, they will both talk to God, but not to each other. Do you understand what I am trying to say?

A story was told of a couple who were having a strained relationship and refusing to forgive each other. The man was going to bed after working on a project over the night and slept around 3 am. He needed to be up and tidy up the project which he was going to submit at an executive meeting with his office board of directors and an important client at 8 am. Thus, he really needed his wife to wake him up wrote at hour 5 am, so he wrote on a piece of paper “Wake me at 5 am” The wife woke up just before that time and she replied to his letter, “Wake up its 5 am” without tapping him to wake up. At the time he woke up, he couldn’t catch up with his presentation and his organization lost the contract. Could either this husband or his wife have adopted Jesus’ counsel in Luke 23:34, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (NIV)?

Trust me when I tell you, forgiveness breeds a healthy environment for a family to thrive. However, forgiveness can be a great struggle for some people. Such that begrudging those who offend you (alive or dead) might feel natural or appealing to human reasons, but the Bible encourages you to forgive. May His grace enable you to forgive your family members of every wrong in Jesus’ name! A healthy family where husband and wife enjoy their marriage as heaven on earth is possible, but there is a price to pay- FORGIVENESS.

Read my book “Earthly Maintenance for Marriage: even heaven-made marriage needs earthly maintenance to sustain it.”

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A story was told of a young man, Yoko (not his real name) who was so spirited he brought joy to everyone who encountered him. In his society, Yoko was known as an emblem of joy who exuded joy to the weary, angry, and discouraged. The story has it that this young man rarely got offended by ANYTHING; he could ignore offenses and insults, laughs at misfortunes, and willingly forgives the offenders at any slightest word of apology. The story has it that parents in the society often referred to this Yoko as an ideal child for all young people to emulate. Let us label this phase of his life as PHASE 1.

Yoko grew in maturity to the third floor in life (the third floor means being in his thirties, the fourth floor connotes one’s forties and the fifth floor one’s fifties and so on …), and got married. Fortunately for him, he married Zudunta (not her real name) whose reputation in character and God-loving precedes her introduction into society. Their wedding was the talk of town … I’m sure you understand why, yes? Let me lend my voice to the thoughts in your heart over the “Why?” Their wedding attracted people of timber and caliber in that society, or like my uncle, Samuel Adejoh, Esq will say, “people of iroko and mahogany were in attendance” and all roads of that community led to their wedding. The love this intending couple shared before their wedding painted the town red (read my article on Devoted Love to glean- As noted in phase 1 of their story, every young person dreamt of experiencing such love and affection in a relationship, and parents exemplified them to their children. At the instance of his wedding, the entire society unequivocally declared that these two love birds- Yoko and Zudunta have launched into their HAPPY EVER AFTER. Let us label this phase of his life as PHASE 2.

After some years of marriage, Yoko became the exact opposite of who he was in Phase 2 of his life. Surprisingly, he became a gloomy, doomy, and frustrated man who disappointed everyone who knew him in his earlier phases of life. He became a shadow of himself as he embittered all the relationships around him. To him, marriage had changed him into a bitter, frustrated man. Instead of the HAPPY EVER AFTER dream, it became a reality of HAPPY NEVER AFTER. Realities like this narrative invite my curiosity to ask, how does the dream of a HAPPY EVER AFTER become HAPPY NEVER AFTER? Have you seen people who were happier as singles than when they became married? Another probing question to ask is, why is it that for some couples, the longer they are married, the less happy they become? What could account for answers to these questions? Let us label this phase of his life as PHASE 3.

I claim ignorance for the precise answers to these questions in phase 3, however, it’s a living reality in some people’s lives. For some people, happiness enlisted them into the pain of HAPPY NEVER AFTER. For your knowledge, the experience of HAPPY NEVER AFTER is not God’s will for any marriage. God’s word reveals: Find a good spouse, you find a good life – and even more: the favor of GOD! (Prov. 18:22 MSG)

From God’s perspective, you are enlisted for a good life, not a miserable or embittered life when you find your spouse. This is the reason that a man leaves his father and mother and embraces his wife, and they become one flesh. (Gen. 2:24- CEB)

In God’s will, when the man intentionally embraces his wife, both will become one flesh.

 In God’s will, when the man intentionally embraces his wife, both will become one flesh.

Gleaning from these two passages, it is obvious that marriage breeds good life and oneness for the couple. If these two essences of marriage are traceable to your life, you experience HAPPY EVER AFTER and not the HAPPY NEVER AFTER reality. Thus, HAPPY NEVER AFTER is not God’s plan for your marriage. Being happier as a single than when married is not God’s plan. Being happier in the early years of your marriage than now that you are much older is not God’s will for your marriage. I pray for you that your reality is about to change from HAPPY NEVER AFTER to HAPPY EVER AFTER in Jesus’ name! Your phase 3 will be more enriched and invigorated with joy than your phases 1 and 2 in Jesus’ name!!!

I invite you to a discussion. What causes HAPPY NEVER AFTER in marriages? Let’s interact in the comment section on the website. Please endeavor to share your (learned) story, experience, knowledge, suggestions, and solution(s).

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Leaping through the annals of life history, you will discover that when a young man found a lady to marry his only challenge was being sure she was God’s will (God’s will is God’s word, principles, instructions, definition to life, choice). The same can be said of the lady’s only challenge too. But in today’s ‘Now upon a time’ the rhythm is different. Human and cultural reasoning has so clouded Christians to an extent that the primary questions young people ask or hear from their parents and/or elderly people ask are “where is s/he from?” or “where is s/he working?” or “what is his/her parents’ financial status?” or “how are you sure s/he can conceive/impregnate a child/woman” and the list goes on and on. Little wonder that some unserious and Christless Church youths seek shortcuts by having sex or worst still, getting pregnant to ‘blackmail’ parents into endorsing their marriage.

The act of blackmailing parents or impregnating a lady or having sex before marriage is a sin (irrespective of the reasons). God’s word in verse 4 of Hebrew chapter 4 reveals, “Honor marriage, and guard the sacredness of sexual intimacy between wife and husband. God draws a firm line against casual and illicit sex” (The Message). Thus, sex before marriage and sex with anyone other than your wife/husband remains dishonoring to God- our Father and the Holy Spirit who dwells in you.
Sometimes (if not most times), the change in these rhythms of questioning is witnessed among parents who are seasoned and renowned disciples of Christ.

 Pst. O. J. Dickson

Parents who have trailblazed Christian values in their homes, Church, and society are becoming champions of traditional and cultural criteria for marriage at the expense of seeking to know God’s will and God’s will alone. I have heard on multiple occasions how young men are frustrated and infuriated by potential in-laws when they seek their daughters’ hands in marriage. ‘Now upon a time’ is the determining factor for accepting young people’s marriage proposals. They tend to tilt more towards anything other than God’s will. Maybe this reality accounts for why the rate of divorce, separation, and avoidable conflict is on the increase.

Once upon a time, seeking God’s will was the thrust of the question, but ‘Now upon a time’ some may say, it seems needless to ask such an ‘old fashion question.’ Let me render some advice to the wise. Although walking in the will of God does not immune your marriage or life from the storms of life, you rest assured of God’s presence in that storm. Should you be ignorant of what the presence of God can do in your life, please do a personal study on this subject. If you do, you will not want to do anything outside His will. I call you to recalibrate your criteria for marital choice – to put God’s will/opinion back as the primal determinant against cultural and societal evaluations.

The realities of ‘Now upon a time’ invites you to the saying in a movie title, ‘Fighting temptations.’ In that movie, when the abominable happened in the Church, one of the characters called Paulina exclaimed, this act is an “abomination that causes desolation.” It is abominable to ignore the will of God for your marriage (or any facet of your life). The reason is that the resultant consequence of ignoring the犀利士 will of God ends in desolation. Thus, the clarion call is made to all persons involved in “the marriage process” – the intending couples, their parents, formal/informal counselors, and every stakeholder (let’s call them “mouth-choking” actors and actresses) to seek God’s will. In the words of my friend, Anaja Odekina, “mouth-choking” actors and actresses are the invited and uninvited council of concerned Uncles, Aunties, Cousins, Neighbours, etc. You may have one of such in your family.

Our chief discipler, Jesus, modeled a way of life when in verse 38 of John chapter 6, he declared, “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” Also, in verse 42 of the book of Luke chapter 22, Jesus prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (NIV) These passages of scripture tell you of Jesus’ reliance on the will of God. In the renewed Spirit of ‘Now upon a time,’ let’s emulate Jesus, and in the quest for God’s will being the determinant for marital choice, the marriage should stay anchored on God’s will for the continuance/sustenance of the marriage.

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The story was told of a young man who gave his life to Christ and later backslid into drinking alcohol, smoking anything that can bring out smoke, sleeping with any woman that is available, and dancing to the rhythm of any sound in a disco (party) hall. One day an evangelist came to hold a meeting in the young man’s local church and asked after the vibrant, God-loving young man that she used to know in that Church. To her chagrin surprise, she was told that he had returned to where he belonged, “the world”. In ‘holy anger’ she went to the young man’s house to check up on him, and on arriving at his house she met him smelling cigarette, yet she remained committed to his restoration. About twenty years later the young man hosted a gospel event that had about sixty-two thousand women in attendance. He introduced the evangelist as the vessel that God used to restore him back to the faith at a time when a lot of ‘spiritual Christians’ had given up on him.

As you read this story the young man is one of the renowned preachers of our time, as he ministers to women through a program ‘Woman, Thou Art Loosed’ he ministers to men through ‘Man Power Conference’ he ministers to youth through ‘3G’ in MEGA FEAST programs. That young man is now, Bishop Thomas Dexter Jakes (T.D. Jakes) of The Potter’s House. Though T.D. Jakes has handed over the ‘Woman Thou Art Loosed’ program to his daughter, Sarah Jakes Robert, posterity will remember T.D. Jakes for his immeasurable impact through the ‘Woman Thou Art Loosed’ series of programs. What an impact through a T.D Jakes, much more to say, what an impact through the Evangelist woman who was committed to his restoration when some ‘saints’ in Church had written him off. I beg of you, don’t allow the potential around you to waste. The impact you are privileged to make is the ministry of God in your hands. Please do the ministry with all your might because the harvest will always be beyond your wildest imagination.

Need I remind you that once upon a time in Jesus’ ministry, a woman was caught in adultery and deserved death, but Jesus offered her what she didn’t deserve LIFE, but with an instruction, “… And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” (Jn 8:1-11 NLT). Imagine if the Evangelist in our story hadn’t gone in search of T.D. Jakes for restoration?

Imagine if this Evangelist had accepted the Church’s conclusion of the boy’s backslidden state. Imagine the voltage of potentials that has (and is still) being wasted because a person (young or old) committed a sin or backslides or falters along spirituality or/and morality praxis? Imagine how many children could have turned out differently if they had experienced the kind of grace and risk that this Evangelist took for T.D. Jakes? Imagine how many people have committed suicide because the Church of Jesus which was founded on undeserved love and mercy decided to treat them based on what they deserved? Imagine how many times we have treated people with disdain because we are of better spiritual or moral standing than them? Imagine how judgmental you have become because of God’s grace working in your life?

Please, I beseech you, don’t let them waste. I am not in any way advocating for tolerance of sin and degradation of Christ’s virtue but am of the opinion that beyond judging and labelling people, let’s show them the kind of love they seem not to deserve. The kind of love that is voiced in verse eight of Romans chapter five (Rom. 5:8 NIV) “…While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”


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Every generation has its peculiar challenges and trends. After Adam fell in the Garden of Eden, every human being that ever lived or that will ever live on mother earth must contend with what quintessential gospel preacher, Rev. Silas Yako, calls ‘generational devils’ who infiltrate and try to corrupt Gods goodness and purpose for every generation. This implies that every generation has a devil to conquer. Little wonder, Rev. Col. (Dr.) S.K Bargo’s admonition which I cited in my book, ‘Luring Trends’ comes in handy; “God reveals His wisdom generationally” (Dickson, 2021: xv). Thus, the wisdom of God and the power of God are fundamental to conquering the ‘generational devils’ ravaging our children, the Church, society, and the world.

The ‘generational devils’ of this 21st century are complicated. Complicated not because the devil has become more ferocious than he was in history or because of the absence of right or wrong, evil or good. It is complicated because this generation is making relative of Christian’s standard of measurement- the BIBLE. Ironically, the infallible truth in the Bible is being distorted by both the preachers of the Bible and practitioners when it relates to practicing biblical truth. For example, some practices that the Bible calls sin are what our Society (sometimes, even the Church) preaches against, but are guilty of the same in practice. Here are some of such practices: The truth which used to be absolute is now relative, i.e. truth is now determined by the individual preacher or Christians, not the Bible. Once upon a time when the Bible speaks in the ‘Acts of the Apostles’ all Christians responded ‘Amen’, but today (“Now upon a time”), experience has it that Christians now question Biblical positions on life, morality, and value systems, especially biblical teachings that expose and speak against the works of the flesh as written in Gal. 5:19-21 (Tree of Life version). 19 “Now the deeds of the flesh are clear: sexual immorality, impurity, indecency, 20 idolatry, witchcraft, hostility, strife, jealousy, rage, selfish ambition, dissension, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, just as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit God’s kingdom.” The practices of these things in any form are unacceptable by the biblical truth- irrespective of who is practicing them. Though ‘Now upon a time” these vices seem entertained and celebrated in some Christian gatherings. Let us frown at and speak against these vices as negating biblical standards of Christian living. How can we entertain the practices that the Bible condemns and still professes to be Christians?

Another twist in the “Now upon a time” is the praxis of dressing. Dressing that used to be seen and addressed as nakedness / immoral is now colorfully termed ‘fashion’ or ‘trendy’ or ‘looking sexy’. A former Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Eme Ekaette, Chairperson of the Nigerian Senate Committee on Women and Youth, once said that “no responsible society should fold its arms while its institutions, put in place to perpetuate the nation are taken over by forces promoting unbridled freedom.” She went further to say “those who want to parade the streets naked in the name of modern fashion can do so in marketplaces, public squares, and perhaps on the beaches, but the state and civil society owe a responsibility to civilized behavior to protect institutions such as schools, churches/mosque and government buildings from disoriented models of new fashion. If we must be sincere, naked women are among the remote causes of the alarming breakdown of public morality and the general moral fiber of our contemporary society.” Professor Michael Asuzu of the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, concurs and adds “women who dress to reveal flesh wish to make this simple statement, ‘I am available- take me, if you like what you are seeing.” (Daily Sun; Feb. 13, 2008, pg. 16). Trust me when I tell you, we must intentionally address the issue of dressing in our Churches. Body-revealing dresses by ladies and boxer-revealing dresses by men invite us to question the content of the minds. Remember that a wo/man’s mind reveals who s/he is (Prov. 23:7), so does a wo/man’s fruit (action) reveal her/his mind (Mt. 7:16). So, though nobody knows your mind, your fruit as expressed in deeds/actions and behavior, reveal your mind.

One more twist in the ‘Now upon a time’ is integrity. A mentor, Dr. James Zasha told me a story of how in his undergraduate days at Ahmadu Bello University (A.B.U) Zaria, the newspaper vendors will bring their newspapers on campus in the morning and leave them at the paper stands with some money (change) and go back home. Students and lecturers, he said, will go to the stand, pick the paper of their choice and leave their payments at the designated newspaper stand (remember that the vendor is not present). At the end of the day, the vendor returns pick money left as payment and his ‘unsold’ papers. Distinguish ladies and gentlemen, can that happen in our universities today (be it a secular or religious university) or seminary, or even inside religious worship centers? I agree with your answers. Integrity in words and deeds is a potent message of Christianity.

In conclusion, every one of us must conquer the ‘generational devil’ of “Now upon a time” by getting back to the Word (Psalm 119:105, Proverbs 4:20- 27). We must also discipline ourselves to believe and live by God’s Word. It was the ECWA president, Rev. (Dr.) Stephen Panya Baba observed that “a lot of Christians Study the word but either don’t believe in it or don’t want to live by it.” Until the Bible determines our values, reasoning, relationships, and ‘culture’, we may end up sustaining the religiosity of Christianity without breathing the life that Christianity gives to society.

For ongoing discussion, contact:
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