It looked so real that I was afraid someone was following me and was already thinking of fistful precautions without looking back before realising I was the same object following me behind. Living far from your place of work requires you to wake up early when many people are about to start the last round of enduring sleep for so many reasons top of which to beat traffic especially if you live in Lagos. That day, I left my house as usual walking as fast as possible to meet up with few minutes I have wasted sleeping overtime on bed only to notice some dark figures trying to catch up with me at the same pace of my footsteps.
At first, I instantly knew the first two were the extended part of myself revealed by the two bright bulbs of light on the fences beside and behind me but the last guy behind me, I currently don’t know about him. I noticed however, that as I moved forward, the former two began to disappear but the unrecognised black guy behind seemed to grow bigger, thicker and real until I summoned courage to challenge it in the lonely estate path only to be confronted with the truth. The three guys were my shadows! They were three because there were three lights around in three different close directions and the last was becoming darker while the first two were becoming lighter because I was moving towards the particular light reflecting that part of myself and walking away from others.
Shadow is not just the dark figure cast upon a surface by a body intercepting the rays from a source of light as defined by Merriam Webster dictionary, it is an inseparable comparison of man based on his proximity to light. Shadows are not real in the sense of being touchable but in the sense of sight, they do not betray the true identity of a person in relation to the kind of light such fellow is exposed to. Every single day of life, we are being exposed to different lights and as these lights shines on us so does it cast different shadows of us. Our lives as humans are lived in compartments. Someone can be at the same time a father, husband, a boss or subordinate, as well an usher in church yet known for different temperament and be described differently by various people. All those compartments of his lives are shadows of his original self created by God and those functioning areas of his lives are lights cast upon his real image.
Living our lives in compartments is not the problem since we operate in several facets of life, the problem is not knowing what to call you or where to group you in the identity of things. This is because you, a deacon in church and a disciplined father at home who instructs your own to steer clear of immorality is the same boss who cannot help young women for free unless you sleep with them in the office. How can you claim to be saved and have the holy spirit in you but you are the best when it comes to manipulating figures for financial gains in your office? I stopped patronising a known Christian woman who doubles as the discipleship coordinator in her church the day I noticed she has adjusted the scale she uses to sell fish. Why is it difficult to be what you claim to be? Is that how Jesus lived? So, this brings me back to the question, which of the shadows of your lives are you? Are you a Christian or pretending to be one? What should you be called, a father, mother, brother, sister a fornicator, bribe specialist or an evil genius?
I read somewhere online where somebody narrated the story of one of his neighbors’ husband who would travel for work, often for several weeks or a month at a time. Although, the family appeared to have it all, as they appeared really close knit, enjoyed spending time together, and showed genuine affection for each other, unfortunately, the husbands work wasn’t the only thing that took him away from his family. John had another family, a family he managed to keep secret from his wife for more than thirteen years, a family that included other children. Both families appeared to be unaware the other’s existence until John’s untimely death. Who knows how long John would have been able to successfully live this double life had he not died. All the secrets he managed to hide, the people he was able to manipulate, and the people he managed to keep separate suddenly collided and he was no longer able control the outcome. So, who was John, a loving father or a cheating husband?
According to some reports by psychologists, a large number of people including Christians live in two or more separate worlds caught up in their own lies, shame and guilt which eventually drives them into behaviours that are totally at variance with their popularly known daily activities. In the past, having a double life is usually associated with the world of professional spies and the like, now it has become a community robe even among the so called children of God.
The Bible is full of people who lived double lives but none of them ended well. One very famous that we often refer to is Judas Iscariot that betrayed Jesus for a mere thirty piece of silver. Like other apostles, they were going from one town to another with the master preaching and teaching people about the kingdom of God. Miracles even happened through him when he went out with other seventy one on the instruction of Jesus to preach to the lost sheep of Israel, alas nobody but God knew that Apostle Judas was only acting a familiar script, and in due course, he was revealed to the world who he actually was. But it was too late to amend, the shame made him hung himself.
Another person who lived in different shadows and didn’t end well in the Bible is Gehazi who would have been a great prophet after the death of Elisha. On the outside he was faithful and committed to the things of God, trusted by the prophet so much that Elisha often released his staff to him to perform signs and wonder as seen in the story involving the rich woman of Sunem but brother Gehazi has a different personality of coverteousness hidden in the shadows of service to God, until he inherited leprosy for his descendants.
As a child of God, it is important to recognize when duality is occurring in our lives and take appropriate steps to not step out of the grace of God. When you have started manipulating the people you love for your own selfish gratification, such as making the same promises to two different people, engaging in multiple affairs whether as single or married and are unable to show your true intentions without an iota of lies then it is time to cry out because you are in a real spiritual bondage.
In the book of Revelation 3:19, the Bible warns us about lukewarm hearts who will be spit out by God because they finds it difficult to choose a side, they want to belong to God and the devil at the same time. But there is a solution, the only solution to a double life is a heart of genuine repentance and surrender. Nobody is saying that it is easy because the truth hurt more than we often imagine but it is a necessary pain that will lead you to greater life of relief and peace. John 8:32 says, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”. God’s desire is for you to be set free from the consequences and bondages of sin. As you walk in Him, He eliminates the differences between the version of you in public and in private by exposing your sin and then setting you free from it.
Like Judas Iscariot, many people often make the mistake of shutting Jesus out of their lives, it does not matter how low you have gone so much that you think revealing the truth about you will cause a lot of problems, when you shut God out, you shut out His eternal hope. But the good news is you can regain that hope by returning to God and coming humbly to Him in repentance. 2 Corinthians 7:10 says, “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.”. The greatest consequence of a double life is eternal death but that should not be your portion. You should know that whether or not you confess your double lifestyle now that you can find every help, nemesis will catch up with you very soon. By then, you will have only yourself to blame.