Suicidal Thoughts (My Hellishly True Story)

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SuicideI must have been 7 or 8 when I first considered killing myself…

I can remember that moment … but I don’t know why? I guess there are just some moments that stick with us regardless of age or time. It happened outside the Lagos Country Club main entrance … that’s when I asked my Dad the question … Here’s how it all began…

We had just begun going to bible study at our neighbor’s house although they were technically not our neighbors but they were in the same Estate as us so we called them neighbors.

I liked going to the bible study because they gave us drinks and biscuits. The only catch was that we had to study the bible for about 2 hours and then endure long prayer sessions before we could touch the temptations refreshments. But for a biscuit addicted young kid like me, it was well worth the spiritual wait.

So we would attend almost every Sunday after church. It was all fun until one day the lights went out … they wanted to show us a movie. I loved movies plus our old VHS video player was always breaking down so getting to watch a movie and eat biscuits was heaven…except that this movie was the exact opposite of heaven!

It started off with 2 bikers with loads of evil-looking tattoos splattered across their skin. At one point in the movie they found themselves in a church, not sure how they got there but they were there. In the church they were asked to become born again so that they could be saved but both bikers refused … and instead drove out of the church leaving a sad-looking Pastor in the dust.

I guess the Pastor was sad because he knew what would happen next … because a few seconds later one of the bikers had an accident died … and that’s when the movie just changed to horror movie like that.

Before I knew it, the dead biker was in hell chopping fire. Now hell (as depicted in this movie) was this place where flames were blazing all over and people were crying agonizingly but nobody was dying. The one scene that I remember (again no idea why) was when either the devil or one of his minions (sorry Gru … I knows its despicable associating minions with Hell) took a sharp metal object and struck a hell citizen in the stomach releasing a cluster of maggots from his stomach. Let’s just say that I was terrified. No amount of free biscuit could have prepared me for this!

I am not quite sure how that movie ended or if I even had an appetite after watching. What I know was that I was scared. Scared because at that age I had deduced with rudimentary mathematics and rough statistics that if sinless was the only way to avoid hell, then the probability of me going to hell … was hellishly high!

My only other solution was to sleep in church, not sleep like snore, but sleep like become a nun or reverend. Or maybe repent every night before I go to bed and hope that the trumpets sounded while I was asleep. Needless to say the odds were not in my favor … and the thought of going to hell to have my stomach split open but not die was chilling. It bugged me … until I figured out a workable solution. At least that’s what I thought…

It was either a Friday or Saturday evening and we were (actually just my Dad) on our way to play Lawn Tennis at the Lagos country club. When this brilliant idea hit me, I mean it hit me in the car, but the brilliance of the idea did not fully manifest until we stepped out of the car and got to the entrance of the Lagos Country Club. And that’s when the question just sort of popped into my head and out my mouth … this question… “Daddy, if I give my life to Christ and then immediately kill myself can I go to heaven?”

Looking back now, I almost crack up laughing thinking about the thoughts that went through my Dads head at that instance … lol.

But thank God for his brilliance and his ability to think calmly on his feet. Because he produced a smooth Michael Jordan swoosh like answer … this is what my Dad said…

“If you kill yourself, then you can’t go to heaven because you have violated one of the 10 commandments … thou shall not kill.”

Now my Dad did not say it exactly like this, I don’t want his head to start swelling. But I got the message, I was like double fork! I was screwed! My brilliant escape to heaven plan had been shot down with that rare bit of religious logic.

Now as I look back at that incident I realized that I like a lot of people jump into a religion because of the fear of Hell and not the love of God. And some church leaders exploit that FEAR to drive people to their church.

I know this, because my early exposure to church from Primary to Secondary school was defined by fear … I was afraid of the trumpet sounding at the wrong time or of dying before I had a chance to repent. So fearful that like I stated above I technically contemplated giving my life to Christ and then taking my life as a quick strategic ticket to Heaven … all this at just 7 freaking years old.

I jumped around in church for the FEAR FACTOR. You know that “factor” … the one that you experience when the pastor says “where would you go if the trumpet sounds now now?”

But the problem with fear is that it distracts from the core principles of the Bible. It creates Christians that are scared of everything … the first ones to scream JESUS once the turbulence hits the plane … the ones that would tithe diligently but forget to give their needy neighbors a bite. Christians that are more interested in Heaven than what is happening on Earth. The ones that will criticize a pastor because his HELL word count is too low per sermon. And then those ones … the one who would show a hell movie to a 7-year-old child!

I guess what I am trying to say is that the church has to find a balance.

I understand the need to talk about hell … so knock yourself out. But let’s not forget childhood innocence and let’s not forget the LOVE aspect or else we end up with heaven desperate “revelation” loving Christians devoid of basic traits of love and affection for others. And that … that is dangerous. Because that is how extremism evolves. Because now people are more interested in where they go “bomb for virgins” than what they do to their fellow man in getting there. Let’s change the focus or at least diversify the message.

twitterWritten and Experienced By Okechukwu Ofili of
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Author: Ofili

Words by Okechukwu Ofili of
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47 comments on “Suicidal Thoughts (My Hellishly True Story)

  1. You are spot on with this article. I’m not sure about others but anyone who grew up in 80’s would understand we were coerced into christianity by FEAR. I had this same idea when I saw hellish movies. The MO of the gospel then was to scare people with hell so they’ll run to Jesus. Did it work? Well to certain level, at least we got conscious that we needed to do away with sin. Some of us gave our lives to christ at every alter call, even if it was five minutes intervals. But then the mid 90’s gospel began to open our eyes to the loving GOd, who wanted us to prosper.

    • Obafemi,
      You’re so right! I remember the abject terror I use to feel every time. I used to wake up in fear and go to bed in fear of death, rapture, sin…you name it!
      It was when, I can’t remember who, preached about finding out God for yourself or something to that effect that I started seeking and searching and discovering that people preach the God that they see; they preach the God that they perceive, the ‘if-you-do-good-kingdom’ and if-you-do-bad-no-more-kingdom’ type God.
      No one can capture a heart through fear and not until you love someone that you can give your all to them. Not through fear…never through fear.
      Fear is not freedom; fear is bondage.
      Okan’ube latest post is Flashing Lights And A Bottle of Schnapps.My Profile

  2. Hah! Sounds like me at that age too. Only I argued and asked a lot of people. We’re talking heaven here, I wasn’t going to take one person’s answer. Gotta do my research. Thankfully, I got past that stage and I turned out okay.
    P.s: I didn’t watch any hell videos, but people gave graphic descriptions and my imagination did the rest. Lol.

  3. I remember asking my pastor a question when I was 9 that I won’t share here. His answer then cracked me up even then.

    But meeeehn, Mount Zion movies scared the bejesus outta me men.

    Thank God, with age came wisdom, and research, and knowledge, and…

    I’m hungry, I’ll think up the rest later.

    Oh yeah, Okecukwu, you hardly reply pings, I may just consider doing what your pm on 2012 and unreplied pings talked about, soon as I figure out how to boot a computer.
    One Men latest post is Just Scribbling: Of Skulls, Femurs, and A Juvenile Delinquent’s Correction.My Profile

  4. Miss Chibuzo on said:

    Ofili I always look forward to your new post and don’t waste time to check it out immediately I get the alert in my mail! This is such an interesting topic. I had that exact feeling of repenting, committing suicide and just go straight to heaven so that I don’t continue in sin because I was tired of always falling and repenting all over again…. You need not know my disappointment when I got same response of – it’s a 1st class ticket to hell if I do.

    It’s really sad that self-righteousness and fear is what draws so many Christians to church and not God yet o….because a lot of people who are serious worshipers and or attain high positions in church or any religious houses haven’t experienced knowing God (no offense to anyone though). I have fallen victim of this fear and I regret some actions I have taken especially in giving financially at the wrong places. But in all and to me, it was a sincere and genuine heart of giving to God and can’t regret much. I am learning to discover God on my own and not let fear of the unknown be the driving force.

    I know that this is a public blog with people of various beliefs but I also believe that it is still that same one God we all are looking on to. So permit me to quote little part of 1 Corinthians 13: 1-3 which says-
    “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”

    So in all Love is the greatest thing in any religion, it is the most excellent way and there is so much lack of it amidst us. That is why the world is in the state that it is in.

    P: s – sorry for the long post…I didn’t mean to write longer than you did…lol

  5. Well said, Ofili. The flip side of a Christian’s efforts to gain God’s approval is a fear of never attaining to it, which results in a fear of going to hell. Fear of hell is having “faith” in the possibility of going to hell because even when we dread something that might come to pass, we are believing it could happen. Either way, fear or faith, our focus is on our expectation of what is ahead. I’d say it’s a matter of “will power” – Our will and His power. We’ve got to use or will to continually trust in His power to save us and to enable us live a holy life before Him.
    Emeka latest post is Why ghosts ‘flog’ humans in Nollywood moviesMy Profile

  6. Awww!

    Got me saying “Awww” (in my heart) in the end.

    Actually, I saw that movie too (as a kid), and for weeks, I was afraid to walk through the house whenever it was dark…and would freak-out whenever my bro made the musical sound of the movie – the sound was unique to its terrifying scenes.

    New to your blog (about a week or two old), but I must say this post has a special essence: calm, introspective and didactic in a warm way.

    Well done, Ofili!

  7. funny enough i used to have this ahap thought as a kid..i come from a family that during retreats in church we watched these kind of movies..once i even thought that if i missed going to heaven and was given the mark of the antichrist i would skin of the portion of my flesh where the mark was incised and still make it to heaven..oh me of little faith lol…bu though as a kid i was afraid of such things but it didnt stop my doing whatever it was that i wanted to do..religious principles or not..more like a matter of mind set i should think…really nice writeup..really creative!

  8. funny enough i used to have this ahap thought as a kid..i come from a family that during retreats in church we watched these kind of movies..once i even thought that if i missed going to heaven and was given the mark of the antichrist i would skin of the portion of my flesh where the mark was incised and still make it to heaven..oh me of little faith lol…bu though as a kid i was afraid of such things but it didnt stop my doing whatever it was that i wanted to do..religious principles or not..more like a matter of mind set i should think…really nice writeup..really creative! I was umm..just passing by..but i think im gonna stay

  9. Nice piece Ofili.
    I thought I was the only one. I would say that I became a true christian after an attempt on suicide. It was in 2010 when I felt so sick and didn’t know what was wrong with me. before that, I was already fed up with the disappointments filled life that I was living. I thought I was cursed and I just wanted to end it. long story short, I had brought a rope to end life with, but all in my mind was a word that I heard in my church as a young lad, I didn’t know where it was located but I knew God was dissuading me from committing suicide. I finally gave my life wholely to God and now I am happy I did. Today I am a blessed Entrepreneur, Motivational speaker, blogger and author. And I have found out that people tend to listen to my suicidal attempt story.

    people will be drawn to Christ through different ways and all that matters is that God is able to get your attention

  10. Brilliant & truly realistic article..Wish every ‘religious individual/organisation’ will actually read and digest..Keep up the good work..God

  11. $ir Walter Houdini on said:

    Brilliant Article. And there are churches that still show movies oooo on their crusade grounds…Just as @JohnSpeaksE said, ‘people will be drawn to Christ through different ways and all that matters is that God is able to get your attention’…

    Mr Ofili, keep up the good work.

  12. Excellent description of most Christian homes 80’s & 90’s but now homes barely pray. Never could stand those gory hell scenes. I believe those trainings have molded most of us into men/women of character and integrity, although the harm done are being undone by the word gradually… Ofilli idi nnoo chiiiiii…..mazi

  13. Mehn, we watched the movie togeda. You just reopened a channel that have not been used for long… Terrifying one. That’s why I call you the man with the funny magic pen

  14. I enjoy this post very much it speaks volume on how “church” function today. It’s one of the reason I don’t believe in hell. So much focus on morbid fear of God then a balance reverential fear of God. It sucks the joy and peace of serving God.

  15. I think the good thing about all the church tactics to draw us to Christ is that it actually does work.
    I have a cousin who gave his life to Christ during the period when it was rumoured that the end of the world will come on easter day. he hurriedly gave his life to christ. but despite the fact that the world didn’t end, didn’t stop him from following Jesus. Today, I envied his Christianity.

    One of the problem of we the youth is that we are too smart to be convinced.


  16. nyiedum ufot on said:

    I can relate, and I can remember those fellowships, lol…. better to preach the love of God, than fear.
    Mr Ofili your posts are becoming scarce o!

  17. I’m just seeing this, I’m blown away because I could have written this post, every word!
    I watched Lost Forever by Mount Zion films as a five year old and it was terribly scary and then when I was barely seven we had a Sunday School assignment, to read the book of revelations from beginning to the end. I stopped at chapter 11.
    Man! that was the beginning of intense terror and panic attacks that I’m not even free from even now. I so wanted to kill myself but like you my dad talked me out of it. I remember being very angry with God for allowing me to be born to live in this world of sin.
    It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized that God didn’t want me to serve him out of fear but from a deep love for him.
    Adaeze latest post is You- Chapter fiveMy Profile

  18. I think a lot of Christian hardly find time to read the Bible for themselves (dunno about Musilims with the Quran though, or any other religion). We merely go with what our ‘men of God’ say. Shikenan.
    Some movies that have christian themes or are ammendments of popular bible stories just don’t get it as it is. Some do it for the money, not to spur another’s spirituality. (An FB friend shared this thought). Believe not all those movies; they aren’t all true to the bible.
    And finally brethren…lol
    I saw a quote somewhere that read something like this:
    “Those who inspire fear, have more followership than those who preach love”. Perhaps, that’s the same strategy some churches are using to get a multitude.
    Au revoir
    aduku latest post is PerceptionMy Profile

  19. This is one helluva (pardon the pun) well written article. It hits close to home for most people. And you’re bang on about Love being taken out of the Church and being replaced wth Fear. I also like how you highlighted allowing children to be children. Their minds are like sponges that soak through so screening contents is everything. Well done.

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