The Jamaican Patois dialect is colorful, unique, and humorous. It is my desire to share some of the philosophy shown in this mix of colorful phrases that are witty as well as thought-provoking. I hope the readers both profit and enjoy. In my quarter-century plus of teaching there, I have come to appreciate some things about their culture.
Patois: weh sweet nanny goat a go run im belly
English: What the nanny goat enjoys eating can give her diarrhea.
Meaning: What appears to be the most delightful or precious, may produce a bad ending.
What is sin so appealing? Why do people practice sexual sin, theft, lying, gossip, gambling, and such like? The truth is, Satan is a good salesman. Did you ever buy a used car that turned out to be somewhat less than what was promised? Maybe even a disaster? I have been there. I bought a car, having been assured that the engine had recently been rebuilt and was in good running condition. Well, it had been rebuilt, but after that had evidently been driven while low on oil.
Does the alcohol seller have posters in his store of the drunk lying in his own vomit in the gutter? Do the casino owners show posters of people standing in the street with all their household goods in the yard after their home has been repossessed due to being too far behind on the mortgage? Do those who promote recreational sex show the heart-rending pictures of those who are dying of AIDS, or do they warn you of the perhaps 50+ STDs that are out there? Do the abortion providers tell of the aftermath that so many women experience — depression, guilt, suicide, infertility, and other problems that sometimes accompany abortions? OF COURSE NOT!
If a truth-meter were attached to sin, Satan would have been out of business at the start. But God made us with free will, and we have the choice to believe a lie as well as believe the truth. Why did God allow evil in the world? He could have created man as a robot and programmed us for obedience. But he wanted a creation to have a relationship with him by choice, not by force. I like my car, as it always obeys me. But it has no choice. My children usually obeyed me, not always. If I had to make a choice between my car or my children, the children would win handily.
God has warned us about the deceitfulness of sin over and over again. “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, while it is said, "Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as when they provoked me" (Hebrews 3:13-15).
Note some important points in the verses.
- We are to watch for one another, to encourage one another;
- time is important, for we know not when death will come;
- the longer we stay in sin, the harder it is to get out, for the heart becomes hardened, and it is hard to break through a heart that has become hard as stone;
- the possibility of provoking God is not something to be toyed with.
There comes a time when his patience ends, and we reap the consequences.
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:7-8). That’s a law that is firmly fixed!
A truer thought has never been expressed. An ancient writer wrote, “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23). I don’t know that I ever met anyone who was suffering greatly from wrong choices to admit, “I knew this would happen before I ate the forbidden fruit,” i.e. “sinned.”
Consider Adam and Eve. “A piece of fruit? What’s the big deal?” The big deal was the “fruit” of the forbidden fruit. Oh, Satan made it sound so good. It looked tempting, maybe smelled so good that it must be tasty, and who wouldn’t want to be wise like God? The truth is that ALL the evil in the world today—Islamic mayhem, child sexual slavery, theft, murder — is the result of the “trivial” act of eating a piece of fruit. How could Adam and Eve have ever begun to imagine the world today? Or even their own circumstances after the garden gate shut them outside?
Have you ever seen a billboard beer ad showing a drunk in the gutter with vomit all over him? Or a twisted car and bodies on the ground after a drunken-driving crash? Or a picture of someone dying of AIDS in one of our magazines that encourages or endorses sexual promiscuity? Have you ever seen a “safe sex” brochure that cites the number of STDs that plague us? When I was in school in the mid-50s, we had sex education, a one-hour film on syphilis and gonorrhea, the only two STDs we knew about then. Today, we have over 50 STDs, and AIDS is not the only one that kills. Studies indicate that 26% of young females have an STD, but many don’t know it.
King David’s tragedy began simply. Immodesty on the part of Bathsheba; a look on the part of David; evidently a longer look that became lust; adultery, deception; causing drunkenness; the murder of her husband; and tragedy that followed. David confessed and repented, but he suffered the consequences for the rest of his life. “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me” (Psalms 51:2-3).
Satan is a liar and deceiver (John 8:44). “Just this once.” “It’s no big deal.” “You’ll really like it.” Do you suppose those are some of the lines he used with Eve? Please be aware that every sin is a big deal. There are no little sins with God. Sin separates us from God and endangers our eternal soul. Sin has a way of becoming habit-forming. Telling one lie then occasions another lie to cover the first lie, and eventually lying becomes a habit. Mothers are pretty good at telling children what not to eat — what will make them sick. Our heavenly father is very good at telling us what not to eat — the forbidden fruit of sin! He tells us to “flee youthful lusts” (II Timothy 2:22).
Not many know just when they will die. Sudden death comes upon many. David recognized this, as he said “there is but a step between me and death” (I Samuel 20:3). The Boy Scout motto is good advice — “be prepared!” Don’t take the first bite, it will make you sick.