I was just a little girl at a bus station in the big city of Nairobi when I heard commotion. A large crowd was hollering and people scampered this way and that. Scared, I asked my older sister what was happening. All of a sudden, as quickly as the commotion had started, there was a hush and she pointed a small group of women in a circle. She explained that a pregnant woman had gone into labor right there in public and started to have her baby. Women came out of the woodwork instantly and surrounded her. There being no such thing as ambulance services except for the rich, this woman was at the crowd’s mercy. You’ve never seen voluptuous African women move so fast.
The women produced jackets, sweaters, and what seemed like a thousand colorful lesos. A leso is a multi-purpose sheet, about 4’ x 8’, commonly worn or carried by women, also known as a kanga. While some made a nest for her to lie down on and saw her through her labor, others held up their lesos, corner to corner, and created a circular barricade around her to guard this private moment. I’ll never forget that scene.
“He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends,” Pr. 17:9. Commentator Guzik says, “There is a time and a place for the exposure of sin (Ephesians 5:11), but often the sins of others should be tactfully and lovingly covered. The exposure of all belongs to God, not man (Luke 12:3). This lovely word picture transports me to that childhood memory.
We all have a leso and sooner or later, we will all come across a helpless, laboring woman. May we instantly jump at the opportunity to cover her naked vulnerability and beset her, indeed guard her, with privacy. Sure you risk getting your leso dirtied, if not bloodied. But they are a dime a dozen. Of course we don’t cover over illegal or unethical or sinful practices, especially if they are habitual. Eph. 5:11 tells us to “Have nothing to do with the fruitless works of darkness, but rather expose them.” This calls for much discernment, much wisdom, much discretion.
Whose offense is the Lord calling you to cover over?
Images retrieved 2/4/21 from 45 hilarious messages on Kenyan leso’s to brighten your day (classic105.com)