Few years ago, I wrote an article I called Village People. In it I encouraged you (my readers) to quit focusing on your perceived enemies and focus on moving forward with life because challenges or resistance will always exist but we move despite the resistance. Like I said in the post, once you ascribe blame to someone or something, you lose your ability to do what you can to solve that problem. Please feel free to read the article again to get the gist.
Today I’ll be sharing something similar but different in some sense. As is often the case, it was inspired by a personal experience. Recently I was house-hunting and I happened to meet a man who was moving out from an apartment I was intending to rent. Let’s call this man Mr. A. Usually you don’t get to know an apartment is vacant until the old tenant has moved out completely but I was fortunate to know the house agent who helped Mr. A get a new accommodation. So on this fateful evening, my agent and I went to the house and we found him still moving his things. The agent told Mr. A I was interested in renting the apartment. “Nwanne, okwa ibu onye Igbo?” (bro, you are Igbo right?), Mr. A quizzed. I answered in the affirmative. “Let me advise you as a brother, don’t take this house.” He said. I asked why. “Since I started living here I haven’t seen much progress in my life.” Mr. A answered. He went on to explain how he believes unseen forces engineered by the property owner have been against him since he started living in the apartment.
I later thought to myself, no water issue, no light problem, no crazy neighbour, no defect in the building’s structure, it’s not about to collapse. Thank God! The agent asked me to call the lawyer if I’m interested in the building and I did. To my surprise, he wasn’t aware his tenant was vacating the apartment, he also said the tenant was owing rent. My agent too was being owed his agency fee for the apartment he found for Mr. A. Note that Mr. A was moving to an apartment within the same street, with a higher rent and he paid in full but He is owing his present landlord and packing out ‘nicodemously’1. He is also owing his agent. Yet he has looked at his life in the past couple of years and his conclusion is that he’s not doing well because of the accommodation he’s living in. He believes there’s a conspiracy by the property owner to make his life stagnate. So in a block of 6 flats, the gods have singled him out for punishment. I like this quote by Napoleon Bonaparte , “don’t ascribe to conspiracy what can be explained by inefficiency”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not spiritually blind. Do such things happen? They do but before you blame anything or anyone ensure you have met your own side of the deal more than satisfactorily.
I’ve seen people who display gross tardiness in the workplace but they complain there’s a conspiracy by their boss or the powers that be to stop their progress or they complain they get passed up during promotion. Please what do you expect? You went for an interview, you didn’t get the job and it doesn’t cross your mind that you probably didn’t do so well in the test or interview. Instead, you start making up conspiracy theories about how that company employs only people from a particular tribe. Prejudice exists quite alright but before you ascribe any blame to it make sure you are good at what you do. And believe me, if you are that good, your skin colour won’t matter, your tribe or accent won’t matter, and if it matters to anyone, it’s their loss not yours. The common response we gave in school when we made a poor grade was “They gave me a D”. But if it was an A or B, we will proudly say “I made an A in that course”. We make the good grades but the institution, lecturers and principalities conspire to give us low grades.
There’s an Igbo name called Jideofor. Simply put it means guiltless and without blemish. It means to behave in such a way that if your adversary were to take you before a judge, there will be nothing to hold against you. It means to be upright. A good example is Daniel in the holy scriptures,
Then the high officials and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. Then these men said, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.”2
Daniel was an ordinary man, if he could live like that, you too can. Pay your debt, if you can’t pay it now due to life’s issues, meet your creditor, work out a payment plan and ask for more time. Pay your domestic staff. I don’t understand why people will owe their cleaner, laundryman or driver. Don’t pull others down. If you have something others can benefit from share it. Don’t be selfish. If fellow tenants in your compound are contributing funds to fix something or pay security guards, don’t make excuses, don’t shy away, pay. Don’t collect something on credit from the petty trader on your street and then forget to pay. That’s an unrighteous act. You can’t be a wicked soul and then complain that life is not treating you well. Solomon said “Curses cannot hurt you unless you deserve them. They are like birds that fly by and never alight.”3
I hope you understand me. I’m not accusing you my dear friend; I’m only encouraging you to fear God and live well even in seemingly simple matters. Then after you’ve done so you can truly leave the rest to God.
1 – A made up word from the name Nicodemus in the Bible that means moving in the dark
2 – Daniel 6:4-5
3 – Proverbs 26:1