I was at my aunt’s some time ago and it was one of those days that visitor full house well well. As it’s bound to, where two or more are gathered, the conversation in the house amid breakfast geared towards politics – I daresay, in light of happenings in my country for the past four years, a lot of political consciousness has been awoken in a lot of people. Now, everyone follows up the news and politics and this, is a good thing.
Anyway, someone mentioned my state government in the discussion. You know how it is, all hell broke loose and this article was born.
In the ensuing argument, a lot of people cursed the governor and lamented bitterly about how dilapidated the roads were and how pensioners were not being taken care of.
Someone mentioned that the governor need not worry, that his actions had brought curses upon his children and generations to come.
My aunt asked, why they would wish innocent children suffer for what they don’t know? The speaker argued that God promised to visit the sins of fathers on the children and if she checked the Bible, she’ll see instances. Aunt countered by saying that the Bible is like the maxim of law that stipulates that to every rule, there’s an exception and she cited a portion of the scripture which I don’t remember now but it said something about someone eating sour grapes and another’s teeth being set on edge. She also said that in subsequent scriptures, God promised that everyone would bear the consequences of his own actions.
The room was silent now, in rapt attention. She asked the people present – would you like your little babies to suffer for something you did way back when? They argued that the governor’s case was different. Then she asked, the Tu quoque question.
In freshman year when I did logic and philosophical thoughts, they taught us about logical fallacies, one of which was Tu quoque. This simply means you too…? how about you…? you Nkor? Logically, it’s a fallacy to reply a person’s assertion with asking them if they were better. However, in the real sense of things, it’s apt. Talk about people living in glass houses…
The lecturer gave an instance in igbo that when the issue of Tu quoque comes up, a person is being asked, gi onwe gi, I kaa mma? Are you better, yourself?
My aunt said something I’ll never forget – if you’re wishing someone’s sins to be visited on their children, remember yourself. If someone wets their pillow, goes to bed crying because of you, that is an offense against God, would you want your children to suffer for it? She told us a story of a guy who abandoned the girl he knocked up – he’s an oil worker in the city while she’s wallowing away with her child in the village, as she couldn’t continue her business in town, following the pregnancy.
So, the thing is, we’re always quick to judge the other person and heap curses on them when they sin, conveniently forgetting ourselves of course, and the Tu quoque question – are you better?
Some of us are mechanical Christians, what I like to call Chr-obots. We like to follow the rules of all the commandments stricto sensu but our hearts are dark as charcoal, forgetting that God could care less about our outward appearances.
My aunt cited something that happened in her church, it was tithing Sunday or something, a day where everybody pays their tithe. The pastor spoke to them and said, if you’re here with your tithe and you’ve not paid your workers their salary, take it back, and pay your staff before you pay your tithe.
You see, people always assume God to be mechanical because he gave us commandments. Yes, he said pay 10% at the drop of your earnings. You’d see people take a load of money to pay tithe, when they’re owing people debts, owing salaries for months. I wonder what exactly God should bless. You, putting tears on another’s face but trying to bribe God with tithes? If you cause someone to wet their pillow, you’ve offended God – I daresay he doesn’t care if you carry the rules of the church on your head, because he said specifically that the people around you are the God you see.
How do you slave to please someone you can’t see, but the people around you are suffering because of your actions. Heaven cannot be bought. Reminds me of way back in high school when teachers would be mean to students, but when the proprietress comes on inspection, begin to grovel at her feet. The people around you are the God you see.
Sometimes, we think our own actions are not grand and another’s sins are, so their generations should suffer for it, forgetting that the bribe you paid, the driver you insulted on the road for trying to overtake you, the woman you over priced her bananas but you go to the malls and can’t haggle with them. The wife you maltreat and beat at the drop of a hat, the child you abandoned. Several instances of times we’ve fallen short, but in our mighty wonderfull-ness, we think that another’s Sins are greater and they should suffer, but not us. Maybe, God has a scale which he uses to weigh sins and measure out consequences. Some people are of the argument that all sins are not equal, using it to qualify the judgement they pass on people. Wos! Kilo Kan mi?
I think when we realize that all sins are equal in eyes of God – sins just as they are, then we’ll start to do better. When we begin to do the right things and not only those stipulated by the commandments, when we start to treat the person beside us right, then we’ll start to do better. When we learn to forgive and leave vengeance to God, wish the next person well no matter how hard it is.
Till then, we’re just Chr-obots, going through the motions, walking around, feeling higher than the next person, forgetting God sees the heart and forgetting to ask ourselves the important question.