It is that amazing time of the year when people begin to wrap up the years activities, dot their i’s and cross their t’s. Others begin to evaluate their progress and appraise themselves as well as other people (most times unconsciously).
The question becomes: what do we accept as something that is of value or worth to us? What do we consider worthwhile or hold in high esteem? What do we see as a trophy?
What we value will become what we applaud!
I’ve had this train of thoughts on my mind for a while now and I was a bit startled when I found this in God’s word:
Psa 12: 8 … what is vile is honoured by the human race (NIV).
Many people measure success by different parameters which affect their perspective of themselves and life generally. I had a conversation some time ago and a friend asked me what do you value in life? It got me thinking and I realized that if I didn’t build my value system from Gods word, then I will slowly melt into the value system of the world.
For example, when it comes to money and possessions:
I have heard people say “Just make the money, it doesn’t matter how; the end will justify the means. You just need to hammer”.
People tend to respect and admire the man who has plenty money with little or no regard to how he gets it. They value the material more than the moral.
Look at that scripture again:
…Evil is praised throughout the land (NLTV)
…The wicked walk or prowl about on every side as vileness is exalted (and baseness is rated high) among the sons of men (AMP)
The reason why evil abounds is because we value it; we exalt it and hold it in high esteem. It thrives because we approve it and unconsciously endorse it. It has become like a norm and anyone who tries to live otherwise is considered weird and abnormal.
We need to change our value system.
What do we value individually and as a Nation?
Who do we consider worth following; men of base values or men of integrity?
A man who beats his wife is considered ‘manly’
A man who sleeps around without being caught is considered strong and smart.
A woman who rebels against her husband is considered smart, educated and modern.
You cheat in an exam and make an A; you are considered lucky and sharp.
When you listen to the media or even hear people talk from day to day, you can decipher what they hold in high esteem. When you see their reaction to things and the opinions they hold of certain matters, you can figure out their value system.
In our society today, nobody commends the humble housewife who struggles to keep body and soul together while bringing up her children and shielding them from the influence of their drunkard father, what we do instead is encourage her to man up and retaliate, to refuse to be a fool, to go out and become wild too, to quit. Since we praise those who quitted because they ‘couldn’t take it anymore’, we have told our children to always quit when they ‘can’t take it anymore’.
Nobody praises her courage in the face of challenges and efforts to keep her marriage but when a celebrity marriage crashes; it makes it to the news and people will always excuse them because it’s a free world. And we cannot comman be carrying last in this modern age.
Our children are watching! Let’s not forget that.
The medical students paying their way through school will nurse your sick grandma tomorrow.
The Engineers who refused to learn their calculations and always sorted their way through school will be the same people to construct the bridge leading to your village tomorrow and you will likely be traveling with your entire family.
The child you are paying extra WAEC fee for him to get ‘help’ and ‘special centre’ today will grow up believing that he can’t pass an exam on his own and that hard work is useless since he can still get the same certificate without any stress. This is exactly what he will teach his children and that’s how it will keep being passed down. Even if this was done for you, you must not continue to let evil grow, you can stop it in your time and instead teach them to be hardworking, diligent, focused and dependant on God. Teach them that it pays to trust Jesus and live for Him.
In Nigeria, we need to tell ourselves the truth.
We don’t value the things that are excellent.
What is excellent?
A good name is excellent, it is better than silver and gold (Proverbs 22:1). But how many people value a good name now when placed alongside with getting the money? Who will trade silver and gold for a good name?
Patience is excellent, very excellent.
Hard work, diligence, integrity, honesty, chastity, love, justice and truth; these things are excellent and of great worth in Gods sight. Believe me, they are the pillars on which to build that great nation we have been dreaming of.
Let’s learn to approve these things for they are excellent, though you may be laughed at or considered old fashioned, you are not; you are Christ-fashioned!
Finally, it’s not enough to refuse to do wrong; we must also not applaud those doing it. We must not envy them (Psalm 37:1) or use them as a yardstick to define success.
We must not want to be like them or use them as a reference point. We must not praise them or even recognize them, that way we will be teaching our children what really matters in life.
The successful ones are those who do right and live right, those who approve the things that are excellent. They are our heroes. Even if they don’t make it to the news, don’t get any plaques or awards, we see them and we applaud them.
The virtues of integrity, honesty, hard work, trust are still relevant today; it’s not Nigerian to do the wrong thing.
I went for an exam some time ago and as we were waiting to be called in, we were told to sit somewhere under a canopy some distance from the entrance to the building where we will be accredited for the interview. But some people refused, they preferred to stand at the door, all efforts made by the coordinator to get them out of there to go and sit down failed. Someone came to call the guy who was sitting near me to follow him so that they will join those standing at the door; (it seemed they were making their way into the hall). He was like:
“Guy, this is Naija, if you keep sitting here like this you may never make it into that place. Be a Nigerian and come let’s go and slog it out there.”
But he replied him simply
“Those people are not Nigerians, I am the Nigerian here, all of us that are seated here are the Nigerians. Let’s stop making being a Nigerian synonymous to having a bad attitude.”
I turned sharply and looked to see who was talking; I really wanted to give him a big hug. I was so glad that we still had the ‘real’ Nigerians around. I just smiled confidently.
That guy stayed back because of the influence of his friend; this is what I am talking about. That other guy made it seem like doing the right thing will get you nowhere but his friend was someone that approved the excellent thing and refused to applaud the opposite even when it seemed to be fruitful at the moment. As trivial as this may seem, it made a lot of sense to me.
I believe in God, I believe in His grace, I believe in love, honesty, truth, justice, patience and many other virtues time will fail me to mention, and most importantly I believe in Nigeria, I believe we can be better and do better.