Because They Can

It’s not every message that I enjoy writing.

Far from it.

In-fact some of my articles make me cringe with so much embarrassment and shame that I almost delete them; due to the fact that I recognise a desperate need to put the message into genuine practice.

Still, I’m only human; for now at least.

I’m sure many of us are aware of the gruesome incident that took place in Port Harcourt a few days ago.

A friend of mine sent me a recording of what occurred.

However, due to the fact that I can’t stand violence (unless it includes Darth Vader, Jedi Knights, and light sabers, or at least one super hero), I declined to watch it.

Pleeeeeeaaaaaase Mr. Lucas – just one more episode of Star Wars!!!

I don’t care how ridiculous the story may seem. Just bring them back.

One more time –pleeeeeaaaase???????????

We’ll love you forever!!

Bring them back now!

Don’t you just hate it when I go off track??!!

Sorry

Four young men were brutally put to death by what can only be described as a rather evil mob.

I won’t delve into the ugly details of the killings. I’m sure most of you have heard the several and varied explanations of how events unfolded.

Unfortunately we humans are capable of committing the most dastardly acts.

No matter what the four youths may or may not have done, nobody deserves to be brutally murdered like that.

But the true culprits of this sorry saga are you and me.

This is not the first time that this kind of incident has occurred in Nigeria.

It has happened time and time again.

Why are we to blame?

Because in a few days we’ll have forgotten all about it.

In a few days we’ll put those vivid pictures into a nameless and inconsequential box, place them in one of the many basement apartments of our subconscious, and continue life as though it never even happened.

Just as we have done with the Dana Air crash.

Just as we did with the January strike.

Just as we are beginning to do with the current fuel scarcity – despite the fact that it’s actually on-going!!!

We really are an amazing people, you and I!

Does anyone know the actual reason for the current fuel scarcity???

I’ve heard so many different stories that I’ve decided to tell myself that it’s just a figment of my imagination.

Whenever I see long queues, or a petrol station not selling petrol I tell myself that it’s just the devil’s lies – trying to upset me.

“Nope! It’s not real. There’s loads of petrol – gushing from all corners!”

The despicable incident that occurred in Port Harcourt speaks not of the mob that committed the evil act but of the brutally grim reality that they felt justified to do so in the first place.

The mere fact that a group of people believe that they can end the lives of four young men, without fear of any kind of consequence, is not so much a testament of the characters of those people, but a rather damning indictment of the environment in which they live; and an even more damning indictment of our society.
Such gruesome events will not cease to plague our land until we decide that enough is enough; until we the people decide that we no longer want to live in a country in which anything goes.

If we continue to choose to hold no-one accountable then we will continue to witness incidents that are more in tune with the stone ages than the 21st century.

If we continue to pretend that everything is ok then we shouldn’t be surprised or complain when we are rudely and periodically reminded by such dire incidents that everything is very far from ok.

What is gravely missing is ‘CARE’.

Whilst we commiserate with others in their moments of sadness and despair, we are seldom willing to join hands in order to properly clean up the mess that we have ALL created.

We only care about our immediate environment; our own needs.

The reason Nigeria so often resembles a lawless terrain is because we allow it to be.

Why are airlines able to put profit before the safety of their passengers??

Because they can.

Why are Nigeria’s mobile telephone networks able to charge exorbitant tariffs for providing us with what are at best erratic services??

Because they can.

Why is the average policeman or Lastma official able to bully innocent civilians into paying bribes??

Because they can.

Ours has become a country in which one can do whatever one wants to do – simply because he / she can.

No rules

No questions asked

No accountability whatsoever.

We pray ceaselessly in churches, mosques, and various other religious gatherings across the country for God (or whoever it is that you worship) to change the hearts of our leaders.

Our biggest prayer should be for the transformation of OUR hearts – from selfishness to selflessness.

The only people that can truly change Nigeria are you and I – with our hearts – with love, and a steely determination to transform our country from one of lawlessness to one of accountability.

The government can only be as good as we request it to be (I should say ‘demand’ but we’re nowhere near embracing the recognition of our fundamental right to ‘demand’, so let’s start with ‘request’).

The government can try as best it can.

But the government, no matter how good it is, and no matter how much it tries, cannot magically create an electorate with a mind-set of accountability.

The government cannot stir our hearts to actively generate love, care and service.

The government cannot force us to stand up for what is right.

And why should it need to?

We are all adults. Many of us have travelled overseas. Those that haven’t have televisions, and can therefore see for themselves how things should or shouldn’t be.

We see.

We read.

We hear.

We know exactly how things should be.

But we refuse to face the reality that we are just as much to blame, if not more so, for our nation’s failings.

We continue to decline the role that each and everyone of us must play in order for our dear nation to make significant progress.

In July / August of this year, the city of London held what was most likely the greatest ever Olympic Games. Yep, that’s right –  I’m unashamedly pro all things British! lol

Both the opening and closing ceremonies gave us a magnificent demonstration of human invention and industry, coupled with the authenticity and authority that is British pop music – in all its splendid glory.

Michael Phelps gave us his final rendition of ‘If God could swim’.

What an athlete!!!

Alison Felix and Shelly-Anne Fraser-Pryce showed the world that as well as possessing the most adorable smiles our planet has ever seen,they are also both sporting goddesses(honestly – every time they smiled my heart would leap – just remembering those gorgeous smiles is causing me to smile right now!).

Usain Bolt declared to the world once more that he’s ….well…that he’s Usain Bolt!

But the greatest wonder of all was the over 1500 volunteers.

These precious gems of the British public sacrificed their time and money for the greater good; to deliver an Olympic Games that will forever be remembered as one of the greatest, if not the greatest ever.

The real success story of London 2012 is the volunteers.

They came

They volunteered

They served

And they made a nation proud

Why?

Because they cared.

I had an interesting conversation with a very dear friend a few days ago, regarding the importance of selflessness in Christianity.

Nope – correction – regarding ‘selflessness’ being the most important aspect of Christianity.

Don’t pull the trigger just yet. Hear me out.

The term Christianity derives from the name ‘Christ’ – who committed the most selfless act of all, dying so that you and I can have everlasting life.

He also told us to go and do likewise.

We however seem to have turned Christianity into a formula for prosperity and success.

The other day my older brother told me something that I’m still trying to get a firm grasp of.

He said “focus on the ‘promisor’ and not the ‘promises’”.

In other words our focus should always be on loving and serving God, as against how we can please Him in order to be blessed by him.

Our greatest desire should be to love and serve God with all our hearts, all our minds and all our strength.

But what does this mean?

Does it mean to obey his commandments?

Or does it mean to focus on having a heart after God’s own heart?

It is possible to obey all of God’s commandments and not love Him at all.

The Pharisees aptly demonstrated mankind’s profound ability to obey God’s commandments, and yet feel nothing but scorn and contempt for one’s neighbour.

The continuous walk of victory that we all seek can only be attained through grace – through genuine love, and service to God and each other – via a life of selflessness.

Without love we don’t stand a chance.

Without a genuine love and care for each other and for our country, our nation doesn’t stand a chance.

This weekend, when our pastors and imams quite rightly ask us to pray for our leaders, let’s please ensure we spend just as much time, if not more, praying for God to change ALL our hearts from – from ‘self’ to ‘selfless’.

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