I should confess that I got this title from the irrepressible firebrand televangelist Pastor Tunde Bakare. Even though I am not a Christian and do harbour strong reservation about Paulistic Christianity I have the greatest respect and admiration for the person of Barrister Tunde Bakare and the genuineness of his Ministry. I hardly miss any of his sermons on television. So when last week he came up with the topic of Choices and Consequences, I got sucked in by the brilliance of his submission.
I will add Chances to complement Choices and Consequences. One may be largely responsible for the choices one makes in life and therefore responsible for the fallout of such choices, one cannot be held responsible for the chances that come one’s way. Although if we stretch chances further to include opportunities, the way and manner an individual grabs an opportunity may be a reflection of that individual’s reflexes and the amount of brain in his or her skull.
Chances do happen. Once in a while an opportunity that is once in a life time does knock on one’s door like a chance meeting with a beautiful lady who in a crowded hall chooses you for a guide and for no reason whatsoever insists that you must be her date. She is a daughter to multi-million dollar business mogul and you are a struggling job seeker who is not sure where his next meal is going to come from. That rare opportunity, that rare luck, that rare happenstance may turn out to be the deciding factor in your life. It is just a chance, by chance; you did not will it, you did not scheme it, and you did not choose it.
But the normal run of events in life does not go that way. Life’s journey is not built on chances. One’s successes and failures in life are not determined or decided by chances. And I may quickly point out here that not all opportunities derive from chance. The opportunity of education given to one by one’s parent is not a game of chance! It is an opportunity that derives from one’s parent’s meticulous planning and choice making. The parent that chooses to equip his child with the best education could have made a different choice: spend his money and fortune on wine and the other W. A widow in a very hostile environment may choose to abandon her responsibilities to her children and resign her life and the future of her children to uncertainties.
This now takes us to the critical stage of the second leg of the discourse: Choices. Almost all religions known to man speak of the Maker and Free Will. Human beings are believed to have received the canon of free will on creation day. That man is given the power to choose between good and evil. Man is imbued with senses to know what is right and what is wrong and to make a choice between the two at every stage of his or her life.
In fact the engine of our lives runs on the critical choice of action and inaction, truth and lie, loyalty and disloyalty, seriousness and frivolity, kindness and wickedness, generosity and miserliness, carefulness and carelessness, and the entire world of opposites. And in all of these, the choice you make decides and determines who and what you are in life; sooner or later.
There are many factors that may affect making the right choices or the wrong choices. And the chief of these factors is ignorance. Most human beings are simply ignorant and mentally indolent. They do not know and they do not know that they do not know, and because they do not know that they do not know, they are not in position to seek knowledge. And because they lack basic knowledge about almost everything, their capacity and capability to make informed judgment and right choices are grossly limited and invariably inappropriate.
But not all choices right or wrong are influenced by lack of knowledge. Some people are very much aware of the choices they make and even when they are convinced that they are making the wrong choice they still proceed with the choice nonetheless. Amongst this class of people are thieves, con men, armed robbers, kidnappers, murderers and assassins, and a host of heartless men and women whose preoccupation is to inflict maximum pain and suffering on fellow human beings.
Amongst the people who go ahead to make wrong choices in spite of their awareness of the wrongness and foolishness of their choices are those who despite all signals choose the worst in-laws. All philosophies of life warn against choosing wrong in-laws. The Yoruba would even prefer a bad wife or bad husband to a bad in-law.
A drunk or a bully or a chronic gambler or a chain smoker or a liar is not and should not be any woman’s choice as husband. And a woman who has insatiable appetite for material wealth and is ever willing and ready to sell her body for cash should not be the choice for a man seeking a settled and purposeful life. A woman who lies and rummages her boyfriend’s wallet or diary and is always pinching money cannot be a wife for a serious minded man.
Marrying beneath one’s social class is one terrible choice men and women make with dire consequences of mental torture and everlasting unhappiness brought about majorly by inferiority complex and inevitable insecurity on the part of the bearer of inferiority tag.
We may exhaust all the newsprint in Canada and Norway if we are to write on the political choices Nigerians make! Nigeria is one country where her citizens put the ‘wrongest’ of people in positions of authority and leadership. They are very much aware of the truck pusher they are sending to Parliament. They know the drug barons, the cultist murderer and the ritualistic money bags they chose as their law makers, chairmen of councils and even as governors. Yet they fall head over toes to make them their leading citizens.
To every action there is a reaction so says an old over-flogged adage. Every choice made in life, whether good or bad, whether right or wrong, whether wise or foolish carries maximum consequence. And we all go through life chewing the consequences of our choices. The irony though is that most people would prefer to pick scape- goats for the choices they make.
Nigerians continue to suffer the consequences of all the wrong choices they had made and continue to make. Unfortunately the wrong choices were borne out of myopic thinking, selfishness, clannishness and unexplainable hatred for the person next door!
Marriages are crashing every day. It is not because people do not read their Bibles or the Quran or the Holy Creed of Mareism, it is because the fad that now governs human behaviour has missed the train going to the Church, the Mosque, and the Assembly of Olodumare. Marriages are crashing as the resultant consequence of wrong choices.
Mankind must begin to be accountable, to accept responsibility for their choices, and allow their actions to be guided by their brains and not by fleeting and faltering emotions, and by long term advantages as opposed to short term short lived pleasures and gains.
And when the consequences come, we should accept them with stoicism and equanimity and not pass the buck!