Guilt: The downfall of kind men
Guilt and kindness are two opposing words, yet many a time they find themselves in one sentence.
The phrase '..to be human' is synonymous to kindness because we survive by dealing with each other as humans.
We deal with each other by bestowing kindness, and another way is by being unkind. The truth is if the latter was the case - only a handful of people will be alive today.
In most cases, the act of kindness starts from home, then to friends, workplaces, and even beyond.
I seek to delve into this topic and shed more light on why many kind men have seen their downfall because the human on the receiving end chooses to show unkindness.
I will also shed more light on how guilt led to this downfall.
To show the other side of kindness, I will tell a story; the story seeks to establish how society views kindness and how it can lead to downfall.
Some time ago, before the white men stepped foot on Africa and Nigeria's shores, in particular, a series of events occurred in a remote village located in present-day Delta State.
This event occurred before European civilization. The village, Oken, was involved in a war with a neighbouring village and each time Oken goes into war with the neighbouring village, Oken always turns out to be the loser.
The neighbouring village will invade Oken, rape their wives, molest the kids and take their non-disabled men as prisoners of war. The Carnage repeatedly occurred, years after years.
What brought Oken to its knees was the brutal killing of their beloved king, Oken decided to hold a meeting and seek an end to the misery before them.
The King of Oken was killed during the war with the neighbouring village.
After the meeting, it was concluded that they would seek the village diviner's help on what path to follow.
The village heads met again to hear what answers were given by the Oracle. The Oracle had a solution to their problem, but it requires a sacrifice - an uneasy sacrifice.
The Oracle indicated that the only way to win the next impending war was if a man sacrificed one of his sons to the gods.
Once this is done, the gods will possess this man, and he will lead them to war and kill many of their enemies, the man will also die, only then will Oken win the war.
The village heads went home disappointed with the answer.
None was in haste to sacrifice his son nor himself for that matter. The message was spread to all the villagers, and people were encouraged to help save their father-land.
It was only one man named Efedi that took it upon himself to do the needful. He sacrificed one of his sons and took Oken to war. Efedi fought viciously and killed many of their enemies.
The enemies were astonished that they took to their heels; the enemies thought the gods must have possessed this man to fight like he had no care for his life.
The people of Oken were energized by how Efedi fought; they believed the gods had kept their promise, and we're with them.
The people of Oken chased their enemies and hacked as many as they could to death. Efedi died in the war just as predicted by the gods.
What ensued later is pertinent to this write-up. The legacy Efedi left behind was not that of a hero who saved an entire village. Efedi was remembered as that foolish man who sacrificed his son and also sacrificed himself.
Some said he wanted to prove he was brave others said he was a coward who gave up his own blood for fame after death. Efedi's kindness was seen as cowardice and foolishness.
Efedi's Family was never treated with respect.
The guilt he felt for the incessant loss of lives made him show this act of kindness. It was this kindness he showed to save Oken that lead to his downfall.
Efedi's legacy also affected his family; Efedi's family was not seen as a hero's homestead but was viewed with discord.
Efedi's family was socially ostracized in Oken village, the villagers saw them as destitute and an ulcer that must be excised from the body.
The above shows you the inverse value of kindness and how society exudes selfishness as the new order of the day. In another true-life event, I will discuss what happened in my family recently.
My father has 4 brothers, their father (my grandfather) never saw the value of education, so he wasn't keen on training his children to attain primary education.
My father (first child) took it upon himself to train his four brothers in school.
The last of the four brothers, uncle Emma, became more successful than his other brothers. He owned different shops in Lagos and Onitsha and took the responsibility to sponsor my other siblings.
Ikenna, my senior brother, made it known that he wants nothing to do with education but prefers the world of business.
Uncle Emma took Ikenna and decided Ikenna will do apprentice under him before opening a shop for Ikenna.
My brother, Ikenna, relocated to uncle Emma's house to learn the business. He was fed and clothed in that same house that he started making out with Uncle Emma's wife.
When Ikenna was exposed, we learnt that he was also stealing uncle Emma's money.
Ikenna opened his own shop in the Onitsha market near uncle Emma's plaza, he later sold the shop out of scrupulous spending and returned to the village.
My father asked uncle Emma to forgive and forget after all 'blood is thicker than water'. Uncle Emma gave my father a whopping sum of 500k to help Ikenna.
After some months, Ikenna squandered the money again. To get more money, he arranged with his friends to kidnap our uncle Emma.
Uncle Emma died while in the custody of the kidnappers. During his confession in police custody, Ikenna revealed that his friend by nickname 'snake' shot uncle Emma.
According to Ikenna, snake shot Uncle Emma because he saw his (snake) face.
Some men have choosen to be unkind beacuse of the result bought with their kindness.
The above is a true-life story that happened before me. The two common factors in the stories are guilt and kindness.
The guilt comes from the fact that we, as humans believe we owe society and ought to give back to society or the family in my uncle's case.
My uncle had always respected my Dad because he made sacrifices to send them to school.
Uncle Emma promised to make sure we never lacked. He believes he owes my father and will always be there for him - he always was.
It was this state of guilt that made him show kindness to my family and took up Ikenna. The same guilt made him show kindness when my father visited him to Plead on Ikenna's behalf, even though Ikenna had slept with his wife.
Uncle Emma might have believed that if he seeks to punish my brother Ikenna for stealing his money, he will hurt his beloved brother.
It was guilt and act of kindness that lead to his downfall. Uncle Emma died without seeing his grandkids.
The purpose of this write-up is not to preach wickedness or preach against kindness but rather to show why some wealthy men have chosen to care less about the underprivileged.
Men that survived instances listed above always turn out to look the other way when they are supposed to help others. If uncle Emma had survived the ordeal, who knows what could be lost or changed in him?
In Nigerian politics today, we have seen instances where friends who were shown kindness by being uplifted to power have turned out to be bitter foes.
For families, they claim you must show them perpetual kindness, and you see many lose themselves in the process of trying to help family members.
While we must show kindness, we must know who and who are deserving of our kindness and what extent.
We must help others succeed, but we should avoid being led by guilt, we should also recognize that you can help no one once you have fallen.