The Unspoken Rule

by Joan C. Akubue

There are certain laws and principles by which our universe exists. These laws cannot be defied. They guide the rotation of the earth about its axis. They guide the revolution of the earth around the sun and the evolution of mankind through civilisations.

I do not refer aptly to the physical laws alone. Laws like gravity for instance; so elementary and obtrusive that we all know and condone it. Needless to say, only a few will dare to defy it. Gravity personified is a man of few words; ‘whatsoever ascends, descends… (Whether or not we want it that way!). And reading in-between the lines, I see the threat ‘…he that is down needs fear no fall…”

But there are less obvious laws. Indeed, there are laws for which daily we are rewarded and punished, whether or not we are aware of their existence. One of these is the ‘sowing and reaping’ principle. And the more I think about this, the more convinced I am that human nature is intrinsically selfish.

Mutualism is engraved in every fibre of life. No organism can exist without it. We are connected one to another and to receive without giving in return, is to rob oneself of credibility and goodwill. If you doubt this, ask the politicians who take votes and fail to give back service. Ask the man who eats alone and who when in need, will find no one to aid his soul. On the contrary, resources whether physical, spiritual or intellectual, yield great dividends when invested in the common good for all. It may not always seem so.

But no man is ever made poorer by the act of giving.

In truth, all that we do for others is secretly for our own good! We give because we remain loyal to our tutelage. Else, we think of the reward that comes to all cheerful givers; salivate over returns on your paltry investment. If the recipient of our goodwill lacks sufficient potentials to be useful to us in return, we are soon weary of having them feeding off us all the time. If they are budding successes, however, we console ourselves with the thought that soon, the burden will be lifted from our shoulders.

Charity and philanthropy are no exception. Many people indulge in these tender acts for the sake of public recognition (very useful in times of political ambitions).

And even the most genuine givers would soon tire of giving, if they did not derive from it some sort of spiritual and emotional satisfaction; a sense of well being and fulfilment that is worth their financial commitment.

In essence, I find the concept of unconditional love indecipherable. Human nature does not love the unlovable and the un-useful. Divine nature is more lenient with us, but still sentences all sinners to hell after a while! Love may be long-suffering, but the length of forbearance expected is undefined. How many of us can still love friends and relatives who are a complete embarrassment to us?

How many can love promiscuous spouses, dishonest employees, armed robbers and murderers? A part of us may yearn to reconcile quickly so as to appease the conscience, but a portion of our hearts still crouch in fear. And love has no fellowship with fear.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not asking anyone to keep patting vandals on the back!

I merely wish to state that no person on the face of the earth could do a good deed without absolutely any thought (consciously or subconsciously) of what they can gain in return. But the smaller that degree or expectation is; the better people we are.

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