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Payback time

Every behaviour or attitude we engage in has its own consequences either good or bad. Many of our past has now come to the present…

Every behaviour or attitude we engage in has its own consequences either good or bad. Many of our past has now come to the present to hurt us. Must times they follow us like shadows because we cannot be separated from them, when we try to do so it does not work.

Our past experiences should have helped us to make progress for the future. But reverse is the case whereby must people who has treated others badly have no choice than to face the consequences of their actions. In every action there is always a consequence, it is during this period that the result of our work will be reviewed. Payback time is a period in which the consequences of our actions are exposed. Some people have tried to run away from their past experiences due to the fact that they are afraid of the result. Running away is not the solution, if there is opportunity  for us to make amends we should be ready to do so but if there is none we should be bold enough to bear the consequences ‘’whatever you sow,  you would reap”. It is a popular saying and most of these come true. Many people have suffered from the hurt that came from their past actions. Some consequences are mild while some may be severe; it depends on the gravity of the action. This is the more reason while we should consider our actions before carrying them out to avoid regret. Payback time can also refer to as repercussion. A time of reoccurring of our past actions. Every individual has a payback time. Whenever it comes we have no other choice than to face it. It is a crucial period we must not overlook.

However, there are some actions that require instant payback because of it awfulness in the sight of God. In the book of Genesis 4:1-6 we saw how Cain killed his brother Abel because of jealousy. Cain became so very sad because his sacrifice was rejected by God. That of his brother (Abel) was accepted. The action of Cain was very bad because he shed the blood of an innocent soul. The blood immediately cried for vengeance and God took it seriously and dealt with him. God place a mark on his forehead and he became a wonderer. The action of Cain was awful in the sight of God. He had no other choice than to face the consequences. His payback time was a period of suffering to the extent that he was unable to get help, the consequences of pride made him to kill his brother due to the fact that he did not want to accept his fault and change. Pride, hatred and jealousy made him to offend God. This made God very sad and he was punished. ‘Payback’ time for Cain was very painful because he suffered for the rest of his life.

Furthermore, government, education, family among others are also facing the consequences of payback time. In the area of government, we could see that it is very glaring whereby a particular administration fails to do the needful, like providing social amenities or when a particular project is been abandoned that was supposed to be of help to a particular community. When things like this are not put in place it may end up affecting the community. Government who fails to provide social amenities like light, water, good road among others would face repercussion in the sense that such community cannot progress. No investor would like to come to such community or town to invest. Most a time, the source of energy also determines, no industry will operate without the use of power (electricity). When a particular government in power refuse to provide the people with what they need, it would make such a community to be redundant (no growth). People who live in areas like this would experience stagnation due to the fact that they are the product of such community. Youth in such communities who have suffered a lot due to lack of social amenities cannot compete with their counterpart who live in areas were amenities are available. The payback time of such community would reflect in their area of backwardness and retardation. All because the past administration refused to do the needful instead of them to generate progress, their result would be backwardness all because ‘you cannot eat your cake and have it.’

‘Train a child in the way he should go, when he is old he/she would not depart from it’ (Proverb 22 vs 6). In the family setting, parents who refuse to train their children will always face the music. Their payback time will be dangerous due to the fact that they did not plan for their children’s future, instead of their children to take care of them at old age they are abandoned and rejected all because they did not do their homework well. Children who are supposed to become lawyers, medical doctors, pharmacist among others turn out to be kidnappers, thieves, bandit, and prostitutes among others. The Payback time of parents who left their duty undone ends in sufferings and pains.

Another typical example of payback time could be seen in Luke 16:17-21. The story of Lazarus and the rich man, the rich man was not related to Lazarus in anyway, but he knew him as a beggar who always comes to his gate to beg for food. The rich man did not pay attention to the cry of this beggar (Lazarus) due to the fact that he was not his class. No connection between the poor and the rich. The class differences create a big vacuum between them. The tears of the beggar fell into deaf ears. The poor man suffered and died all because of lack of medical care and food which the rich man failed to provide. The negative attitude of the rich man brought about a negative consequence that ruined his life. Since he was not a charitable person, when he was alive, when it was time for ‘payback’ he could not receive any because he had not shown mercy to anyone. He said “Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, son, remember that thou in thy lifetime received thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and thou art tormented”. (Luke 16:24-25) Looking at the above statement, we would see that the table had turned around that the rich man who was very rich had become poor and the poor man now rich. The rich man was paid back in his own coin. He suffered the repercussions of his actions and begged for mercy but found none. As Christians we should try to be good and merciful because what goes around comes around. Payback time is a period when our acts get result of our past action either good or bad. The rich man suffered for his action all because he was neither charitable nor kind. Kindness helps so many people to achieve what they would not ordinarily get. The hallmark of our beloved father (God) is that he is kind and full of compassion. “The lord is gracious, and full of compassion: slow to anger and of great mercy’’. (Psalm 145:8).

In the gospel of Luke 16:1-13, we saw how the clever steward who was afraid of the consequences of his action and quickly made amend. When his master discovered that he was unfaithful and decided to send him away, the servant looked inward and discovered that he was unfaithful to his master by cheating his customers he quickly made amend by meeting them one after the other he said to the first how many measures of oil do you own my master and he replied hundred and he said, sit down and quickly write fifty, to another how  many bags of wheat, he answered a hundred measure, he said sit down quickly and write eighty this was how the unfaithful steward went round to make amend because he did not want to suffer the consequences of his action. The customers thought he was doing them good not knowing that he is equally trying to mend his ways. The unfaithful steward was clever enough to think deeply into the future and he did not want to suffer, he said “what will I do?’’ if my lord takes away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed. I am resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. (Luke 16:3-4). The amendment he made proved him to be a better person in the sight of the customers. As Christians, it is very important when we discover that we are not doing well it is always advisable for us to try and turn a new leave so that we would not later burn out of pains and sufferings when it is payback time.

Sr Margret Ogbebor SSMA is a Catholic Nun, working in the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto. She is the Head Teacher of St Martin de Porres Nursery and Primary School Katsina. [email protected]

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