The heart of man is wicked it is only the knowledge of God that softens the heart of man. The heart is a very significant part of the body; it is the power house of the whole systems. Both the mind and the heart are connected with each other and they are interwoven. The heart of man serves as the store where different things are stored either good or bad. The heart is very deep it is only God that can tell its depth. God has given man the capacity to make decision either to do good or evil. In Mathew 2: 16, we saw what “Herod did when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men”. You could see the wickedness in the heart of man in the way King Herod handled the issue when he discovered that somebody is going to be a king like himself, he felt threaten and his kingdom was shaken because he did not want a rival to his authority.
“Absolute power corrupt absolutely”. When he realised that he could not get any further information, he quickly wanted to eliminate the child so that he would not challenge his authority. Some of these children were the only child of their parents, some were the first born, some parents have even looked for children for several years, this time the lord have decided to answer them and this evil king ordered that they should be killed because of his selfish ambition. Despite the killings the life of Jesus was preserved for the purpose he was sent. Many a time we are very selfish and we would not want to let go, instead of allowing other person or giving them an opportunity to excel we would rather prefer to block the opportunity completely. Just like Herod when he was unable to get hold of Jesus, he decided to eliminate all the male children in order to block every way to preventing Jesus from becoming king.
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What a wicked world! Some of us are find it difficult to help others worst still, if we discover that another person is doing what we are doing (business) , we will be feeling envious, we would either destroy the business or block him/her totally not to materialise so that we can outshine the person. But we have forgotten that it takes nothing for a candle to light another one. We should always be our brothers’ keeper through the help we give them. There is always a greater joy when others are happy because of you. Stopping others from shining is not the best we should be ready to help others to grow.
Furthermore, as humans, we should always try to give a helping hand to our brethren where necessary. Envy and jealousy are two negative vices we should fight against if we want to be truly happy and perfect. In the book of Genesis chapters 37- 50, we saw how Joseph who was the beloved of his father was hated by his brothers. His gift of dream was enough to arouse their jealousy for him. The cause of his problem was when he said that he saw the sun, the moon and the eleven stars bowing for him; they felt humiliated and humbled to bow at the feet of their younger brother. We should often note that God’s ways are not our ways He is the one who has the power to write straight on crooked lines. No one has the power to alter God’s plans for us. The story of Joseph is a typical example for us. Each and every one of us is created for a purpose. When people are envious, they can go as far as killing so that such gift would not be achieved just like in the story of Joseph whose brothers wanted him dead, but as God would have it, his life was spared and he became the only surviving grace they had to live on. Envy is a vice that can lead to killing of someone you either hate or people you do not want their progress. Similarly, this vice (envy) has destroyed a lot of things. It is like a sword that is capable of tearing things apart. It can separate two friends making them enemy of each other. It can happen in families between husband and wife, whereby the woman is earning more than the man, if care is not taken, envy may separate them. Between brothers and sisters, it can cause separation making them enemies of each other. It is a powerful vice that you may not notice initially, it starts from jealousy and unhealthy rivalry and later graduate to “Envy”. Every little thing we are competing (dressing, academics, position, wealth, among others), we should try as much as possible to discipline ourselves and also guide our hearts against this deadly vice. It. deadly because it can lead to “killing”.
According to Tacitus (55 – 120 AD), a Roman historian, says “Nero convinced to shift the blame of Rome gutted by fire on the Christians after a rumour rose that he had started the fire which destroyed much of the city of Rome” (From the history of the church). After emperor Nero had set fire in the city of Rome due to his selfish ambition, and the people kept complaining and even wage war against him he had to lie against the innocent set of people that they are the ones that set the city ablaze this is the height of wickedness because he knew that the people hated Christians and this would aid more persecution of the Christians. The innocent ones have to suffer for what they know nothing about. Many people have been treated unjustly because of their religion, culture or race this is not meant to be so, what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Treat others as you want to be treated. The attitude of Nepotism, tribalism, and favouritism should be put aside because we are all human beings and should be treated as such. Emperor Nero added more salt to the wounds of the Christians. When we see that somebody is already in pain we should help to lessen such pain if not, we should not increase it.
Similarly, In the Acts of the Apostles, we would see how wicked the heart of King Herod was, when he unjustly condemned Christians. “About this time king Herod began to persecute some members of the church. He had James, the brother of John, put to death by the sword. When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he went on to arrest Peter. This happened during the festival of the unleavened bread”, (Act 12: 1 -3). Herod the king was able to kill James the brother of Peter and when he discovered the Jews were very happy at his evil deeds, he was willing to do more by arresting Peter so that he would also kill him in the presence of the entire Jews. Many a time when people are doing the wrong thing they are praised instead of been corrected. If evil is not corrected on time it may destroy many things. Some people may be doing negative things but they are not aware of the implication, if correction is made on time, it may help to correct the vices.
Often time evil ideas and deeds are conceived from the heart before they are carried out. As a child, we were born with a heart that was plain and free just like a garden, it now depend on the owner to decide the kind of plant that would grow there either good or bad. It is always better to nurture good and produce kindness.
By Sr Margret Ogbebor SSMA, 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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