An African's Queen

Observations of an African Man's Western Woman

Let Your Own Conscience Decide

When you find out someone has been talking negatively about you behind your back, how do you react? Are you angry? Disappointed? Do you lash out in exactly the same way by saying equally bad things, or worse give them a fiver between the eyes?

Sanni has shown me how he – and perhaps this is specific to his character rather than that of his African culture – does not forget the wrong doing but does allow the persons own conscience to decide.

When Sanni and I first began dating someone asked something from him, which he could not provide. This person then took it as an insult and decided to tell anyone in earshot that Sanni was a bad person, that he thought himself too good now he had a white girlfriend, and that he’d forgotten his people. Naturally, in time, this got back to Sanni but rather than confront the person, he let it go.

Treat all people with the dignity you want to receive.

Some time later, after the matter had time to lie dormant, Sanni and I were at an African bar. Sanni saw this person outside among others as he bought his friend a drink, giving the friend a simple but considerable sign of respect. Upon departure Sanni saw that the man watch him buy his friend a second drink. He then walked my friends & I outside to leave but before we left Sanni decided to return and buy the man two drinks.

Sanni’s actions were not a case of one-up-man-ship but of respect for this person. He may have been talking about Sanni poorly but it was not for Sanni to decide what punishment this person should be dealt. It was for the man to consider if he was right or wrong in his original judgement. The man saw Sanni was still dating me and yet Sanni still paid respect to him. If this man’s opinion had of been justified Sanni would not have done anything but because on this occasion he was able to provide him something, and did so without being asked, it proved that the man’s own conscience had to tell the truth.

We are quick to lower ourselves to the same level of anger and hatred of the person who mistreats us but to maintain an even level of dignity and respect irrespective of the treatment we receive is far harder and much more rewarding.

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8 thoughts on “Let Your Own Conscience Decide

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Let Your Own Conscience Decide « An African's Queen -- Topsy.com

  2. The Talented Mr. Ween on said:

    I agree.
    As a Christian, this is something that often poses a challenge. I think Sanni’s method of allowing it to settle a bit before addressing it was wise, because any gesture at the time of the insult would have made him look high and mighty, and no one would have any respect for it. But to do so after a good amount of time passed is helpful, because it shows that even though he doesn’t forget, he doesn’t hold a grudge.

    I don’t think this would apply in all circumstances, but in this situation, for sure, it would help.

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    • Mr. Ween, you’re absolutely right. Thanks for your comment! It’s great to see you back!
      What I also think is commendable is that Sanni didn’t raise the bad mouthing this guy was doing. He treated him as though it never happened and let the man decide his own way. We do not get to control what others think of us but we can do a lot to control our behaviour to ensure we know we’ve acted in the highest manner. I think that in any situation we must first respect that we can not only control an action but also the reaction, any time there is negative enforced upon us we can (as difficult as it might be) control the reaction.

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  3. If we could all live this way, forgiving and providing gentle truths that leave the others dignity intact, we might have a chance at a peaceful world.This is even better than turning the other cheek.

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  4. it is indeed difficult to do what Sanni did. My temper wouldn’t have allowed me that. I would probably talked ill of the other, but if we all did act the way that Sanni did I think the world will be less harsher.
    It always take a bit more effort to take the high road, to choose to not play the same game. I shall keep this story in mind when i find myself in a similar situation.

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