I once read the story of a man who had the habit of misplacing his watches. Times without number, he could not tell his time― he had misplaced his watch. To ‘heal’ this habit, a friend advised him, “Buy a very expensive watch!”
He wondered how that could help. All the same, he paid heed to his friend’s counsel and bought the most expensive watch he could lay his hands on. A year later, his friend asked him how many more watches he had bought after buying the expensive one. He replied, “None!”
“I protect it with all of my life because it is too expensive to be misplaced!”
Some things are too expensive to be misplaced or lost. Some commodities are too expensive to be traded. If we know the value of what we have, we treat them with utmost honor.
If you want to know how invaluable a thing means to someone, just observe how they regard it. No one buys a million dollar Bugatti and treats it like trash. The value we put on the people and things around us tells how far we will go to keep them.
When we have no value for something, we abuse it. If you want to understand value, look at how well users treat an iphone they bought with their hard-earned money. They would go every length to keep it safe. They would rather prefer a broken leg to a broken screen! Haha.
The irony of life is that we treat with little or no regard the most priceless things because we have no idea of their worth. We think air (oxygen) is cheap until we need to buy it from the hospital. Our lives seem to have no value until we beg to have more of it on our death beds.
Life is irreplaceable. Life, when literally broken, is irreparable. Life is so expensive that it can’t be bought. Regardless of all of one’s wealth, they can’t buy an extra life. Only if we understood that life was too expensive to have a price tag, we wouldn’t have treated it as cheaply as rag!
One thing that always beats my imagination is the lynching of people for whatever wrong they presumably committed. I am oftentimes awestruck for the reasons people get mobbed. My recent shock was when a gentleman was lynched over a measly GHC 1.50. Can you imagine!?
When we understand the value of life, we understand how to treat it, regardless of what wrong that life may have supposedly done. We have no idea that one of the commodities that can’t ever be bought is life. If we did, we won’t take it away at the least suspicion.
Our hypocrisy has blinded our minds to understand life’s value. Our false sense of morality has risen to the high heavens that we think others need to die in public for the same (or even greater) sins we commit in our closets!
We may blame lynching on mistrust in the judiciary system but, trust me, no judiciary system can ever be perfect as long as it is manned by men. No matter how effective our judiciary system may be, even criminals caught in the act would always have the chance to prove themselves innocent.
We can’t pronounce instant justice on others when we have all agreed that the judiciary should dispense justice. When others have not had a fair trial, we have no right to pronounce them guilty. Who are you to stone another to death according to your own instant, skewed yardstick of judgment?
Ironically, those who do the stoning have a whole world of sins to hide. Those who are at the forefront of lynching others have volumes of sins which, to them, are lesser than those of their victims. Who weighs [our] sins? We can’t weigh our own sins on our partial, unbalanced scales and present them as lighter than those of others!
Before you think of hurling a stone at an alleged thief, first think about the ills you last did with those same hands of yours. They may just be worse than the thief’s. Reminds me of the adulteress who was brought before Jesus by her accusers.
When we use the same scale to weigh others’ sins and ours, we get to know that we are not in any better position to stone them. When we ponder over the wrongs we do under the shade of darkness and compare them to what others have been caught in the act doing, we would come to the sad realization that we deserve to be lynched, too, if not instead.
Don’t lynch. Have value for life. Don’t take something you can’t give. Don’t brutalize others because you somewhat lost trust in the Police. Tomorrow, you may just be a victim, too, because another may have lost it for the judiciary. We all look like thieves until proven innocent. Let the law have its way. Don’t be the law!
Each of us must be innocent until proven guilty. A fair trial is what separates the innocent from the guilty. A fair trial takes place only in court… not on the streets in the presence of an irate mob whose only intention is to undervalue one of the most expensive commodities on Earth― life.
Justice is like success. There’s no instant version of it. When you mete out justice at the wrong time, you mete it out to the wrong people. When we value life, we value justice. If we can’t buy life, we can’t sell instant justice either. Instant justice only means gross disrespect for life.
The value of life is infinite. If anyone has it today, value it, even if they did wrong. Don’t waste it like some ‘second-hand’ watch because life has no price tag. You can’t get to buy it anywhere!
The writer is a playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications (www.scribecommltd.com), a writing company based in Accra. His upcoming play is TRIBELESS.