Of knowledge, wisdom and our development


August 21, 2015 By Sulaiman Momodu (beyondborders.column@gmail.com)

In life it is not what you know that counts but what you do with what you know. The focus of my article today is our knowledge of things and how we apply what we know to either help us to develop as individuals, families and a nation, or how misusing our knowledge can make us unhappy, depressed and frustrated.

I would like to once again reiterate that this column goes beyond tribal, religious and regional borders. The objective is to motivate you to genuinely succeed in all aspects of your life and ultimately our country will become very peaceful and prosperous when we collectively go back to the fundamentals.

The crux of my previous article, “Why do we go to hospital?” was to encourage all that if we seek God first and make conscious efforts to do what He says, we will experience remarkable improvement in our lives. If we go to hospital and follow the medic’s instruction, why do we go to the house of God and do the opposite of what God says we should do? Sierra Leone is a highly religious country. Beautiful! This should be the starting point for change.

In taking a look at knowledge, wisdom and development, I would like to take a brief look at the definition of knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is facts, information, and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject. Wisdom on the other hand is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight.

While we must acknowledge mistakes in our lives as individuals, families, communities and a nation, we must be ready to embrace wisdom by changing our ways of doing things. The German physicist Albert Einstein once said that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is another definition of insanity.

In our recent history, Sierra Leone was plunged into a civil war which claimed thousands of lives and left whole towns and villages destroyed. The truth is that the war did not just break out suddenly. We ignored what God says we should do. There was rampant stealing all over the place, injustice, immorality of all kinds and the list is endless. We paid for it. A bloody war broke out and some of us spent our youth witnessing horror and reporting carnage. Those who were in authority at the time certainly knew that bad governance was wrong, but they chose to do what pleased them. Wisdom was ignored. When nemesis caught up with us, we all realized that we had to go to God. We started praying and fasting. Did we not ignore God’s laws in the first place?

Mercifully, the war is long over and we should be moving on and telling the world that we may have made mistakes, but we have corrected them and now we are moving on. The question is, are we doing just that?

To build good roads, hospitals, have 24 hours electricity and the like, we need revenue. Sadly, those entrusted with collecting revenue are demonstrating their love for their country by stealing staggering sums of money. Billions. Sometime back, some rogues at the National Revenue Authority were caught. They had completely turned the revenue authority into a robbery authority. Robbing the nation!

From the National Revenue Authority, go over to the Ministry of Health. Instead of our compatriots working on improving our health system, they make the situation even worse. Sometime back some senior health officials were in trouble for stealing donor funds. Shameful! And the Ebola fund? You know the answer.

The Attitudinal and Behavioural Change (ABC) Secretariat was established sometime back to change negative attitudes and behaviours. In principle, it was a very good idea because change must start in the mind, our attitudes. The issue was some of those who were given that responsibility needed to have first changed their own behaviours. Tell me, how can you tell someone to remove the speck in his or her eyes when you have an electric pole in yours?

At the individual level, someone may see another person driving a car or building a house, suddenly, he or she also wants to do it regardless of how the other person is doing it. Such desperate individuals start stealing from their workplace and when they are caught, they suddenly remember God, “Daddy God, help me”! We need to tell ourselves some home truths. Most times we are the cause of our own problems.  A man may be earning something little which he can manage with his family if used judiciously (I will talk about financial management in subsequent articles) but he will not do so. Instead, he will live beyond his income. Before he knows it, he becomes a thief in his workplace, a liar to his wife and an irresponsible parent to his children. A woman may be with a hardworking man but she is never satisfied with her husband’s efforts. She will still have her eyes out there for Mr. Readymade. Where is wisdom? Someone may be doing business but has dangerous spending habits. How can that business grow?

Some people think they are Mr. Loverman or Madam Loverwoman. Stop fooling yourselves. When you end up in jail, there will be no “darling, honey”, your porcupines, sorry your concubines will run away. Be wise. Learn to live within your income. If you are married, please stop cheating on your partner. If you are a student, focus on your studies. If you are a driver, observe traffic rules. Speed kills. If you are a smoker, manufacturers have warned you – smoking will kill you. Stop that habit now! You see, some people may have lost their job because of their characters (I will talk more our attitudes in future); there is still hope for you. Change your attitude now and doors will naturally open. Prayer and fasting should not be substitutes for taking the right actions or doing the right thing. The Bible says faith without action or works is dead.

Most of us may have grown up in environments where we saw the wrong things being done and think it is a way of life. We should have a vision to change things when we live by good examples. Make conscious efforts. By the way, please beware of fake men of God.  There are so-called men of God who read the Word of God but do the exact opposite. Shame on them! The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom…Proverbs 9:10. If you read and meditate on the Word of God and are a doer, it will very surely take effect in your life and you will definitely enjoy good health, peace and success in whatever you do.

For any comments or feedback, please email beyondborders.column@gmail.com. See you again next week as I take a look at habits.