The Gavel and The Cross (The Business of Brethren)


There was a post circulated, of a mother in conversation with her kids, whose resolution was to stop getting angry. “Teach me not just to control the anger but not to get angry at all”

Some friends and I had the following discussion.


PD: Good morning everyone.

This piece about anger… My thoughts are not to try to not get angry but to learn to treat it as the emotion that it is and not let it affect our dealings with people.

Trying to not get angry, I think is an effort in futility. “Be angry, but sin not”. I’m going and staying with that.

Zee: In this Naija sef, person wey no de vex at all, at all, hmnnn, dem fit just pack you inside ghana must go dey stroll go.

Aba: Lol

Zee: After all the person na jolly good fellow. Your neighbour fit just park their car for

your entrance gate. You go horn tire. They go open window look you, enter bathroom bath, pour

juice drink before opening the gate with the juice in their cup before removing the car.

PL: Hahaha

Like the writer said, it is the outcome of the anger that is the issue.

Aba: I try not to express my anger by suppressing it and trying to be nice with my customers when it comes to payment default but I’ve discovered that, it will even make them owe longer. So lately no more suppressing ooooo, I dey hala.

PL: Haaaaaaa … Aba.

Aba: And now they pay as at when due

PL: Hala not and thou shall know peace

Aba: Na the violent taketh it by force mode I dey use for them oooo

PL: Lol

Like the scenario by Zee,you can either get angry and shout and engage in a fight with the person and throw away his juice or you can tell the person that he was not right calmly and then drive in.

Aba: The Nigerian factor in business is not good for business. Lies have become part of our business ethic. Not to lie is not cool for business.

PL: When people make you angry and you react appropriately, they control you or the anger controls you.

Aba: Calmly?

PL: You can choose to, yes. Cos you know the person has an intention to annoy you and you will let the person win by reacting angrily.

Aba: PL that doesn’t work in Nigeria oooo. They will take advantage of you wella.

I get a little jungle with them outwardly but inside am bursting with laughter.

PL: Well,I don’t think so sha o cos keeping your cool does not mean that you are ignorant of what to do.

Aba: Na shakara I dey shakara dem.

PL: My thinking is this, if I react the way the person wants me to, I have put myself under the person’s control so I look for a better way to express my anger.

If for example, I walk into a place and i am mistreated by a staff, I will express my anger by reporting the officer instead of standing in the hall way and shouting like a mad woman.

ABA: PL if you are calm in Nigeria, people will use you, step on you and ride on you.

PL: That is if you do not know your right and how to use it. There are people that remain calm and still get what they want right?

Aba: I like that but what if it’s the MD that offended you? You report to the employee? Lol 􀊙

PL: If it was the MD,I walk out . Simple. They have lost a customer … No be by force

Aba: I see

PL: See, if you start shouting upandan, Na you go look like mad person o, not even the person wey dey annoy you

Aba: Calmness is not applicable in sales/marketing sha. If you are calm dem go chop your money ooo. I know how much I have lost being calm and I know how much am making being angry without sinning oooo.

PL: See,when a person owes a bank and defaults, does the bank manager come to the person ‘s house to start shouting? No …But they know what to do. This is professionalism

Aba: That na bank ooo

PL: I maybe wrong, but I think there is what can be done.

Aba: Zee abi na sales u dey? Abeg come explain to PL.

Zee: Lolz  …This issue na text book and real life situation. Wisdom has to be applied.

PL: If you find yourself in a situation when your bad expression of anger does not do anything, what will you do?

Zee: I lost lots of money in Ibadan to debts.

PL: Lol

Aba: Na Bible parol good pass ooo, Be angry and sin not.

PL: Yes,let them know but don’t act like a mad person doing that

Zee: Because of the nature of people, but not that one should shout or quarrel, but you must let people know that some things are not acceptable.

PL: So in your sales or marketing work, you don’t have what you do to defaulters?

Zee: Hmmmgavel-and-the-cross.jpgm

Aba: One lady actually said she paid money into my account of which I know she did not. No alert, I even when to bank to confirm and took her along and she’s insisting. And saying she lost teller. What would you do? Tell her calmly?

PL: If you are lending money, there should be a strategy on how to get it back if the person defaults, abi?

Aba: Nigerian businessman is something else.

Zee: PL, in business one needs to be tough, unless you are dealing with Abas, that was my take home after my experience in Ibadan.

PL: Tough and angry are two different things, right?

Zee: You see someone intentionally pushing you to the wall, owe you money and tell you, you are 7th in line of the people she is owing.

PL: So you go come pull up your trousers begin fight the person?

Zee: With no intention of paying? What do you do? Get a lawyer, call police?

PL: Involve other avenues now.

Zee: How much is the money? SME o.

PL: Will your fighting the person make the person pay?

Ok,so what did you do

Aba, so what did you do to the lady?

Zee: Fighting is not the only way to be angry. Me, I left the money.

PL: So you walked away. Were you angry? Yes

Did you shout and fight and scattered everything? No

Zee: She has no intention of paying but I let her know how I felt, but if na that sustain me and my family and I have twenty people like that hMeem …Business

PD: I think terms of contract should be clearly presented and signed by both parties before starting. Included in the contract would be clearly stated consequences of default and actions to be taken.

If the money was worth involving the police, do.

Zee: Hmmm, Police matter

Nne let wisdom of God guide us, we should not fight and quarrel. If you need to raise your voice a bit, then you must, but don’t lose control.

PL: When I was selling Mary K products, one very close friend bought goods worth a significant amount  and owed me for years. I kept telling her to pay, even in bits but she said she wanted to pay all at once, Na so time begin waka. She left the state after some years came back to give me wedding card. I reminded her of the money and she said that she will pay and left for her wedding. I just told myself that the money is her wedding present. I paid the money from my pocket.

Today, she is ashamed to talk to me

Zee: Na so my sister but the money is still with her. Though it’s not like it will even solve 1/20 of her problems.

PL: I dash her as her wedding present cos she reason she came to give me card was to ask for financial assistance.

PL: You don’t have to lose control over people cos you go tire o and burn out cos they are always there to frustrate you. Na you go tire.

Zee: By the time someone tells you, you are the least of her problems, then the person get many, reason why I left the woman too. I am still here God helping me.

Zee: Yes my sister. I just learnt from those experiences.

Aba, with your kind of business draw up agrrements and measures. I understand the challenges, how many police station you wan go? Come today come toMeeorrow

Zee: Nigerian police. I pray everyday that nothing ever takes me there. When they helped me get my money back, I got less than 80% of that money …after like 8 months.

Mee: Well the reality is business is tough in Nigeria

PL: Na wah.

Mee: That is why Nigeria ranks low in “ease of doing of doing business”. Google and see. We have little or no respect for customer service and also there’s no respect for contract. Our judiciary system is for politicians and big business like Oil moguls not for enforcing contracts for small businneses.

PL: Unfortunate.

Mee: Business is business folks lets be focused here. Mike Murdock once said, “With all I see here in Naigeria I respect Christians. If a christians owes another christian in most foreign countries he knows he must pay. Debt is almost a crime if you show low sense of responsibility in paying up.

Where are our civil courts? No need to do business na if all your debtors go free! That one na charity. I recommend you read books on how the Jews did business and became wealthy. The Jew man is shrewd. From the parable of the talents you can tell he has no time for nonsense.

PL: Lol

Coach: Hmmm

Ella: Hmmm! Interesting discussion

PL: Point well taken Mee

Mixa: Good morning, everyone.

Ella: I ve seen where someone is owing you, and the person is d one shouting on

your head, even with d contracts and terms of agreement drawn and signed.

PL: Ella, MEE just said it. Get a lawyer. It will be easier cos of signed contract

PL: PD always says have friends in all the professions. Make friends with a doctor, a lawyer, an accountant etc so when you need help,t hey will help you and rescue you from quacks.

PL: Ella, that defaulter can go to jail or pay serious damages cos he signed agreement he must meet.

Aba: PL, he/she won’t go to jail because they have a willingness to pay back. They might be owing you 1m and when you arrest them they will agree to pay back 20kper month.

Mee: Lol, Thanks oh…. 􀋛.PL, Ella, Sis Mixa. We learn everyday.

Aba: The only good thing that has happened is jail term for dud cheque which is what I use now. I must get a signed cheque for every transaction.

Mee: 􀆍􀀀 Aba….. cool.

PD: On the issue of friends, be sure your friendship is worth more to them than money o, otherwise if the price is right, they too will take you to the cleaners. Most of us have professional “customers” and not friends who are professionals.

Mee: 􀆍􀀀on professional friends. But pay them for their services. Eg. 10% on recovery plus 5% admin charge etc. If they do it free for you then you must be grateful.


PD: Yeah, Mee. Having professionals as friends is not to dodge cost of services… Although you would expect not to be exploited. The benefit I had in mind is so that you, through your friends, would understand how their world works, they can advise you when you have dealings with their professional colleagues, they can help you negotiate deals and help you reduce risks, especially the risk of falling into the hands of quacks.

Don’t go to your friends business expecting not to pay. With that kind of attitude, it means we shouldn’t have many friends else we won’t eat. If your friend decides not to charge you, let that be a favour he chose to do as his own way of feeding his friendship with you. Walking into your business and expecting you not to bill me is not what is called seed sowing. That’s exploitation of your relationship with the person.

The other day, I walked into Boom’s business. She checked my eyes, I needed glasses.

She asked me to choose a frame and I chose the one I liked which I think was quite pricy. She smiled. A few days later, she gave me my glasses in a more affordable frame for free. I’m still

using the glasses now. When I asked what my bill was, she quoted a wild amount she knew I wouldn’t be able to pay and she laughed it off. That’s her, doing me many favours at once. Then her hubby took me in his car, burnt his fuel and helped me track down a JP in Abuja to certify copies of some documents I needed urgently. I paid a small fraction of what is usually charged, although it was still a significant amount of money 􀊘. If I had gone on my own, I would have been bled like a blood donor or something.

So, make friends with professionals so you can take advantage of their professionalism, not their friendship.

Mee: Thanks PD. I have learnt how to articulate it better “so make friends with professionals so you can take advantage of their professionalism, not their friendship”.

PD: 􀆍􀀀 @ Mee

Amy: James 3:16 (KJV) For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. We must indeed flee strife, but mistaking confrontation and anger for strife is where Christians miss it and allow nonsense to go on in the church in the name of forgiveness.

The history of institutional sex abuse in some churches is an example of such nonsense cover up. Apostle Paul gave some harsh teachings like he that does not work should not eat, and not living carelessly and on church discipline. He even boldly rebuked Peter to put things right.

It is with regret that I heard a story of a Christian brother in another forum who decided to stop employing brethren….. after several brethren made away with his money and ‘church peeepo’ kept saying ‘forgive’, and that to invite police/justice system means he had not forgiven (a misappropriation of the verse that says two brethren having a dispute should resolve it in house first, I think). Taking legal action ending in some brother going to kirikiri jail is more loving, I will say, as he is able to continue to do good, ‘first to the brethren ‘ as Bible says, and who knows that brother will come out a better or rather corrected person for it… just like a famous US

Christian television figure apparently did (even though now much a shadow of what he once was).

PD: Settling disputes amongst brethren involves more than “forgive your brother”. It also involves setting things right and rebuking the erring person. But usually, once a church takes such a stand today, we blast them all over the media as not forgiving as Christ forgave us….and lacking understanding of grace… as so many other labels.

Duane Sheriff told of a time when Church leaders could walk into a court and talk to a judge to hand over a condemned guilty person to the church for rehabilitation. He said, those days, people would rather go to jail than be “handled” by the church and the people who were thus handled were actually reformed.

I wish we could come to such a time again.


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