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Sermon #99: 'Little' Habits Do Matter!

 
 
Bad behavior remains bad behavior, however much one might try to put some gloss over it. 

On a number of occasions, I have heard people say, “It doesn't matter. It’s too minor a thing to worry about.” Really?

I believe that each of one's actions or omissions has far-reaching impact on their character or reputation.

Everything you do either has a positive or negative effect on your person. The same applies to each of your omissions - the actions that you avoid taking.

So it's not a matter of “is it minor or major?”

If something destroys your reputation, why would you not worry about it? If something reflects positively on you, why would you not be eager to be associated with it, whether it is ‘minor’ or ‘major’?

Our country would certainly be a much better place to live in if only more people cared, or cared more.

Often people think that it is the responsibility of some other people to put things right. They say, “They should do this and that to make things right.” Why “they”? Wouldn't we be much better if we said, “We should do this and that”? or “I should do this and that, or should desist from doing this and that, in order to make things right”?

Let me give you an example. Our streets are filled with litter. It's unimaginable. We never used to see such dirt. Who is to blame?

First to blame is the person who throws garbage onto the streets instead of placing it where it belongs. That's the first culprit.

You find that even where there are rubbish bins close by, some people still choose to throw litter onto the streets, with no remorse at all! What happened to conscience? What happened to hygiene? What happened to civilization?

The second person to blame is the one responsible for ensuring that our streets are kept clean. If you are the one responsible, and you let things go wrong in such a big way, then people start to wonder what you do on a daily basis to deserve your salary! Challenges will always exist, but do people sit and fold hands because of challenges? Isn't it that challenges exist to give purpose to one's mandate?

I feel overjoyed each time I see people on a voluntary clean-up exercise. That's always a remarkable sight, which should provide an important lesson to those who wantonly litter the streets. Just stop for once and reflect on this: somebody litters the streets without even worrying about it; then somebody gets so concerned about it to the extent of cleaning up the dirt for free. This surely is a serious indictment to the careless!

Littering the streets is an act of disrespect – disrespect for oneself, disrespect for other people and disrespect for God who gave you a litter-free environment for your enjoyment. So in a way, a person who litters the streets is telling the world that he/she too is like a piece of trash.

Each time I get a receipt from a shop, I have a tendency of rolling it with my fingers until it becomes a tiny ball. Tiny as it is, which some people would describe as ‘minor’, I always make it a point of placing it in a bin. I just cannot throw it onto the ground, even where there already is ‘major’ rubbish deposited by some other people!

I have seen another evil – spitting. People have a tendency of doing it everywhere, on the tarmac or pathways that people use to get from one point to another. Saliva and phlegm, eish! One has to duck and dive to avoid stepping on such revolting substance.

What exactly is the message that one would be sending by behaving like that? Who would he/she be trying to fix? Would the same person be comfortable stepping on someone else’s phlegm? Absolutely not!

So what happened to love? I visited the offices of The Zimbabwe Standard newspaper sometime. On the staircase was a sign pleading, “Please do not spit on the stairs – By Order”. Imagine that they had to go to this extent to teach people what they should already have learned as kids!

I have also observed another disturbing trend in our society – use of foul words.

One day I said to my wife, “Mai Isaiah, have you by any chance noted that people in this country have become more foul-mouthed than before?” It is unprecedented! Now children have also caught the bug, for they are forced, on a daily basis, to listen to words not meant for public consumption. Some of the words that people speak in public these days are so horrible that I can never utter them even when I am alone!

And some people say, “He is just speaking. He has not hurt anybody. So what’s your problem?” Just speaking? Has not hurt anybody? “Little things”, so people say. But what's the level of the impact of such behaviour?

If you are one of the people who deliberately acts in a bad way or deliberately avoids doing good, then you ought to change your behaviour without delay. It's important.

There is only way to behave - it is called 'the way of love'.

Love should be your behavior, your life, your being, who you are! If you love people, it means you care about them. If you love people, you will not spit on their paths. If you love people, you will not litter the environment they live in. If you love people, you will not say offensive words to them or in their presence.

I have given you just a few examples of wrong behavior that people choose to belittle. There are many facets to this subject. I cannot cover them all in this short installment. What you need to do is to critically examine yourself.

What are the bad 'little' tendencies that still exist in your life? Write all of them down. Now if you look at what you have written, what sort of picture do you think you are portraying to the world? Would one use the adjective ‘noble’ to describe you?

You need to kick out all trash from your life. It has no business being there. And the time is now!

Just like 'big' things, the so-called 'little' things also matter a lot! Always keep this in mind.