Oh Man, Thou Art Fallibe!
I meet infallible people often on Saturdays. Dressed in spotless tuxedos, they don’t talk. They don’t engage in any conversation. As humble as they seem, they don’t reply any comment made at them; whether good or bad. These infallible people are soon packaged into graves where they’ll exist for the rest of their stay on earth because they are corpses!
Perfect people don’t talk lest they offend others. They don’t walk lest they step on others’ toes. They don’t stare at anyone lest others take offense. Perfect people are perfect because they do no wrong. What they do all day and night is to lie in a grave minding their own business.
No living man is perfect. If one wants to marry a perfect spouse, thus, they might as well marry a corpse. If they want to be perfect themselves, they might as well wait till death confers such an honor on them because as long as they have life, they would offend others as much as others will offend them. As long as they breathe, they’d have one weakness or another to battle with.
Admitting our imperfection humbles us. It reminds us that no matter how gifted we may be, we are still like others. Admitting how fallible we are will caution us not to laud our power over others because just as we are, so are they.
In last week’s edition of this column, I made a grave error. “Fishes have lungs [instead of gills]. Man doesn’t,” I wrote. I smiled when an ardent reader drew my attention. It pointed to how fallible I was, no matter how critically I tried to avoid errors. It stressed that inasmuch as I strived for perfection, I was also a man… and men are fallible!
Our favorite men of God should know they are fallible men. Our star politicians ought to know they haven’t got it all figured out. Our bosses in our workplaces should know that inasmuch as they try to create an air of fear and respect around them, they are just as men as those they lead. Our fathers and husbands should be reminded that they may not always be right because to err is human.
When I read of respectable people in society allegedly condescending into the gutters to do all sorts of wrong, I don’t get surprised anymore. I make sure not to jump onto the bandwagon of their defenders or accusers because I know that as long as earth is their home, they have fallibility running in their veins. As long as they are men, they won’t be gods!
Perfection barely exists on earth. Our pastors are not perfect. Needless to deify them. Our spiritual leaders are not any better men than we are. They can sometimes be wrong.
Admitting that we have a weakness is not an excuse to do wrong. Accepting that we have a frailty doesn’t mean we should go about inflicting pain on others. We must work out our weaknesses as much as possible. It is possible to overcome when we make appreciable efforts to.
Human as we are, we must be willing to apologize when we hurt others. As human as we are, we must be responsible for our wrongs and work at not repeating them. We must forgive ourselves and others when we act irresponsibly. It is only when we perceive ourselves as infallible men that we can barely forgive ourselves when we commit errors.
You see, you will never find a perfect spouse neither can you be a perfect spouse. You can only find a person whose nonsense you can contain and they may be compatible with you because your shortcomings will not drive them nuts. You can only find a man or woman whose weakness is within levels you can accommodate; not an immaculate human being. Marriage is two imperfect people trying to contain each other’s imperfection under one roof!
You will never find a perfect boss and you’ll never be a perfect boss either. You’ll never find a perfect job and should you be an employer, your job will never be perfect. Our imperfection should not make us mediocre. However, it shouldn’t make us to be too hard on ourselves.
Humility is when we remember that no matter the height God lifts us to, we are just as fallible as those at the bottom. Humility is to remember that despite all of one’s accolade, we still have a weakness that is a work in progress. Work hard at those weaknesses!
When those we hold in high esteem fault, we should take it easy on them because they are men. When they disappoint us by their deeds, we should be ready to forgive them. No man is spotless. That’s why “fallible man” is tautology!
The writer is a playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications, an Accra-based writing company (www.scribecommltd.com).
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