Earlier this month, the story of 18-year-old Brandt Jean who offered forgiveness to Amber Guyger, the woman convicted of murdering his elder brother trended worldwide. As usual, a lot of Nigerians on Social media had a lot to say about this with a few people supporting the boy’s actions and most people fiercely against it. ‘An eye for an eye’ is gradually becoming the default setting in our society. A lot of people want to exact revenge instead of choosing the forgiveness route. Is this right or wrong? LifeXtra takes a look. Iwaye Olumide, a 31-year-old teacher believes that forgiveness is overrated.
“I know forgiveness is considered the ‘politically correct thing’ but there are certain offences that are hard to forgive and people have to get a taste of their own medicine,” he exclaimed. Olumide took a walk down memory lane and recollected how he made sure he repaid a friend who lied against him and caused him to lose a job opportunity. He said, “I had this friend who went to lie against me to someone who had promised me a job. I was shocked at first, but I decided to wait for the right time to act.” Olumide said when he eventually paid his friend back in his coin, it was so satisfying.
“There’s karma and nemesis for every action you take in this life. So it’s ‘do me, I do you’, God no go vex.” However, Ifeoma, a 21-year-old student, disagrees with Olumide’s ideology. “As they say, an eye for an eye makes the world go blind,” she said. “We humans have to learn to forgive more. Forgiveness is more for us than sinners.” She believes forgiveness is a way to clear your mind and let go of bitterness which is bad for the soul. “If you hold on to grudges and planning revenge, you’re giving people power over you and allowing their actions to control yours,” she expressed. Haleema Aminu, a National Youth Service Corps member, has a similar opinion. “Forgiveness isn’t easy but that’s what Islam preaches. As a Muslim, you have to leave everything in the hands of God.” Haleema believes revenge is not up to man because when you are retaliating, you are already sinning against the will of God.
“What if I die while carrying out my revenge? Is there a lawyer in heaven that will defend me and plead my case?” She asks. But Shola Odunayo, a 27-year-old engineer, doesn’t accept Ifeoma and Haleema’s views. He stated that revenge comes in different forms. “I don’t advocate violence or anything like that or you breaking the law to get back at somebody. There are various legal and non-violent ways to get revenge. God won’t come down to earth to punish people for their actions.
It is our fellow human beings that he will use.” He went further to explain the reasons behind his stand. “An eye for an eye might make the world blind, but then at least we are all blind and on a level playing field than when the people with eyes can still abuse the blind,” he explained. He said revenge has a bad reputation which shouldn’t be so. If there’s nothing like revenge, then people will treat each other a lot worse because they know there are no consequences to their actions. So to Shola, revenge sets the tone for what is acceptable in the society and he believes when people know there is a possibility of revenge, it makes them act better.