To cut corners means doing something in a way that is not good in order to save time, effort or money. Many people are guilty of this. Should a Christian cut corners in order to reach his or her place of work in time especially in driving? Should a Christian beat down bureaucracy in order to get what he wants in time? Should he bypass others to get what he wants? Should he break traffic laws to be there on time? Cutting corners can mean doing “Magomago” in Yoruba language. It could mean doing things in a wrong way to get what you want. It is a dangerous attitude! It is a wrong ethics. It is Machiavellian. That is, an end justifies the means. It is like saying that “No matter the method I use as long as I get what I want, I am happy. I have beaten others down to be there. I have beaten down the system that does not allow me to achieve my goal faster. The law should go to hell because it restricts me from doing what I want at the expense of the public.
Why should a machine tell me to stop while I am driving?” You look at your right and left, the policeman is not there you drive on. But in front of your car, the crucifix is dangling in front of you, speaking non-verbal language to you but you would not care because you are dominated by selfish interests. In a society where there is no order, where we form a clique to plan our activities against the set down procedures in the church or our offices, always try to hide critical information to keep the head in the dark with the fear of being scrutinized, there will always be chaos. We shouldn’t form factions to level down decisions taken by constituted authorities. There is always a procedure and protocols of doing things in a civilized world. One cannot bypass the security man to see the president or sneak in to see the president. There must be a proper check and a proper procedure of taking your turn to see the president. When our programmes are not planned well, we tend to look for shortcuts to save time. Shortcuts can hurt us and hurt others. It is very risky to use shortcuts to save time.
Many people have formed a bad habit to cut corners. Many cut corners to make it fast in life and at the end, they regret. They are people of small minds. Even in the church many people cut corners to get what they want very easily. They try to put the priest at the corner. Some do not supply enough information and yet want to get something to save time. Some wants to save time by exploiting the ignorance of someone who may not have authority to deal with their problem. They can convince the person to act to save their time and if things happen in a proper way, we won’t cut corners. Cutting corners is the handiwork of the children of darkness, weakened by falsehood. The children of God do not do crooked things. They are straight in thoughts and minds and without camouflage. They weigh the consequences of their actions before they act. They do not allow their minds to be loaded with excuses for example “I was in a hurry; I was trying to meet up an appointment”.
These are flimsy reasons we give to justify our actions. We must always carry the imprint in our hearts—“Good must be done, evil avoided.” This is the only way we can have peace, order and justice in our lives, in the society and in a crazy madrush world, the world we call modern world. Cutting corners to get money by all means is a degradation of self, which automatically leads to the damaging of the ego. When a man has no self-worth what is he living for again? If one knows the damaging effects of cutting corners one would think twice before dabbling into it. The one who cuts corners is like a chameleon. When you catch him or her there he/she goes the other way. When you know him/her and discover these unbecoming behaviours, he/she hates you because you are not supporting him/her. That is our world today. “You cover me and I cover you”. They feel it can bring peace. NO it is a bad philosophy of life. If you don’t do what the world does without ethics you are regarded as being odd by the society. Therefor we should do what is right and be set free.
• Very Rev. Msgr. Livinus Ukah is a Catholic Priest, author of many books and a Social Justice and Peace Advocate.