There are many times when I hear people saying that the end justifies the means. I disagree with that statement in all respects. I believe that it always matters how you arrive at the end; for the journey should be as enjoyable as the destination. I do not know how my end will be, but what I can say for now, as I approach 32 years, is that I have had an enjoyable journey and I will forever be grateful to my creator for who I am. I want to share a few incidents when people have quoted that line for me.
In 2004 and early 2005, as a freshman at Makerere University, I used to do some part-time work as a private tutor of A level Physics,Chemistry and Mathematics to the children of wealthy Asians in Kampala and this earned me some money that kept me going at the University. During this period, there were two incidents that really shocked me (Had I been more social before, I would probably never have been shocked in the first place). One of my students was a son to one of the wealthiest men in Kampala (also of Asian origin -let me call him RK). He never took studies seriously throughout the time I was enrolled as his teacher/tutor and he always said that he can use his father’s money to solve any problem in life.
As time flies, it was not long before the Cambridge exams knocked at his door and he developed cold feet. He convinced his father to bribe me and the exam invigilators and supervisors so that I can sit the exams on his behalf and get him through to be admitted at a University of his choice anywhere in the world. His father, Mr. RK, being a firm believer in the line “the end justifies the means”, did not hesitate to ring me and put his offer on the table. He offered 10 Million Uganda shillings (Which was equivalent to about $6600 at the time). I humbly declined the offer and told him to only talk to me if he had another child for me to teach. He threw that line at me and told me that all rich people believe that the end justifies the means. I was left with no option, but to hang up on him.
A few moments later, Mr. RK called again and offered to double the money and also assured me that he had already catered for the invigilators, supervisors and the overall country coordinator. I told him that my reputation cannot be traded, no matter the price. Am sure Mr. RK had believed JP Morgan’s line that every human being has a price, but he could not believe that a young man who had probably never held $5000 of his own could refuse this offer. I labored to convince him that I cannot enter a gamble with my reputation that I had been building for close to twenty years then. To cut the long story short, I declined and that was the last time I heard from Mr. RK and his son.
At around the same time, another old schoolmate of mine at A level brought a similar ‘deal’ and they were offering 5 million Uganda shillings (about $3300 at the time) for me to sit A level exams for somebody at the Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education examinations that year! I laughed this off and reiterated my position to this man that I do not trade my reputation for anything. He pleaded so much that I had to discourteously send him away from my hall of residence at the University.
Between 2006 and 2012, I received similar ‘deals’ from friends and relatives asking me to help them use my programming and/or ICT skills to hack into a banking system or e-mails of wealthy people to steal money. The funny thing is that most of them believed (at least then) that if you get money, it does not matter how you got it. They believed that the end justifies the means. I said no and reiterated my earlier stand that I do not trade my reputation for whatever sum of money. I also quoted for many of these people the text of Mathew 7:12 which says that “do for others what you would have them do for you, for this is the law and the prophets”. To some of these people, am a fool, whilst to others am a conservative Christian, but it’s pretty simple; my principles are my treasure.
I have a set of principles that I never bend and two of these principles are;
- I can never trade my reputation for whatever price
- I can never succumb to any sort of blackmail, for if I do, I will allow wickedness to rule me.
All I can say is that; God has given me a realisation that there is nothing in this world worth a good name. A good name is more valuable than the wealth of the richest men and women combined. I am rich and wealthy because I treasure my principles that guide me in the reverence of the LORD and in safeguarding my reputation.