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Of Endless Horizontals and The Supreme Vertical

Published on

February 14, 2022

Just a few decades ago, two things were quite striking; the difficulty in finding the perfect context for showmanship; and the relative ease of contentment.

I’ll explain what I mean.

Back then, it was quite difficult to find an enabling environment to express blatant arrogance. What is arrogance without a show off? And what is a show off if the whole world isn’t watching? The few pairs of eyes within your neighbourhood are too meagre to prepare a show for. So you wait for the big parties where most of your friends would gather and then you begin to release your toys; the cars, clothes and jewelry!

“Ooh nice shoes” one of your friends comments, and just as if you had been waiting for that comment all your life, you go “Oh this one? It’s the 6th pair of the collection I got in Milan, on my way to Barcelona during my last family summer vacation.”

In case you didn’t notice…

In that one response, you managed to mention a number of impressive things about yourself; how many more pairs of the same type of shoes you have at home, how you visited at least 2 choice destinations within the last 6 months, how you have enough financial capacity to sponsor a vacation, not just for yourself but your family and how that it was only the “last”… that is, you typically go for such Family vacations every year. Such is the precision and genius required to skillfully insert comments that suggest superiority over others in random chatter. Some aren’t even that modest! But this was about the best chance most of the older generation had to show off.

Secondly, it was way easier to be content back then. Easier because you didn’t have too many benchmarks with which to assess your relative standing in the scheme of things. You probably knew only what your neighbours, colleagues and brethren in Church were up to, and that was it! You did not have the opportunity to see what the millions of other people like you across the world, were up to. How could you? The only prism through which you peeped into the larger world context was through your old Cable TV which you only watched for a couple of hours a day… And it was either the news or Tales by moonlight.

Now, this is not an attempt to simply walk the Baby Boomers reading this through the memory lane as much as it is an attempt to give perspective to the stack difference in the reality our generation of young people, have to deal with. A generation that God has bestowed so much more than the older generations, but the same one with the greatest tendency to be exploited by the devil.

With the advent of the Internet and Social Media, the possibilities for peer to peer reviews are staggering! We now have access to millions of people across the world that we could follow, listen to and be inspired by or otherwise, without needing to leave our closets. The reality of those lives that we didn’t even know existed could now become the basis of our hastiness in the dangerous pursuit of success. The same things we were once grateful for, could now become the very source of our disgruntlement. I mean, why should I be happy? When someone else, somewhere else, has it better than me!

The real challenge is that, the endless layers of “better” ahead of your current reality then puts a perpetual pressure of performance on you. The same person who genuinely knows he still has a lot to learn in order to become what he desires; is suddenly losing the patience required to grow into that stature. So you know what he does? He jettisons sound judgment, virtue, conscience and character and in the process, he idolizes the end he lusts after while sacrificing any means for it!

You want the money now? You can have it now! Only violate your conscience, disregard the diligence of others by stealing from them and if need be, be willing to kill and there it will be; all you have ever needed, staring at you in the face!

No generation has ever been more plagued by the insatiable need to show off and make an impression on others. A generation heavily leveraged by likes, shares and comments. And NO, Social Media is not evil, it is amoral! It becomes exactly what we make it into.

It isn’t that it is wrong to seek validation from an entity beyond ourselves. We all have been wired to seek validation from something or someone beyond ourselves. Only that for many, they would rather go the way of the Endless Horizontals, than the way of The Supreme Vertical. Horizontal validation is a bottomless pit of nothingness. Too many contemporary examples have made it abundantly clear that apart from the financial fortune that comes with it (which isn’t evil), popularity on the gram bestows nothing but a lot more pressure. Before the likes, you were under the pressure to measure up, after the likes, you’re under the new pressure to keep up… such a pointless race to nowhere!

O LORD , I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. — Jeremiah 10:23 KJV

If the way of man is not in man, how can a wayward man show another man his own way? This is why, no matter the amount of likes and shares a person gets, that Godless void gets even larger! You don’t gain your validation from another, who is also in need of validation. Validation only comes from the Validator Himself. The Assessor of all Good things!

Yes, there are Endless Horizontals who themselves are in search of validation, But there is The Supreme Vertical, who has no need for validation, any more than water needs wet! He is the One that bestows Validation! Glory to God!

When The Vertical speaks, all of life responds. When He judges, every dimension of existence affirms the finality of His verdict. When He says you are loved! It is settled, it needs no appeal! When He says you are blessed, account balances become inconsequential! He has an overriding prerogative to decree a thing and for that thing to be established! With The Vertical’s Verdict, you never have to journey into the Horizontal Hole of endless misery.

Several men stood over her, with sharp stones, ready to pounce and kill, but they sought His Verdict. They were just waiting on his Judgment; “what say you??” Then He bends to scribble on clay, He bends to rewrite her human history, He bends to determine her eternal future. While at it, the horizontals could do nothing but wait on His Verdict, because in the end, it is ALL that matters! So He gives it;

Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. — John 8:11b KJV

There may be a million people condemning you right now, but if He says you aren’t condemned, then know that you’re free to live with that reckless abandon that comes from receiving an irreversible verdict of freedom. And if there be millions singing your praise and the Vertical chooses silence over an applause, please weep and cry and seek His face for Mercy.

His Verdict is Supreme and it is all we must strive to live for!

My generation more than anything else, needs to be broken before God, and my prayer today is that The Lord will pour out His Spirit afresh upon the hearts of every young person out there and breathe His Name upon us all in Jesus Name.

Amen and Amen.

Have a fruitful week ahead.

Dami Oguntunde

@damioguntunde

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