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Mistakes You Don't Have To Make


Mistakes You Don't Have to Make

Copyright 2016

Ebenezer E. Odji.

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To my lovely family and friends and to everyone who still has integrity

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 (This version is of limited editing)

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Dear reader,

I apologize first of all for intruding into your life and limited time at a time like this. You most certainly never even knew me while I was alive. Yet, I have chosen to write to you. But, does this mean you just got a letter from a dead man? Yes, you just did. This is not a joke and that is because I’m actually already dead as you read this. Yes; dead for real (See image below).

FIGURE 1: I died as far back as March, 1993.

In fact, I died precisely on the 18th of March, 1993. I have a grave site located somewhere in Nigeria. The actual site is really none of your business anyway. I would have loved to tell you that (if you care to know), but because of some reasons, I would rather keep that classified- Yes, ‘classified’!

For the sake of clarification, I will love to state clearly here:

I am not a fictional character.
I am real. I was once alive as you are right now.

But why would a dead stranger decide to write you a letter while he should be busy resting from the many and varied foolishness of the world of the living? At least, he is dead now. He is free from the madness of your system. He no longer has a portion amongst your type. He doesn’t have to bother about those things that still border you, at least, not anymore. So, why take the pain to write you this stuff (while many out there may probably ignore it and just prefer to settle for learning from their own mistakes)? Well, it’s simple:

I made some pretty bad,

and extremely foolish, mistakes in my life-time

that I wouldn’t want you to make.

Yes, I care about you that much, as to break the protocols and to write you this counsel. Now, I know some people may not be convenient with the idea of a dead man writing to the living. Some may even laugh it to scorn. Perhaps, if chanced, I will shed more light on this in my subsequent letters. However, in this edition, considering the limited time I am afforded, I will concentrate strictly on sharing with you some of the mistakes I made while I was alive that I deeply wish you will not make.

Mistakes are subtle. When you are making them, they don’t often warn you that they are mistakes. In fact, in reality, while you are making mistakes and they go around, they often present themselves to you as the right or best thing to do. But, they come back and bite like adders. And they always come around because what goes around always comes around. At least, I’m in a position to tell you that now because I’ve been there, I have done that and got accolades to show for it. Believe me, friend, there are lessons that are better learnt from those who have been there and done that rather than counting on personal experience to teach you.

If I were to get the chance to do things, live my life all over again, I will do things and live differently a whole lot. You never really know, nor realize, how terrible certain mistakes are until you start facing the consequences or better still, until you are dead. You never really realize how bad your errors are until you see things from the other side of the fence as people in my state now see them. Then you know what rewards awaits you.

At the end of everything, there are only two choices out of which you MUST settle for one: eternity in bliss or in the fire of hell. The separating line is very thin.


FIGURE 2: Its fire is unquenchable.

Living right, being in CHRIST while you have the chance to so do, takes you to heaven; living as carelessly as you like, all by yourself outside CHRIST, takes you to hell. I know my fate now. And it can’t be changed anymore. I’m dead already. But, you don’t have to wait until you’re dead like me before you decide on where you are going to spend your eternity. In fact, after death, there are no more decisions to make. What remains is the readiness to face the dire consequences of the former decisions that had been taken earlier. I tell you, the consequences are unpleasant when the decisions are ungodly.



FIGURE 3: In hell, there are only entry gates. No exits. Please, believe me. Do not take this lightly. Hell is indeed real…independent of your belief.

Hence, I write you this letter in order to help you learn from my mistakes. Learn early, and make more informed and more reasonable decisions. Make choices that are profitable for your inheritance in eternity. You don't have to make the mistakes I made. You don't have to suffer what I suffered.

I hope you will find this missive most useful and most profitable in taking better decisions, and living a more godly life, now that you still have breath in your nostril. Don’t take this chance for granted. You never know how precious and expensive it is until you lose it. Life is a gift. Spend it right. At least, I know that now.

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All scriptures, except otherwise stated, are taken from the King James Version of the Bible

Let us begin.

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I can’t really tell exactly when I was born. My children had issues with me concerning this matter. I came from a remote village in what you probably call the Niger Delta area in Nigeria. At least, it was remote as at then. I’m certain that the same cannot be said of it today. The world has moved on, I suppose.


In those days, we counted with stones. Sometimes, we did missed a count or two every now and then. So statistics weren’t exactly 100% accurate. You wake up one morning, throw in a stone into the counting pot, imagine that you are as old as you think you have become, only to realize later that you were also as old as that a year or two ago. It could really be confusing most of the time. I’m sure the really old folks who have ‘survived’ thus far would tell you the same or, at least, something similar. So, forgive me if I can’t really tell you exactly how old I was. Hence, I wouldn’t border you with it. But, one thing was certain: I died an averagely old man; full of years at least, by the average modern reckoning. As a young boy from my village where folks of my class had little or no chance of breaking out of the cocoon of poverty that had beclouded the community, I was determined to break out of that unwholesome circle of shame. There is a way you can suffer for so long that you begin to accept suffering as a normal part of life.

FIGURE 5: Many of us worked the plantations happily thinking that was the best life had to offer us.

It was a time when the best that even the most promising child ever got was to work in the plantations. Plantain or rubber plantations were often the most promising a child ever got. The poor majority often served the comfortable minority and the odds were high that you never get to find your way out once you belonged to the class of the suffering majority. But I was determined to break the jinx. I wasn’t going to settle for the fate that had befallen preponderant majority before me and has remained an albatross for the countless majority after me.

Yes, I did work in the plantations like many others did. But, I was determined not to make a career out of it. It was meant merely to be a stepping stone to greater heights, nothing more. I hardly had time for fun. I worked for most of the day and only had little time for play in the night. I heavily tasked myself to pay my way through the then rather ‘unpopular’ school system.

FIGURE 6: I hardly had time for fun. I worked most of the day and only had little time for play in the night. That working habit went with me from the village to the city and proved positive in achieving some of my goals.

It was rough, but I was determined to become a professional, which I eventually became. I was an engineer- a civil engineer, to be specific. I started with the supervisory menial engineering works at first before becoming an internationally certified Engineer. That took serious hard work. This makes me wonder why young people of today want to sow only a little work and reap bountiful wealth. It just doesn’t work that way. You have to work hard enough to become anything worth reckoning with.

FIGURE 7: I started out with supervisory menial engineering works before becoming a certified Engineer. I even had oversea trainings.

Perhaps, it’s good I inform you here that my skills especially in engineering are not even in the minutest way useful any longer where I am today. It couldn’t be more useless than it has become. If only I had known! There were just some things that were more important than becoming even the most successful person on earth, but I gave little or no attention to them.

I was so preoccupied with becoming a world success that I forgot almost everything about heaven and hell. I gave little or no attention to GOD forgetting that HE is the one who gives us the power to make wealth in the first place [CF. DEUTERONOMY 8:18]. Although Christianity had not really gained much ground around us then, but while I grew much older and then knew more about JESUS than we ever did know, I still didn’t give HIM the attention required of me.

Biblical truths didn’t make much sense to me then. Not that I was totally ignorant of it anyway or chose to ignore it outrightly. I was just too preoccupied with my ambitions. That was all I devoted my time to. They came first. Who cared about GOD then? At least, not I. “Achieve first and think about GOD later” was my stance. Perhaps, I wasn’t even going to think about GOD anytime later, to be sincere. In fact, HE was never really in the picture as at that moment. But that was my first mistake: Ignoring GOD, giving HIM little or no chance in my life. Thinking religion was a thing for “losers” or isn’t that how you put it nowadays? Those are people who have nothing to do but are mere failures in their fields of endeavor already, I thought. As far as some of us were concerned, religious people were simply those who had not averagely done well socially, career-wise, and so on and are just trying to cover up their failures with religion. Yes, I admit, religion seems to be a means of escape for many out there who have resigned to fate and given up on success. But, that doesn’t mean that everyone close to God is covering up for something. Our way of reasoning was corrupt. Unfortunately, we had no idea it was.

I didn’t think badly of Christianity. I just didn’t see any reason to be a real Christian, that’s all. And I truly regret that today because I’m certain that if I had allowed JESUS into my heart much earlier, I most certainly wouldn’t have made the many mistakes I made. Unfortunately, there are many people out there today who are busy making the same mistakes as I made then and are very busy making them sincerely. I got so carried away with the mundane that I forgot the vital. I was preoccupied with the minor things of the world that I forgot about heaven and hell. Now, I do wish I had done things differently. I wish I viewed and prioritized things in the right perspective.




Now, it’s not as though it’s wrong to desire success or strive towards achieving it. No, it is definitely not wrong. In fact, if I got a second chance to come over yonder and did things all over again, I would probably still strive to be successful in my chosen field all over again. However, this time, my priorities would have been different. GOD would have come first.

“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”_ [MATTHEW 6: 31-34 (KJV)]

There are just some things in this life that you just cannot ignore without some serious back-firing effects. Ignoring them often boomerangs; things that have to do with family, career, education, marriage, finance, success at large and a host of others. After all these we on this side did run during our life-time. But, now we know better. Unfortunately, we can no longer prioritize. In fact, it is useless prioritizing now. There is absolutely no need for it anymore. There are no more decisions to be made, just consequences to face and regrets to nurse. We can only look back now and wish we had reasoned and did things differently. But, as for you, reader, you still have a huge or little portion of your life ahead to spend today, depending on whether you are still young or already old. Who can even tell when death may come knocking? You have your porch full of chances to take better, godlier and more informed decisions; and to re-order your priorities.

Always remember this:


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