Paved with Good Intentions
You know the saying and where this particular road leads. I'm travelling along it, the scenery is pleasant and all seems well, but suddenly I realise that some way further back there had been a fork. I had ignored it and continued on in my own sweet way. Now I'm wondering,
'Back there, did I take the correct fork?'
'Should I have gone right or left? Do I need to go back?'
I should return and find out what the sign-posts said, but I can't turn around, there's only one way and that's straight ahead. Now I remember what I should have thought of before.
Action or Inaction
I can see those signs in my mind's eye quite clearly. Those forks in the road had names: Action and Inaction. The one I automatically chose was Inaction; it was easier. But now I know that I should have taken Action.
I'm reminded that there are things that we should do, but don't do them, and things that we should not do but somehow we do them - without even thinking about it. It sounds a bit like that ancient prayer that people used to say about sin.
Most people don't think about sin any more. They say, I just do what I want and it was either a good idea or not so good, but thinking that something we do could actually be a sin is so old-fashioned. We don't think like that any more.
Omission and commission
What was that old prayer about?
Oh, yes, they were called the sins of omission and commission. I guess it means the same thing in the end. We don't do the things that we really should do, and we do the things that we definitely should not do.
Well, that's me! I'm not really bad and don't often do bad things, but quite often I don't do things when I should. It's my friend's birthday, or my children's wedding anniversary. I remember the date, so I've thought of them; that's good. But then, life gets busy, I get lazy and nothing happens. I don't send a card or even an SMS or email. But I did think of them, didn't I?
Commission is clear enough. We hear in the News, in Talkbacks and see on the TV every day the sins of commission where burglaries, car thefts and even murder are committed. Mostly, to the relief of law-abiding citizens, the perpetrators are usually caught and committed for trial for their sins.
Now they're really bad things to do, but I don't do those. I might think of it sometimes but that's not like actually doing it, is it? But I guess I do still do things I shouldn't.
Think of my diet, for instance. The Gastroenterologist went to a lot of trouble testing and sampling, then sent me to a Dietician and now I have a list of all the foods I shouldn't eat.
What a relief! No more pains in the tummy - I couldn't believe it was possible. I've had them since I was about ten years old.
But there are some things that I simply crave and shouldn't have. Surely a little won't hurt. Yummy! A little more? Yes, I've eaten things I shouldn't.
Is that really a sin of commission? It can't be; it's such a small thing. Besides, it tasted so good.
In about twenty minutes I have the answer: big pains in my tummy.
This is a good lesson. Maybe that Dietician really knows a thing or two, and because I have gone my own way, I now suffer the consequences.
The sins of omission are a little bit different, but they do occur - in the family, in the community and even in governments.
- In the Family: I knew the Wedding Anniversary of one of my Grandsons and his wife was coming. I had it down in my diary, but I did nothing. Now it's too late.
- In the Community: I know that a family-tree research group I belong to needs someone to help in the library. It's only once a month and I know about libraries and research. I could help, but do I? No, I procrastinate and do nothing.
- In the Government: At the moment, many cities around the world are becoming burdened with over-population, with traffic snarls and interminable congestions. Of course, part of the answer lies in decentralisation. For example, in my city decentralisation was mooted by one of our government leaders years ago, and there were many discussions about moving some businesses and government departments to Albury-Wodonga on the Victoria/ New South Wales border. But that's all it has been - talk with no action and now changing the infrastructure is going to cost us, the people, billions more.
And we suffer from these sins of omission.
Decisions Need to be Made
It's important that right decisions are made - and these decisions need to be acted on. If we move to action, even in the very small things in our lives, we make progress along the right paths.
As the saying goes: 'No man (and no woman, too!) is an island.'
What we decide to do doesn't only affect ourselves, it affects others. Indecision and inaction can lead us along that road that is paved with good intentions and, as I wrote before, we know where that goes!
If there's something that you should make a decision about and you can't choose, pray to God, tell Him about the problem and then ask yourself,
'What would Jesus do?'
If He would do it then you know that it's really the right thing to do, so no more inaction,
JUST DO IT!