Well, it’s that time of the year again. You know, its New Year’s, the time when many folks make their New Year’s Resolutions. If you are one of those persons and a resolution works for you, I think that’s wonderful. I have to admit that I’m not one for whom the “resolution” thing seems to work very well. And I don’t think that I’m alone. I’ve known several folks who, like me, start out with great enthusiasm in January to do something or don’t do something, only to see that commitment fade by Valentine’s Day or before. One of the problems I see with a resolution is that when it is broken for the first time, it creates a feeling of failure and it’s a downhill spiral after that.
Please don’t interpret my remarks as a belief there can be no self-improvement. It is just that it doesn’t have to come on a particular date nor be a black and white commitment that once broken loses its value. We can all try to be better in some fashion. We can try to eat better, exercise more, practice the clarinet, and take out the garbage, and on and on. When we slip up on this promise, it doesn’t negate the intent of what we are trying to do and we can keep on trying. I had a friend who would say “Don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good.” I also think there is a danger in starting on the first of the year. That promotes the idea that if our resolution doesn’t work out, we don’t have to worry about it until the next New Year, instead of picking it up again that very day.
Most of us believe in a forgiving God, a God who understands our shortcomings and failures and forgives us. Why would we want to be harder on ourselves than God is? I think there may be an element of arrogance in us when we think that way. While it is satisfying to always move forward, if we take two steps forward and one step back, we can still get to the moon.
Queen Elizabeth, in her Christmas message this year, promoted the concept of reconciliation. I suspect she was aiming her remarks at world leaders who can have an impact on world peace. Is there a reason that this concept can’t apply to us as individuals? I’m thinking that we all have someone in our lives that we could reconcile our differences with. While this won’t solve all the problems between nations, it will create some peace in your heart and perhaps in someone else’s as well. This idea does not have to be a resolution but rather a way of life. It doesn’t have to start on January 1st and end on December 31st, but be timeless.
So perhaps a concept for us to move forward with, now and for all time, is forgiveness. Forgiving others for those things we don’t quite understand and, more importantly, forgiving ourselves, as God does, when we take that one step back.
I hope your New Year is blessed and brings you great joy.