July 21, 2010

When We Are Our Own Worst Enemies

This is an excerpt from the book Arise From Darkness: What To Do When Life Doesn’t Make Sense by Benedict J. Groeschel C.F.R.

Just think of some of the ways a person can mess up things for himself. The most obvious is precipitous behavior – going ahead and doing something and not considering the implications, all of the things that are going to be consequential from it. Many devout people say, “I can’t figure it out, so I’m going to take the great leap of faith and jump . . . into an empty swimming pool.” I hear people saying, “I’m going to step out in faith!” Why don’t they step out in common sense at the same time? Don’t blame God if you walk off the end of the dock.

The opposite mistake is thinking things out so carefully and being so cautious that we don’t do what we’re supposed to do. As Christians we are supposed to step out in faith, but we often sit down in confusion. Many, not knowing what to do, simply don’t do anything. I call this dangerous trait the Titanic phenomenon. On the Titanic that mild winter’s night when the sea was very calm and the great ship had struck an iceberg, many prudent people didn’t get into the lifeboats. They said to themselves, “This is a great ship, it can’t possibly sink.” Although there were not enough lifeboats for all, there were nonetheless two hundred empty seats in the lifeboats when the Titanic went down. I suppose some who got into the lifeboats must have said to themselves, “I’m going to look terribly stupid when they pull this lifeboat back up onto the ship in about six hours, and I’ve been out here in the sea.” But these people watched as the great ship went down. It’s hard to know what to do. You can pray very fervently and still make big mistakes. What is more mysterious is that when we make big mistakes good things happen anyway. It’s not easy to be a responsible human being. The forgotten reason for all this is original sin.

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