Every year your pastor or priest, if you have one, or your Rabbi, or your Imam will take a few minutes, to quip on, allude to, or at least make mention of New Year’s Resolutions. They will probably tell you the latest statistic, that the average sincere resolution maker quits within two weeks of making that resolution.
I will not pretend here to be able to suggest precisely why we, as a species, so quickly lose our resolve, so quickly walk away from a personal commitment. I can say generally why, though: we are not perfect. (Okay, maybe that’s pretty obvious.) And we are weak. We don’t like hearing that or admitting that, but we are. We can be tempted beyond what we think we can endure by our own strength. We can be misled by our own desire—desire for a cookie, a new car or even a new job, or even a child.
A long time ago a couple named Sarai and Abram were so misled. They wanted a child—one promised to them, mind you—so badly that they were willing to go rogue to get one. Sarai induced Abram to sleep with their servant Hagar to achieve their desired goal. The result was a never-ending rivalry that sprung up between two brothers—half brothers, at least—a rivalry for the affection of the Father that goes on, one might even argue, to this day. The point is this: our desires can make us do some pretty stupid things, things that harm others and treat others like commodities. Hagar was merely a vessel, one could say, for that couple’s desire for a child and, perhaps, the recipient of Abram’s private lust. So strong are our desires for that cookie, that car, or that relationship, or that goal, even the “good” goal of having a child. So strong.
At the end of one conference that my philologist friend goes to year in and year out there is a committee that makes resolutions about the place the conference has been held. That committee begins each statement playfully with the affirming, “Be it resolved….” Maybe instead of personal resolutions, like resisting cookies or cars or paramours we should, this year, start a few sentences with “Be it resolved.…” I offer a few examples:
- Be it resolved to treat people kindly, the way I would like to be treated.
- Be it resolved that I should deepen relationships.
- Be it resolved that I be a better listener.
- Be it resolved that I should be compassionate to those in need, whatever that need might be.
- Be it resolved that I give more money to the poor than ever before.
- Be it resolved that I have a better sense of humor and not look for offense in the words of others.
- Be it resolved that I not do everything by my own strength, but I recognize my weakness, and trust God to fill in the gaps.
- Be it resolved that I be all I was created to be, humbly, gently, and bravely.
May 2019 make you a bit more resolved. Happy New Year!