By Rt Rev Friday 28 December 2012 Updated: 28/12 12:49
I HOPE you’re not superstitious. If you are, you might be a bit anxious about entering into a year with thirteen in it. I’m not superstitious - though I’ll confess to being a bit wary about walking under ladders, for fear of what might drop on me from above.
I don’t believe in ‘fate’, either. In my book everything is either providential, i.e. it’s willed by God, or it is the result of human choice. What happens to us, it seems to me, is a complex interaction between those three: what God wills, the choices that I make, and the choices others make which affect me.
The choices we ourselves make are crucial in this. I was visiting a prison before Christmas and I was struck by the thought that those inside were there simply because of a series of bad choices. It can’t be blamed on God or fate, or others (though, of course, some people grow up in situations where it is very difficult to learn to make good choices).
New Year is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on our choices and determine only to make good ones. Choices that are good for ourselves and good for others. Those two things go together: what is genuinely good for us will be good for others and vice-versa. Jesus implied as much when he told us that we should love our neighbours as ourselves. That suggests that if we love our neighbours we shall actually be loving ourselves, too, and if we love ourselves properly we shall also be loving others; what is good for us is good for others.
This means the best choices we make are ones which put the welfare of others before our own. In my experience, it is only when I do this that I find the happiness I wish for myself. May this coming year be a year of good choices for you, and may God bless you during it. Happy New Year.
Rt Rev Dr John Inge
Bishop of Worcester
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