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Be it resolved ...

Posted Thursday, December 29, 2011, at 3:52 PM

Now that Christmas is over, everyone everywhere is scurrying around trying to make New Year's resolutions before December 31st, 2011 -- if for no other reason than to do their best to break most of them by the end of the day January 1st, 2012.

What are the most popular resolutions for New Year's 2012? I thought you'd never ask.

Well, according to a not-very-scientific, extremely random study conducted by one very local columnist, the list looks something like this:

1. Spend more (quality) time with family.

2. Smile more.

3. Love unconditionally.

4. Save more -- spend less.

5. Get healthier (quit smoking, lose weight, etc.).

6. Spend more time in prayer and Bible study.

7. Get to church more often.

8. Get more sleep (in both quantity and quality).

9. Forgive more -- offend less.

And -- the one that seemed the most sincere and heart felt ...

10. Get a life!

I don't know about you, but I've probably resolved to accomplish all of these things at least a half-dozen times. And, like many of you, I have failed to accomplish many of them.

The creed espoused by members of Optimist International is a good one. It talks about being positive in all your ways.

In fact, it reads like a list of personal resolutions. It talks about being so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind, about making your friends know they are important, about thinking only of the best in all situations, about being enthusiastic about someone else's success, about getting past your mistakes and making a positive future, and about giving your biggest smile to every living creature you meet.

But my favorite "promise to self" in the creed would have to be the one that seems to be hardest for some folks. It says, "Promise yourself to give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others."

For many, that's a hard pill to swallow. It seems way to easy to look at the frailties, faults and failures of others while ignoring the flaws in ourselves; easier to notice the proverbial speck of sawdust in someone else's eye than the knotty-pine two-by-four sticking out of your own.

And though I have tried to hold to that "promise" since the first time I saw it, I think I fail at it more than I succeed. I think my New Year's Resolution for 2012 may just be to spend so much time on the improvement of myself that I have no time to criticize others.

Granted, I want to spend more time in the word, and I need to spend more time in prayer. But I need some self-improvement as well. And the probable first step to bettering one's self is to stop pointing out the faults in others.

So ... be it resolved ...

Happy New Year everybody!

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Bob Stewart is pastor of Union Baptist Church. His long-running column ranges in topic from matters of faith to observations about life in Saline County, politics and the sights to see in travels throughout America.
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