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From The Chaplain's Desk
From The Chaplain's Desk: Good Intentions

By Charles Dimmick, CT State Grange Chaplain

  June 1, 2021 --

For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.

Romans 7:18-19


We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done.

---- Book of Common Prayer


Let’s face it, every one of us falls short in doing what we ought to do and not doing what we ought not to do. There is an old proverb which states, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”, which bears some resemblance to a statement in the Book of Ecclesiastes: ““The way of sinners is made plain with stones, but at the end thereof is the pit of hell.”

One of the reasons as to why we tend to go wrong is because we have a habit of always looking for the easy way out of a problem. H.L. Mencken once said, “For every com- plex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.” One of the ways that I, myself, often go wrong is trying to solve someone else’s apparent problem when what they really want is someone to listen to them and give them a sympathetic ear. But time and again I fail to see this. I keep trying to insert my own advice as to what I would do, rather than listening and trying to understand from their own perspective. I should keep my mouth shut and only act if requested to do so.

Then there are the times when action on our part would be obviously beneficial, yet we fail to act, “Someone else will take care of it”, or “I’ll get around to it later”, or that really selfish “It’s not my job”. I have been guilty of all three. Yet we know that it is our duty to care for each other and for the world that God has given us to live in. Time and again we have fallen down on our duty.

How can we overcome our fail- ings in these matters? Obviously not by our own efforts, for they have not been enough. Our only hope is to ask for God’s help.



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