My resolution this year could be considered a followup to last years, “ought to’s, got to’s, and like to’s.”
Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
– Benjamin Franklin
I read that and thought back to a passage I read in Steinbeck a while ago. We all have a choice. We have to tread water, but we can choose to either sit there and tread, or we can choose (resolve) to swim in some direction. As Steinbeck explained in East of Eden, within Genesis and the story of Cain and Abel there are very important phrases…’thou shalt’ and ‘do thou.’ What gets forgotten is ‘Thou mayest’. ‘Thou mayest rule over sin.’
The american Standard translation orders men to triumph over sin, and you can call sin ignorance. The King James translation makes a promise in ‘Thou shalt,’ meaning that men will surely triumph over sin. But the Hebrew word, the word timshel – ‘Thou mayest’ – that gives a choice. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on man. Why that makes a man great, that give him stature with the gods, for in his weakness and his filth and his murder of his brother he has still the great choice. He can choose his course, fight it through, and win.”
The big point is that I have the choice to choose my own course and resolve to act on this course. I resolve to do what I “ought,” knowing that I will prosper. His voice says,
“Forget the former things; do not dwell in the past. See, I am doing a new thing! For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future…”