Thought for the day - 12/09/2013 - Anne Atkins - Novelist and Columnist
A man had two sons. He asked both of them to show up for work in the family business. The first rather rudely refused... but on reflection thought better of it, and put in a good day's work. The second said, "Of course I will, Dad," but never got around to it. Which son, Jesus asked His audience, did what his father wanted? The one who spoke or the one who acted?
This discrepancy between saying and doing was exemplified in the latest British Social Attitudes Survey. For instance, there's been a huge shift in beliefs about housework. Thirty years ago, half the population thought a man's job was to earn money and a woman's to look after the home. Today, seven people in eight disagree with these gender stereotypes. Many women will now be thinking they live with the eighth, your man is so unreconstructed.
Sadly, no: apparently change has only taken place in the minds, not the manners of our menfolk. In the vast majority of households women still do most of the chores. Many of us say it: few do it.
The biologist and Christian, Oliver Barclay, held that it takes three generations for Christian ethics to be eroded. The first neglects the Bible; the second forgets the beliefs; it is only the third generation that abandons the behavior. What we hold to be true certainly matters, but can be some time taking effect.
You probably know the adage, Sow a thought and reap an act. But this continues, Sow an act and reap a habit; sow a habit and reap a character... and eventually a destiny. What we do determines who we become.
In his superb treatise on marriage to the Ephesians, Saint Paul enjoins husbands to "love your wives." How? We think of love as an involuntary impulse, almost a chemical reaction. "I can't help it," is a phrase we often hear of being in love...