Saturday, January 8, 2011

Facing the Crossroads

I’ll always remember what I think is a most memorable quote in Harry Potter. It’s a simple challenge posed by the wizened old Dumbledore to Harry Potter. Not to mention, to me and you too.

In a serious undertone, Dumbledore admonished Harry, “We live in dangerous times, Harry. There will come a time when we will have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy.

The people of our generation will choose the easy way out of things – whatever suits their intentions and wants; whatever is convenient at the time. What will I choose? What will you choose?

Sometimes it takes a lot of courage to go the opposite direction, to make a stand when it’ll make us look like fools to the watching world. Are we prepared to look like a “fool” to our family, friends and foes simply because we choose to pursue the truth, and do the right thing?

I have trouble answering that one. It sure isn’t a piece of cake when it comes to real life – confronting real people and facing real circumstances! We all struggle with that.

I learnt in Psychology that when an accident occurs, or someone is in need, most onlookers will stay put. Everyone is waiting for the first ‘someone’ to step out and do something. Most people, in that moment, hesitate to stand up even though they badly want to. They are more afraid that they’ll look foolish to the bystanders. And since everyone thinks ‘surely someone else will do it,’ in the end, no one does it!

When I make decisions, no matter how small, I tend to choose the easy path – the wide, beautifully-paved road, compared to the narrow and rocky path. I know I’m doomed to slip and fall if I go on that pebbly, winding road! I might twist my ankle or break my neck, or tumble off the cliff-side…!!! (The point is to sound paranoid.) Haha. We can laugh about it, but the truth is, all of us often prefer the clean and cobbled street. Less chances we’ll fail or be at our wit’s end.

But suddenly, as I write the last paragraph, I realize that hey, we really shouldn’t be living our lives on the wide and easy road! However, to most, it may seem sensible & harmless. But we should be choosing the road less traveled, in spite of the challenges and failures and “accidents” that might transpire along the way.

Then again, let’s ask ourselves, “Why?” Why be so “foolish” to take the difficult path and risk all the rough falls?

Before I attempt to make sense of that question, we must firstly acknowledge that often that not, “choosing and doing what is right” is equivalent to taking the risky and rocky path. Perhaps it’s all too easy for me to say because I haven’t really gone on that road… But you can say that I’m at the “intersection” or the “crossroads”, as most of us are at numerous junctures in life.

So why take the tough and rough journey?

What first comes to mind is that Jesus Himself challenged us to do just that.

13 "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
14 But narrow is the gate and difficult is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
Matthew 7:13-14 (NKJV)
Many of us may rationalize, Oh don’t be so literal! What harm can taking the easy path do?

But I realize that what Jesus meant by “the broad way leads to destruction” is, when we choose what is easy, the “wide highway” the crowd takes, we often COMPROMISE the values and commands that God has called us to live up to! No wonder it’s a ‘difficult road and a narrow gate that leads to life’. No wonder those who take it are “doomed” to slip and fall, and encounter challenges along the way. Those of us who choose what is right will be confronted by others and with our own FAILURE to abide by the standards God has called us to.

Yes, failure! When we decide to do the right thing, when we want to live up to God’s commands, have no doubt that we WILL fail. ‘All man has fallen short of God’s glory.’ But does that sorry fact deter us from seeking the Truth and striving to do the right thing? Does that stop us from embarking on the journey along the rocky road and through the narrow gate?

No! Our human failures cannot separate us from God’s love and grace. Where would we be ithout His grace? We wouldn’t even have the guts to take our first step on the narrow path! What I’m trying to say is, if we choose to take up Jesus’ challenge and traverse the road less travelled, GOD WILL BE ON OUR SIDE. He will not leave us to fall along the cliff. Although God may allow us to teeter a bit… and go through our portion of falls, hurts and weariness, it is not all for nothing!

Despite the difficulties of choosing the do the right thing in God’s eyes, regardless what the world thinks, we must ask God to help us see the challenges ahead not as obstacles, but as HURDLES. What’s the difference? Well, obstacles block you from crossing over, but hurdles are meant to be leaped over!

The time is now. We have to choose between what is right and what is easy.

Like someone said, “Life begins at the intersection.”

Here’s where we choose between the broad highway to destruction (though it may not be so apparent…) and the narrow path to life beyond what this world can offer. May you and I choose well.


Solum deum Timidus,
Janielle =)

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