So you didn't do what you think you should have last year. You can change THIS year. You can do better this year, and you can be better this year.
Here's a how-to guide.
1. Examine yourself. Who are you? Who are you becoming? You can be a better person in the new year, and you do it in three simple steps:
- Recognize that nobody else is responsible for you. As Paul says, "each of us shall bear his own burden." This frees you from holding someone else responsible for your change. When you hold someone else responsible, you are their prisoner. What if they don't "let" you change?
- Decide to do the things that make you what you want to become, now. Re-read the Sermon on the Mount, and let those words sink into your soul. Better words have never been spoken. Turn those words into self-talk, self-advice. Read the Sermon on the Mount every day for a week. Let it speak to you all the time. Resolve to put each ideal into practice, as far as you can.
- Forgive every person who has done you wrong. Do it now. Jesus counselled this on numerous occasions, and even enforced His words with the statement that you must forgive up to "70 times 7" (or 77 times, as the NIV has it). His point was that forgiveness is continual. It can never be ignored, and we must always be ready to do it. Failure to forgive keeps you a prisoner of the person whom you don't forgive, and in a telling illustration, Jesus talks about turning the person who won't forgive "over to the torturers." Those who do not forgive are tortured souls, and the person whom they leave unforgiven is their jailer. Once you do forgive, you free yourself to live the new year as God intended.