The Things I Have Not Done

“the shadows of deeds that were never done¦” Theodore Roosevelt, 1916

When the world spins down to its end – a possibility that seems more likely with every day this version of humanity careens along its broken path – each of us, from Adam and Eve to everyone living in that final day, will face judgement. That seems a scary prospect. I certainly don’t want to stand before the throne of our Creator and have Him unfold to the entirety of humankind all I have done wrong. I mean, how many of the Top Ten (that’s the Ten Commandments – you know, Moses, stone tablets, the Book of Exodus – for the uninitiated) have you broken? Murder? Maybe not, but abortion is murder and how many accomplices to that are there in the world today? But what about honoring your father and mother? or lying? or stealing? or choosing a way other than God’s way? You know what your list includes, all the things you tried to keep secret because you know they were wrong. And that means this judgement thing is going to take forever, not that that is a real concern of God’s. I’m not a really bad guy or anything, but even my list would take a good, long time. Imagine the list for the Hitler’s of the world. Any way you look at it, it’s not a pretty picture for any of us.

But, it turns out it’s even worse than we thought. It seems God is not interested in what we did wrong. He knows we’re all screw-ups and that’s what forgiveness is for anyway. No, God is more interested in what we didn’t do right. If we had chosen what God wanted us to do instead of what we wanted to do, what would our lives look like? Would we still have broken our share of the Top Ten? Probably, but what about the lives we would have touched, the hearts we would have changed, the people we would have become? Perhaps he’ll show us what the lives of all those babies we aborted would have been. The Einsteins, the Mozarts, the mothers and fathers.

It makes me weep to wonder upon what I have not done. For fifteen years during the most productive time of my youth I turned from what God wanted. Even now, as I struggle and still fail to follow His path for me, the immense possibilities of those years can not be recovered. That loss is what our judgment will reveal to us. It recalls to mind the quote from Theodore Roosevelt that opens this commentary. Our judgment is not a list of the things we did wrong, it is “the shadows of deeds that were never done.”

2 thoughts on “The Things I Have Not Done

  1. Very moving & provocative thoughts even for the Mother Teresas of this world. Brings to mind the words of James 4:17, “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” The more we ask each new day for Him to guide our steps and thoughts – and are obedient to follow His leading – the easier it becomes to hear His voice & to walk in His will.

  2. It is said that confession is good for the soul. After this piece, your soul must feel as though it’s had a long, cool drink of water. Feels good, no?

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