I have to share another quote from Sir Gibbie (affiliate link!). This one is about a woman who runs a drinking joint. She liked to say that having a reputable place for the lost souls of the world to drink in saved these people from themselves… otherwise they’d commit suicide, or perhaps get into other trouble. And so, even though this lady has heard all her life that strong drink is of the devil, she has justified to herself reasons for this mode of making her living.
I find this fascinating. Justification and excuses are some powerful stuff. It’s worth pointing out that you can, if you wish, always find a way to justify any course of action to yourself. And, if you talk to “the wicked” people in the world, and talk to them about their choices, you’ll find that they always have justifications and excuses, and usually well-reasoned ones at that.
Anyway, here’s that quote that made me stop and think:
The truth was that, like her customers, she also was going down the hill, justifying to herself every step of her descent. Until lately, she had been in the way of going regularly to church, and she did go occasionally yet, and always took the yearly sacrament; but the only result seemed to be that she abounded the more in finding justifications, or, where they were not to be had, excuses, for all she did. Probably the stirring of her conscience made this the more necessary to her peace. (pg. 13-14)
This made me ask myself the question… do I view the good I do as simply making up for the bad? It’s a good, searching question, and I think it’s fitting to remember that eternal salvation doesn’t work that way. Good acts do not pay for bad ones; the atonement and grace of Christ pay for bad choices.