The hero in the novel The Man Who Lost Himself trails a suspect to a Paris hotel. To learn the suspect’s room number without arousing suspicion, the hero gives the clerk his own name and asks if a man by that name is registered. While the clerk checks the room list, the hero plans to watch for the suspect’s number. To the hero’s surprise, the clerk doesn’t check the list. He simply says, “He’s in room 40; he’s expecting you”. The hero follows the bellhop to room 40. When the door opens, he sees a man who is his double, except that he’s heavier and older. It is the hero himself twenty years in the future. The story is science fiction, but it contains an important truth. There’s a person in everyone’s future. It is the person we are becoming. We create ourselves into the persons we become. We do that by the values we pursue and by the choices we make each day. Every decision, bit by bit, makes us who we are. Who I will be in ten or twenty years depends on what I choose to do today. That is why today and its decisions are so important. If I consciously choose today to be generous with those in need and I continue to make those kinds of decisions, then, in the future, I will be a person with a generous heart. If I refuse to forgive others over and over again, or if I cheat and steal regularly, then I will become in my whole person, a thief or a bitter man or woman. In his letter to the Romans, St. Paul says that “every one of us will have to give an account to God”. (14:12) The account we give is the person we have created ourselves to be. Who will I be when I stand before the Lord?
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