Procrastination serves only to delay, increase consequences

It can wait until tomorrow.

How often have you and I said that? No matter how good we are at our to-do lists and daily schedules, procrastination is a way of life. We should know better, yet the best laid plans can lead to delay. Besides, in these turbulent times, everything seems to have an urgent top priority, making it easier to rationalize our moves. When stress seems to engulf each day, what's the real harm if we hold off … and tune out more often?

Here's the problem: Some things cannot wait, especially when life choices and eternally significant decisions are at stake. Some of today's most difficult issues cannot be put off any longer. And if we can't tune into needs that demand action these days, what exactly are we waiting for?

When watching Jay Leno's "Jaywalking" bits, I'm amazed by the number of people who seem to live in another world. The daily news and current events seem to have no place on their agendas. Most of their energy and passion seems targeted for personal focus and pleasure. They have no clue who's in charge (love when people think it's Obama and McCain as president and VP), or how our system of government works. Sure, we can all use a little vacation from hard, cold realities once in a while … but all the time?

On economic issues, the events of recent months reveal how much we've missed the basics in education, too. Civics lessons have taken a back seat to social engineering. One of my favorite (albeit scary) TV clips from the last election featured a woman claiming that if her presidential candidate was elected, she'd no longer have to worry about paying her mortgage, buying food or filling her gas tank. Lots of people think that's how it all works.

Challenge someone like that with real issues and circumstances, responses usually include: "Oh, but it's all so complicated" or "It really doesn't make any difference anyway."

Political correctness has also compounded the situation. Over the years Americans have been so constantly hammered with PC mantras on "controversial" issues that many people just don't want to share their views. The far-left has been much more effective than the right (and much of the faith community) in stifling dissent.


Taboo topics
We're told it's best not to discuss politics, religion, homosexuality or abortion because they're such hot topics. Isn't that exactly why we should discuss them … and sooner rather than later? The more we're stuck in procrastination-nation mode, the deeper the damage goes.

The "A" word came up at our house right before the Super Bowl game last month. Remember all of the attention paid to the Focus on the Family TV ad featuring the bold, overtly Christian football star Tim Tebow and his Mom? During the pre-game show, I talked about the issue with a visiting friend. He asked why it was "controversial" (according to media frenzy hype) and I explained it was all because the Tebows are pro-life. I then added how much Planned Parenthood hated the ad, judging even before seeing it.

As the discussion continued, our friend asked, "what's the big deal about Planned Parenthood?" He shared that back in his hometown in the Midwest "they just help people." He had no idea about how, when you follow the influence and money in that world, it leads to abortion on demand. We had a good, civil chat but in the end he added that he didn't think that was an appropriate topic to be anywhere near the Big Game on television, preferring people just don't talk about such things.


Consider the stakes
Well, why not? Let's face facts: This national administration is the most pro-abortion in U.S. history. The very essence of life at the start and end of our time on this earth is being debated by a bumper crop of bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., all wrapped up in the health care "reform" battles.

Meanwhile, lots of people choose to sit back, hoping the issue will either fade away or be dealt with by someone else. Procrastination can have life-and-death consequences. Ignoring the news and factual information and avoiding participation won't make an issue or issues go away. On the contrary, that's when elected officials tend to make assumptions: Didn't hear anything from the other side so we'll just go with our "gut."

The abortion topic is just one example. The same thing goes for sharing our faith with others. Our world has been unraveling for the last couple of years and governmental authorities are still grasping for solutions. Yet far too many Christians think it's still OK to wait before reaching out in encouragement. Again, the rationalization goes something like this: I might offend the other person by bringing up the issue. Maybe someone else will do this.

Or the killer: I'll wait until the time is right.


Desperate for hope
Think about that last one. We're in the continuing saga of (and we're told every five minutes or so) "the worst economy since the Great Depression." People are losing their homes, dreams are shattered and relationships are crashing like high surf on the beaches. While there has been some encouragement on the pro-life front (such as more teens surveyed noting greater respect for life), the abortion mills continue cranking out ghastly numbers and Americans continue to find out the hard way that it's just not good medicine ... with life-long ripple effects.

In these crazy, unsettled, nervous and crucial times, if not us, who will take a stand? Who will share the Good News?

And if not now, then WHEN?


Larson is a veteran Southern California radio/television personality and media consultant. He can be heard daily in San Diego on KCBQ 1170AM from 7 to 9 a.m., and on KPRZ 1210AM from 2 to 3:30 p.m. E-mail: mark@marklarson.com.

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Published, March 2010