Monday, April 7, 2008

Sin cost-benefit analysis

In business whenever a new project is conceived it goes through cost-benefit analysis to determine whether it will produce benefits that are suitable for the cost involved. If there is not going to be more benefit gained than cost outlaid it typically doesn't go ahead.

I was thinking today about sin in the light of cost-benefit analysis. I think one of the things we do when we decide to sin is we ignore the 'cost' side of the situation. We only tend to see the 'benefit' that it will bring us in the immediate, and ignore the costs associated. We particularly tend to ignore the costs to other people for our sin. Costs we later have to deal with ourselves are FAR more motivating towards good behaviour.

One example would be the twerp who stole the badge off the back of my car yesterday in the church car-park. It's a hunk of plastic with some silver paint on it. Albeit it's a french hunk of plastic with silver paint, but nonetheless, still it's not a particularly practical item. So I would really question the value of having stolen it. I mean WHAT are they going to do with it?? (I can tell you what I'd like to do with it... fasten the thing to their foreheads with superglue given that they love it so much... grr mumble mumble) So benefit = negligible. However the cost to me is (a) a whole bucket load of annoyance, (b) $50 to replace it from my local friendly (read extortionate) Citroen dealer, (c) potentially have the car off the road for a few hours while it's fitted as the half broken bits and old glue will need to be cleaned up before the new one can be fitted. So cost to me is greater than the amount of benefit they could hope to get out of it. Stealing the whole car would have made MUCH MORE SENSE.

So maybe when we are tempted, we should do a bit of a cost-benefit analysis. And not just the cost to us, but the cost to others too. Is it really worth satisfying our desires when the costs are so high???

God bless,

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