“God, having placed good and evil in our power, has given us full freedom of choice; He does not keep back the unwilling, but embraces the willing.” – John Chrysostom
More than a century ago, the Titanic set sail on her maiden voyage across North Atlantic. But just five days into the trip from England to New York City, the luxury liner collided with an iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland; consumed by damage she sank, killing more than 1,500 passengers and crew. Some minor mistakes, some not so minor mistakes and one major mistake sent the Titanic to its tragic end in April 1912. The major mistake was there was only 6 lifeboats, enough for only about one-third to one-half of the passengers on board.
In spite of good intentions, in spite of thinking before we act, we still make good decisions, bad decisions and maybe even an ugly decision or two. Recent research found that 47 percent of Americans are dealing with the consequences of a bad decision on some level. Nearly one out of every two people are dealing with issues related to a bad choice. So what do we do when we make bad decisions? If God is behind our plans, why does God let us take the wrong direction? Does scripture give us specific formulas on how to deal correctly with every situation we face, good or bad?
One of the worst decisions ever made was made by Adam and Eve. It would be hard to think of a decision that has more far-reaching ramifications. You know the story. God places the two people, Adam and Eve, in the idyllic garden of Eden, encouraging them to procreate and to enjoy the created world fully, and forbidding them to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But they choose to eat the fruit of that tree and in doing so, disobeyed God. Sin enters the world, and life and the decisions that go with life became a lot more difficult. But I want to you to take note on something in this story found in Genesis 3.
Genesis 3:8-9 says, “When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” After eating the forbidden fruit, they try to hide from God, but God goes after them. God calls to Adam and asks the first question attributed to God in the Bible: “Where are you?” (3:9). We see the grace of God in the fact that He came looking. God could have zapped them both on the spot and started over with a new couple. He could have waited a while. Let them stew in their own juice. Let them hide behind those silly fig leaves, cowering in fear every time they hear a noise in the bushes. Let them pay for what they’ve done. But the implication is that God came looking the same day Adam and Eve sinned. That was pure grace. God doesn’t seek us because we deserve it. We deserve His judgment, but He seeks us bad decisions and all.
We will make some bad decisions to be sure. We may feel like God can’t want anything to do with us after all the bad decisions we have made. The Bible says that God is seeking you in order to develop an intimate relationship with the God whom you have met personally through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is graciously calling, “Where are you?” no matter how many bad decisions you have made.
- What should we do when we make a bad decision?
- If our sin separates us from God, how does making a good, wise choice draw us closer to him?
- If you decide today to spend the next week asking God to empower you to make good choices, what do you think might happen as a result?
- If Jesus is the answer to making wise choices, how can you find help from Him this week?