Choices

The little boy jumped up and down on his bed excitedly.   He was going fishing with Daddy after his nap!  He had jumped the blue and red comforter almost all the way off of the bed by the time Daddy scolded him.   Daddy told him to rest a few hours and then they would go.  He laid down and tried to close his eyes.  Meanwhile, Daddy told Mommy that he had to run out to do an errand, or to go hunting, or to see a friend.  Mommy believed him.  Instead, Daddy was headed somewhere else.

I can’t help but wonder if this was the story behind the minivan I saw parked at the “adult” store we passed on the way home from a trip away yesterday.

Lives destroyed by our choices.  Not only our own lives are affected by our choices, but the lives of our families.  In this case, it is a choice to visit an “adult” store.   Instead of working things out at home, it is easier to just run away.  But, even if we have no inclination to visit an “adult” store…EVER…we still have choices to make, don’t we?  Choices that affect those around us.

Choices as damaging as lingering over coffee with a co-worker of the opposite sex long after business has been discussed.  Or perhaps it is something as simple as choosing to watch TV instead of playing and having fun with your kids.  But both of these decisions have consequences.

Choices based only on our own selfish desires are almost always destined for bad consequences.

I can remember years ago, when I was in the habit of turning on Oprah, an episode about “successful” women.   Most of these women were heads of multi-million dollar companies or had developed wonderful charities.  There was one thing each of these women had in common.   If I remember correctly, I think all of them had gotten divorced through the process of fulfilling their “dream”.

They had made a choice to “follow their hearts” and had chosen their desires over their families.  They were praised and applauded for making this choice by the world.

But if they could do it again, would they find it worth it?   Were they really happy?  Or were those plastered smiles on their made-up faces covering a whole host of hurt, pain, and questions?  Who determined that being the head of a multi-million dollar company deserves the praise of the world but choosing the selfless way of being a wife and mother does not?

If I am being honest here, and I may as well be, or you won’t even want to read what I am writing…I really struggle with making selfish choices.  Oh, not the big things…but in the little things.  The things that reap small, negative consequences…like strained relationships.  And almost every time I make a choice based on my selfish desire, without care for anyone else’s feelings or thoughts on the choice, I find myself in the midst of arguments, hurt feelings, and chaos.

You see, the world will tell you to focus on yourself and what YOU want.  This message is plastered on billboards.  It is on almost every reality TV show.  It is the message of many a magazine article.  We find this message everywhere.  We find it everywhere– except in the Bible.  Not once in the Bible do I find a command to think of myself first when making a choice.   It is always about thinking of God first.  Of others first.

A difficult command to live out in today’s culture.

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