This is about decisions that we all make every day throughout our lives. We all make decisions, some are good and some are bad. Many are quick and some are well thought out. Some of us even make decisions not to make decisions.
Have you ever thought about doing something new and knew that it would involve a lot of work and commitment? I recently decided to learn to play the fiddle and knew that it would be hard, however I enjoy making music, I played the trumpet when I was younger and got a good feeling when it went well. My lips are not up to the task now so I thought I would try a string instrument and the violin sounded like fun. An hour or more of practice each day and it is still hard to see an improvement. But it was a decision I made and set my mind to achieve.
Some decisions affect others, well I should say that most decisions affect others in one way or another. Some decisions are for a life time, these are life changing decisions. Other decisions are daily and minor. We will call these learning decisions. Other decisions affect our character and we will call these moral decisions.
And then there are decisions that affect us at our deepest level, soul-searching decisions!
Life changing decisions
When we are young, we tend to give little thought to the decisions we make and how they will affect the rest of our life. A lot of young people take the easy route and make decisions that cost us a lot as we get older. I dropped out of school at an early age, that decision cost me a lot and later in life I had to work much harder to make up the difference. One life changing decision I made at a young age, I did think about for a long time and that was to leave home. I came up with all kinds of reasons, but what it really boiled down to was just a young restless spirit who thought the world was his and knew no danger.
Entering the Army was another life changing decision and then for three years most major decisions were made by the Army! After that getting married was another life changing decision and one that involved commitment.
Life changing decisions do not occur every day, but when they do occur your life will change direction forever. One of my biggest life changing decisions was when I was about nine or ten, I accepted Jesus as my lord and savior. He still let me make decisions right and wrong, but I firmly believe that He has watched over me and protected me when I made wrong choices. Now I have learned to trust Him in all that I do and more often consult with Him before I make those life changing decisions.
Some big life changing decisions we don’t normally think about are the dropping of the atomic bombs during World War II, or the bombing of Pearl Harbor and Hitler’s action against the Jewish population in Europe. Some decisions affect all of us and other decisions affect only the ones near us, few decisions affect only one person.
Learning decisions start when we touch a hot stove or climb out on a limb that is too small. We learn quickly from those types of decisions. These are all the small decisions we make every day and they help us to learn. As time goes on, we grow in the direction of the decisions, we choose. If we decide to take something that does not belong to us, at first it may be a small decision, but the next time we are tempted to steal it becomes a much bigger decision. Unless we make a willful hard decision to stop, it can become a habit. The same is true of good decisions, if we continue to make good decisions they can also become habits, only good habits.
When I look back on my life, I remember good and bad decisions that I made like a roller coaster, up and down. Bad decisions were met with trouble and good decisions with rewards.
As a kid I had picked up a few curse words and would use them if I hurt myself. Once when dad and I were pulling a minnow net along a creek bank, I stumped my toe and let a few choice curse words. Dad was quick to correct me and we went round and round in the creek for a while. The result of my decision to curse was more painful than the stubbed toe! To this day I have avoided the use of words to express my pain and disappointment. Instead of showing anger over cutting myself or having a car wreck, I think about what I need to do to correct the situation.
We cannot take back what has just happen, but we can look for the best decision going forward. For example when receiving a cut there will be a short time before the pain and shock set in, try to use that time to get medical attention or clean the wound before it hurts too badly. The same is true with bad decisions we make. If we make corrections quick, the resulting consequences will not be so bad. For example in the work place, when I make a wrong decision or make a mistake, I try to let my superiors know about it at once. They appreciate it and together we worked to correct the situation.
As we get older and wiser, we try to learn from the decisions that others made. We look to those that were successful in life to see what decisions they made.
Moral decisions are the processes of learning right from wrong and making decisions that follow the paths we choose. A Christian home is the best place to learn about good moral decisions. There was no better teacher than Jesus and the Bible to learn about right and wrong. Being from a Christian home I know that those values remained with me throughout my life.
Deep within each of us is also knowledge of right and wrong, and each minute of our lives we have to make decisions that we know are right or wrong. The problem is that the more often we choose to make a wrong decision, we choose not to think about it so hard the next time and so we tend to continue down the same path. I can really admire someone who has made wrong decisions all their life and then makes a major decision to change all that, live for God and do what is right. That really takes courage and strength.
Our pastor shared a story with us Sunday about some relief workers giving medical aid to people in a country in Africa. There were long lines where people were waiting eight hours or longer for medical treatment. One relief worker was going down the line praying with the people for healing, when he approached a Muslim woman who had been in line all day. When he offered to pray with her, she said he could only pray to Allah, not Jesus. When he only offered to pray to Jesus for her healing, she became upset and left the line to return home. She later returned and searched for the person that wanted to pray with her. After asking many of those in line she at last found him and asked for him to pray for her. He asked what caused her to change her mind, and she said that on the way home a man in a white robe appeared to her and pointed at her asking why had she rejected Him!
She made a life changing decision that affected her soul, and eternal life. Sometimes we need a little help in making decisions.
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