I am driving to work one morning and an inconsiderate driver jumps out in front of me from a side street. I had to slam on my brakes to keep from hitting him, since he decided to go as slowly as possible. I like to think he knew he was wrong but went ahead and made a bad choice. I’ll never know why he couldn’t wait another ten seconds, why he didn’t speed up, or why he thought it was worth an accident to get in front of me.
What I do know is that my actions were based on his bad decision. That I was able to prevent an accident by anticipating his wrong choice.
As I sat in my car berating him, God stepped in. Of course He would step into my frustration and give me a nugget of wisdom. Wisdom that hit me right between the eyes.
How many bad decisions do I make each day that impact and potentially hurt others?
- How many careless and harsh words have I spoken?
- How many mistakes have I willingly (or voluntarily) made?
- How many times have I walked all over people in order to get my way?
- How many times have I dismissed someone who doesn’t meet my standards?
- How many times have I judged someone by my standards and ideologies?
- How many times have I badgered and nagged and pestered someone to prove I am right?
- How many times have I lost my temper and lashed out at someone?
How many regrets do I have?
If I am honest, there are more moments than I would wish. None of the moments are filled with grace or God’s goodness. Because I made life all about me. Because I deemed my life and my happiness more important that anyone else’s.
And in the process I created hurt feelings and regrets.
Yes, sometimes bad things happen to good people. Some people attribute this to life handing you lemons. But sometimes we are simply facing the consequences of our (bad) choices. For every action, word, and choice we make there is a consequence. Sometimes good, sometimes bad.
Genesis 8:22 says that what we say and do brings a response (or consequence). Always. Whether it takes a few minutes, a few days, or a few years, there will always be a prize or a price for every choice I make. Luke 6:38 says that the choice we make determines the “measure” or the consequence we’ll receive in return.
- What kind of choices are you making?
- Are you words happy or judgmental?
- Are your actions loving or exclusionary?
- Are your reactions careful or careless?
- Do you think before you speak or act?
- Do you want to get along with people, no matter what it takes?
- Do you do everything you can to create peace around you?
- Are you willing to bite your tongue and not respond?
- Can you let someone be wrong without having to prove it to them?
I know, it’s so hard. As I sit here typing and processing all this, I am deeply convicted. It is hard sometimes to show unconditional love to people, especially at the cost of our silence. It is not easy to walk away from an argument and make that one last point that the other person is wrong. It is hard to bite your tongue and not lash back.
But it is possible. I’ve actually been successful at it a few times. And one moment of success brings the hope that there is a better way for next time.
So let the argument go. Don’t say anything in response. Walk out of the room and leave the argument behind.
And let go of any hurt feelings or unexpressed anger.
Let today be the day you make a better choice.
Marie Fremin. 1/31-2/1/15