I didn’t know I was making an important choice that night when I walked around in the dark with the light off – a choice that enabled me to learn something I’d never understood before. Those who’ve been with me from the beginning will know that story! (See Blog Archives for May 27, 2015.)
We can’t choose our parents, our siblings, the land of our birth, or our natural giftings, but we do have control over many of our decisions. On the busy road when we drive too close to the car ahead of us. Or choose to leave home too late! When we speak…before we put our mind in gear!
Is there a difference between a choice and a decision? The first offers us more than one option. Decisions are similar, but also give us an opportunity to determine our direction. The Oxford Dictionary defines choice as ‘the act of choosing between two or more possibilities’. Decision means ‘a conclusion or resolution reached after consideration’.
I’ve made choices impetuously, not knowing they were choices. But my decisions are usually something I’m aware of, like putting my signature on the line; I’ll have to own it. With choices, I say to myself later: ‘I didn’t really look at all the options at the time’. We mightn’t ever know all the options, or the likely results of our choices. One day, we’re going to be answerable for them, whether they were sudden or deliberate. What do you think?
Millions of people have unintentionally rejected the only way to heaven. Other millions have chosen not to tell them, even though they know the truth. Both parties can choose a better way because Jesus gave us an important basic to apply in all areas of our lives. He said: Here is a simple rule of thumb for behaviour: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them!
How often do we remember to do that? Many people say they can act how they like. They maintain that their actions ‘don’t affect other people’. I believe everything I do has an effect on someone other than myself; maybe on my whole community. I don’t always realise that I’m making a choice until it’s too late to go back and start again. How much better if I thought about it more carefully.
And what about those calculated risks? It takes courage to decide to move forward on their shaky foundations, but God has always helped me to live through any difficult outcomes. He said he’ll always be present in my current life, and in my future. What a comfort!
Long before I was placed in this world, Jesus made his most vital decision. He took an enormous risk to die on that cross, but he entrusted his Spirit to his Father’s care…and God never let him down. If I ask Jesus, the one who said, ‘I am the Light of the world’, to guide me in my choices, he’ll never let me down.
Maybe you’re wondering what it was that I ‘never understood before’. Well, my mother fractured her femur when she was 79 years old. Because I’d nursed many old ladies with the same affliction, I thought I knew how she felt, but I didn’t have a clue!
When my mother had broken her arm a few years earlier, she said to me, recalling her own mother’s fracture, ‘I would treat Grandma differently if I’d known then what I know now’.
After my walk without the light on, and my own broken hip, I now understand exactly.