Bad stuff happens. That’s the reality of living in a fallen world, but some of the bad stuff that takes place in your life can be traced directly to choices you have made. Proverbs 19:3 reminds us, “A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the Lord.” In other words, a person who makes bad decisions is foolish to blame the Lord when terrible consequences follow. Do you know people like that? Are you one?
Having been a pastor for more than two decades, I have seen more than my share of human train wrecks. As I sit here I recall the tears of so many wounded people who struggle with internal issues and external struggles. Some of these were cause by the uncaring and unthinking decisions of others. Some were caused by circumstances beyond their control. But very often the problems being faced are self-inflicted wounds – the end result of a series of very poor choices.
As children we are taught not to touch a hot stove or to stick anything into an electrical outlet. As parents we know that it is our job to warn our children at every stage of life. From teaching them not to stick green beans up their nose to warning them not to text and drive, parents seek to guide their children to make wise decisions. We have learned from experience that life is hard but we can make it much harder by making dumb choices.
Of course, we also know from experience that both children and adults don’t seem to learn this lesson very well. How many times have you bit your tongue and thought, “I wish I hadn’t said that”? How many times have you longed to go back and fix a bad decision you made in the past? I’m with you in this. I am part of the Oops, I Did It Again Club. I have both physical and emotional scarring that are a direct result of things I have said and done in the past.
Teach your children and grandchildren well. Remind them that bad consequences often follow bad choices. They may not always listen, but keep it up. Pray for the next generation to have more wisdom than you had at their age. Be willing to use your past mistakes as a lesson for the next generation, even to the point of revealing the scars in your life. And… learn from your own mistakes.
Isn’t it amazing how some people continue to make the same mistakes over and over and over again? If you are that person, I beg you to reconsider the course of your life. Look at the scars you have that are directly related to your own actions and quit blaming God. We teach our children and grandchildren to take responsibility for their decisions and the actions that follow, but don’t forget to teach yourself the same lesson.