Friday, September 23, 2011

You Don't Always Get A Choice

This idea popped into my head while discussing some biblical issues with my daughter yesterday. Her non-Christian friend commented that since God gave us free will then we are free to make a choice and it's 'all good' - with a controversial topic being discussed. Perplexed as my daughter was, she couldn't think of a response at that moment so she asked me later. I told her that yes & no regarding the whole issue of free will and choice. We are given free will to choose. We can choose what's right or wrong, truth or untruth, God or the world. but when it comes down to God's word and how we are to live, there are many instances where we DON'T get a choice! Period! No gray area! You believe or you don't! We can't pick some things out of the bible to follow and then discard the rest. As Mark Driscoll quoted on his Facebook page:
"If you believe what you like in the Gospel, and reject what you don't like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself." - Augustine

There are so many instances in life and what we see daily that counter this idea such as. . . .
I can't say I believe in God's blessings of wealth, prosperity and then discard where he says we are to look after the poor - Matthew 19:20-24

I can't say I believe in the sanctity of marriage and then bail when we hit a rocky path (note today's approx. 50% divorce rate) - Matthew 5:31-32

I can't say I believe that children are a blessing but then say that the kids I have are enough, don't bless me anymore God! - Psalm 127: 3-5

I can't say I believe that Jesus was persecuted and died for me yet I don't think as a Christian I am subject to any level of discomfort for my faith - Mark 8:34-38

And this one being the hardest for me . . . . I can't say that I believe God has forgiven me yet I don't feel someone else is worthy of forgiveness - Luke 17:3, Matthew 6:14-15

Yes, we are to rebuke out of love hoping to achieve repentance so we can forgive but we live in a broken world. Evil exists and it's real as it manifests in the hearts of so many. I honestly am not waiting for an "I'm sorry" from my NM or EF. I've struggled with what forgiveness is supposed to look like then if I don't get repentance? Max Lucado, in his book 'Cast of Characters', had an idea. . . .
"To forgive someone is to admit our limitations. We've been given only one piece of life's jigsaw puzzle. Only God has the cover of the box. To forgive someone is to display reverence. Forgiveness is not saying the one who hurt you was right. Forgivenss is stating that God is fair and he will do what is right. After all, don't we have enough things to do without trying to do God's work too?"

So do I have a choice to forgive or not? Yes. No. I don't get a choice. I am to forgive. Then let God do the rest with the other party involved. Forgiving someone who's wronged me is for me; not always them. It's saying I forgive for the past while also saying that from this point forward I'm a new person. What was done before will not be acceptable now. A chasm in the relationship with a new beginning. No longer allowing abuse. Yes. Forgiveness is for me. It's not approving, diminishing the sin done against me, it's not enabling those who keep doing wrong, it's not denying what was done, it doesn't need an apology back, it's not about forgetting or ceasing to feel the pain, it may not be a one-time occurence, it leaves room for justice, it doesn't automatically extend trust back to those who damaged our trust, and most importantly. . . . forgiveness is NOT always about reconciliation.

*Thnx to Mark Driscoll's blog posting on Forgiveness at Mars Hill*


  1. Amen about what you said about Forgiveness, especially the part where forgiveness does NOT always mean reconciliation.

    What young children, non-christians and baby christians don't understand that we have been given the gift of free will, and with freedom comes responsibility, meaning you will be held accountable for the choices you make. Choose the Blessed path by following what GOD recommends, commands, and warns us to do or learn the hard way and bring misery to your life. The choice is still our's to make. Trust GOD has our best interest at heart and follow as He says like a child who knows her loving parent's advice is for her own good, or rebel against it and bring harmful things into your life. I always tell my little girl, the choice is your's to make and attached to that choice is the consequence, with a 4 yr. old she does not want to accept or understand that she does not get to also choose her consequences. As you know as a loving parent who cares how her children are going to turn out, if the undesirable behavior or attitude is not modified or changed, lack of repentance, then you got to increase the extent of the consequence. That's life. People who do not care about righteousness and only care about getting want they right now have to learn the hard way, they keep making the same mistake over and over again until the totality of their bad choices brings a largest pain where they say, well, I'm not going to do that again. As we know those who lack empathy do not care how their actions and choices hurt others, only themselves hence the need for harsh punishments for those who lack empathy and remorse and only want to avoid pain or discomfort for themselves. As a parent we want our kids to make the righteous choice not because they want to avoid punishment, but because they want and desire to do what's right by GOD.

  2. I collected a note book of articles and scriptures on forgiveness. The kind I was taught in my childhood was unhealthy. The kind you describe is very similar to the conclusions that I found. Thanks for the link to Mark Driscoll's blog I found him once and then forgot to mark it.
    Thanks, Ruth