Thursday, March 6, 2014
Sometimes it is much easier to be told what to do. Even though I griped and complained when I was a child, it was more that a little comforting to know that I didn't have to make a lot of decisions. I put on the clothes my mom laid out for me, ate the food placed before me, went where my parents took me- all without having to think for myself. As I grew older I was able to make those decisions for myself, but that came at a price. Are these clothes alright for where I am going? There are so many things on this menu - what should I order? Which college should I attend? Today's readings (Deuteronomy 30: 15-20 and Luke 9: 22-25) are very clear that we have choices to make when it comes to our relationship with God. Follow what He wants, or go in a different direction. And, naturally, each choice has consequences. And the consequences are not just for me. When I am in a relationship with another person, my choices affect that person as well. This is obvious to anyone who is a mother, father, daughter, son, husband, wife or dear friend. What struck me today is that my choices also affect God. In His infinite wisdom, the Almighty gave to human beings alone a free will. This means that, even though He "pre-programmed" us to live in a certain way, we can go against our instincts. No other creature can do this, since their natural instincts are the only thing that guides their lives. I, however, can choose to do something that God does not want. And so God has opened Himself to be hurt by me, thrilled with me, disappointed in me, proud of me- the entire range of reactions, just as in any relationship. Sometimes when I was growing up, my parents would find out that I had done something that I should not have done. I not only disappointed them, but sometimes made them sad, angry, etc. I heard more than once that "What kind of parents will people think you have?" "What you do is a reflection on us, not just yourself." "How do you think that makes us feel?" More than a concern for the opinions of others, my parents knew that I had a responsibility to live in a way that reflected the values and morals they had instilled in me. If not, they would not have considered themselves successful parents. My choices impacted them in a real way. My choices also impact God in that same way. People know (or should know) that I am a child of God. I have to question whether or not my words and actions reflect that He is my Father. I want God to be proud of me, but it is my choice. During this Lent, I think I need to be more aware of my choices, and the fact that they impact not only me, but also others in my life, including God. Just as I hated it when I disappointed my mom or dad, I need to hate it when I disappoint God. And because of this, I need to try and choose wisely. How about you?