October 28, 2021
Reflections – Decisions! pt.2
Most good decisions that I have learned occur when I am feeling good and unstressed. Conversely, when I am not physically or emotionally steady, it is so very easy to “go off the deep end” and make awful choices, choices that I will surely regret in hindsight. Have you ever experienced that? The same thing applies to safety, for sin, and in relationships.
This past weekend I was reminded of an important aspect of training to ride a motorcycle. As you can imagine, motorcycles are much less forgiving than are passenger cars.
If you make a mistake on a motorcycle, it can cause severe injury or even death as you go flying off the bike and onto the pavement. In motorcycle training classes, students are taught an acronym: H A L T. These letters stand for:
If any one of these conditions exists, it is likely to impair one’s awareness and result in a poor decision, either in life or while driving that motorcycle down the road. If any two of these conditions exist, they exponentially increase the risk of making a bad choice. Note that this is 100% true in the area of sin and temptation. Dr. Jeff Christian suggests that if one comes upon a need to make a choice at a time you are physically or emotionally off-balance, then it may be best to just take a break before acting.
Pause, Question, Decide
Andy Stanley advises that when we realize something is “not quite right,” it is best to do three things: Pause, Question, and then Decide. He has discovered that behind every good decision are good questions. And good questions usually take some time to be heard. They seldom rise quickly to the surface if we are physically or emotionally stressed.
One barometer in the arena of sin is to think of it as “anything that you know is not the way it should be.” As soon as we recognize something is not entirely as it should be, it is time to pause, question, and wait to take the better path.
You see, our decisions are life-forming actions. They are like a steering wheel, a steering wheel of life. We decide our way into the future, one choice at a time. That is true both in public and in private. And private decisions invariably result in public consequences.
Here are five key questions that we will consider in the coming weeks. If you answer them honestly and act on the answer, you will receive a great “return on your investment.”
Question 1. Am I being honest with myself?
Question 2. What story am I telling? Will I be seen in the future as the villain or the hero?
Question 3. What is the tension here that is demanding attention? Conscience waves a red flag.
Question 4. What is the wise thing to do?
Question 5. What does love demand?
Question 5 is the clincher. To love is to will the good of another. Learning to love like Jesus is the greatest challenge we will face for the rest of our lives. It will affect every decision we will face in dealing with others. Remember the time Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. Study that passage, along with the one that tells of how Jesus dealt with the “rich young ruler.” It is a big deal.
Well, I hope that gives you something to think about in the coming week. Tune in next time, and we’ll dive deeper into “Decisions!”.
Peace and Blessings,
- Better Decisions, Fewer Regrets by Andy Stanley
- The motorcycle example was shared in a Sunday Sermon by Dr. Jeff Christian, 26 September 2021, Bering Drive Church of Christ
- Sermon series at the MacArthur Park Church of Christ, San Antonio, September 2021
Note: The opinions expressed herein are those of the Chaplain alone and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs of any organization he may be associated with.