Thursday, February 21, 2008

Decisions, Decisions: Make Better Decisions Today To Avoid More Difficult Ones Later

Do you have clear biblical backing for what you believe about premarital sex? What are your convictions about divorce? What about abortion? When I ask those questions, I understand that your mind may or may not be made up yet regarding these issues. Yet, as a woman, it is very likely that you or someone you know and love will eventually be faced with making a decision regarding them.

However, you must consider that dilemmas such as these seldom begin with the situation surrounding the need to make a decision regarding them. A woman doesn’t just wake up one day and have to decide about taking a full-time job and putting her two-babies-under-two in daycare. No one is faced with a decision about whether or not to divorce his or her spouse on the spur of the moment. Even though it seems that women who get abortions are cold-hearted, that decision cannot be considered on the same level as whether or not they should take an aspirin for a headache.

On the contrary, in every circumstance mentioned, there are usually many hours, many days, and much agony associated with making that decision. Certainly, however, the need to make a final decision didn’t begin with that decision. It began with many other decisions which led up to the one which ultimately had to be made.

I read on a group discussion one evening the devastating and heartbreaking scenario of a young mother of a one-year-old baby who wanted more than anything to divorce her husband. She claimed to be a believer, however, and knew that this decision was not to be taken lightly. She began by admitting that she had married this young man without the blessing of her parents and then proceeded to list all the terrible things he had started doing after they were married. It seemed as though, from her post, that she had no idea this man was such a shady character. Just out of the blue, their marriage was in jeopardy.

I just can’t believe that. There had to be other decisions made along the way which led to this one. It began before her decision to marry him against her parents’ wishes and counsel. There must have been some point in her young life when she decided that her parents did not have her best interest in mind and that she knew better than they did what was best for her life. She must have decided that what others were saying about the love of her life was not true. All the warning signs were ignored as she decided that he was something other than what others saw him to be. By her decisions, she set herself up for having to decide whether or not she should divorce her husband.

In another sad situation, there was a couple with whom we were personally acquainted whose young teenage daughter had an abortion. Both the parents worked and she, an only child, spent many lonely hours by herself during the summer. Others who worked with them have told us that one day, without explaining why, the mother came by in the middle of the afternoon and picked up the father from the office. They both appeared very depressed, appropriately as though they were going to a funeral. When they returned about an hour later, the co-workers noticed the mother crying as she drove off. The father, in a despairing tone, said to those looking on, “You just don’t know what you will do when it’s your daughter.” They all knew what he meant.

What decisions were made leading up to the decision for their daughter to have an abortion? There was the evident decision for them both to work, believing that their daughter was “old enough” to be left alone. There was the decision on the part of the daughter to bring the boyfriend into the home when her parents were not there. Whether or not the decision to sleep together was made ahead of time, doesn’t matter. At some point they decided to go through with it. However, it is entirely possible that the young lady had no choice in the matter once things were well under way. Regardless, the decisions made by both the parents and their daughter set them all up for the decision of whether or not to have an abortion.

Consider how many couples are faced with the decision of whether or not Mom should take a full-time job outside the home and put the babies in daycare. While it is true that many couples decide to do just that even before they marry, more and more young women are so committed to staying at home with their children that they won’t even date a man who doesn’t agree with that conviction. Yet, regardless of their ideals, that decision is often forced upon them when the debts are mounting and financial ends just aren’t meeting. Though the decision before marriage to have Mom stay at home while Dad provides for the family is a commendable one, a couple who doesn’t also decide ahead of time to live within their means is setting themselves up to have to make the very decision they thought they had already nailed down.

So, where does the first decision begin? It begins in the heart. Heart decisions enable the eyes of our understanding to see clearly the path before us. The writer of Proverbs 4:23 was very wise when he said, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Since it is clearly stated in Jeremiah that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”, where will you find the means of keeping your heart? The answer: “ I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins (Jeremiah 17:9, 10).[1]

Proverbs 4:26 says, “Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.” You must prayerfully ponder the path of your feet. A wise woman will pray that the Lord will keep her eyes fixed on where she is headed. She will ask Him to give her clear eyes to see, far off into the future, all the possible consequences of the decisions she is making today.

Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Of course, your counselors must be wiser than you are. Therefore, do not bother seeking advice from foolish peers or from secular talk-show hosts. Instead, prayerfully study the Word of God regarding the issues which impact you as a woman. Then, depending on the situation, seek the counsel of your parents or husband and perhaps schedule an appointment with your parents or husband to go with you to speak with your pastor. 

Also, seek out the godliest, older women you can find and sit for awhile at their feet. You may have to do so on the internet or through books, but you must do it if you are to learn to make biblical decisions regarding your life as a woman (Titus 2:3-5).

They say that hindsight is always 20/20. Yet, I hope you will agree, considering the magnitude of the consequences of your decisions, some 20/20 foresight is also in order.

A prudent man foreseeth the evil,
and hideth himself;
but the simple pass on,
and are punished.
- Proverbs 27:12

[1] The Old English definition of reins is “the inmost being; the seat of the affections and passions.” See the following references: Clifford H. Readout, Jr., Bible Studies,, 14 June 2007 (21 February 2008); The Free Online Dictionary; Farlex, Inc., 2008 (21 February 2008).