Had a great discussion with someone today, they are struggling with a number of issues and they asked some specific questions, to which I have written some specific answers.
And here they are ...
Life presents us with a number of opportunities, but always only two choices:
We can choose to live as we wish, seeing ourselves as right in our own eyes and demanding what we want from those around us
We can choose to live in obedience to God's Word and deny ourselves, our wishing to be in the spotlight, or applauded or given status and authority and forgive those who hurts us, love those who annoy us (and that is truly not always easy - I know, I try continuously with this one) and put others first.
Bringing things down to these two states and making the point that regardless of who we are and what we profess to believe (or disbelieve) that every action we take can be reduced to but two questions, 'Right' or 'Wrong', presents me (and therefore I hope this means 'you' too) with some real challenges.
Today I was told that someone's actions were fixed because of who they were and this meant that they had 'no choice' regarding decisions they had made - and this is wrong thinking.
Someone I know is an alcoholic, but the fact they drink is recognised by all around them as being a choice they make, even if it is fuelled and influenced by their alcoholism.
Someone else I know is in a sexual relationship with another person. They tell me that they have no choice regarding that relationship and are unhappy when I tell them that they do. Those around them occupy various positions, some agree, some disagree and others merely look the other way and operate on the basis that 'not knowing means they don't have to have a viewpoint (and that's another choice that someone has made).
Another person, seeking to oppress others has used the power of breaking relationships and excluding people from the family. They tell friends that they have no choice and yet we can be the peacemakers or we can be the aggressors. Once again it's a choice and the problem is that those on the sidelines are invited in to side with them (another choice made) and strengthen the factor and the viewpoint of the aggressor.
The reality is that everything is a choice: Each step, every action and all out thinking (unless there are real mental health issues that is). When we see people making choices that we think are wrong (in the Christian sense this means because their actions go against what God says is right) we are faced with a choice:
Do nothing - this might be ignoring the act or condoning it. Either way, nothing is done to correct the 'error', is it?
Do something - we are called to challenge those caught up in sinful things (thought, action or lifestyle) in such a way that they are restored, not condemned, and that we should be careful that we do not sin in our correcting of others; a real and present danger when seeking to advise or correct.
At the end of the day, the biggest problem I find when engaged with Christians especially is the excuse that the Bible is out of date and out of touch with the modern world and, better still, that 'God is silent on their particular issue. I'd like to offer a little graphic to those who tell me that last bit: