We have experienced tragedy to us, our friends, to our family, which was not easy for us to understand, and of course we’ve questioned why. We’ve asked God why - This is why we felt we needed to write this blog, to help explain what we’ve learned through God’s word, and our own experiences. There is much to talk about with this topic, and this will only be a part of what we feel is important to share to start the conversation. We hope if you’re reading this, it helps you, as it has helped us.
We Make Our Own Decisions (God gave us free will)
When you’re a child, growing up, you learn right from wrong from your parents guidance, or a mentor, neighbor or friend - Ex: If you touch fire, it will burn. If you touch a sharp object you will get hurt. You choose to listen to the guidance you are given, and not go near the oven or touch the sharp object to keep yourself out of harm's way.
As we become adults, those choices multiply. And without God and his proper guidance in our lives, the temptations of this world can distract us from making the right decision. If we make a wrong decision, it not only can affect ourselves, but it can affect other people emotionally or physically.
1 - The decision to cheat: a husband or wife decides to cheat on their spouse. This will affect the entire family. Not only does the spouse lose trust, but so do the children, and family. The children may also have a hard time trusting their own relationships as they get older. This one decision has now affected many lives, and could have been avoided.
2 - The decision to drink and drive: This choice can affect many people. If the person gets caught it affects their relationships with family, friends and possibly their career. If the person gets into an accident, it will also affect the other family. And if ‘God Forbid’ someone is killed from that accident, then a family is now affected for the rest of their lives from that one decision.
When we choose to not do the right thing:
People that choose bad decisions in their life are not inherently evil, they just choose to not do the right thing. We are not saying there are no evil people in the world, because unfortunately there are, we are saying that good people - can make bad decisions.
Why? - As human beings, we find ourselves wanting to take the “easy way out”, because it doesn’t require as much effort. That’s where the internal battle begins between our own human comforts, vs. the “right thing to do”.
For example, it’s much harder to speak up or stick up for someone that you see is being hurt or bullied, because you yourself can get hurt if you choose to intervene, versus, just avoiding the conflict, and walking away. “greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” John 15:13.
God is not saying to sacrifice your life, but what he is saying is, sometimes it’s harder to make the right decision out of love and self sacrifice, than to have your own wants and comforts to take priority over others.
Let's use the two scenarios mentioned earlier:
Why Doesn’t God Stop It from happening?
You could start to blame God for a decision that was made by a human being. You may then ask “Why didn’t God stop the bad decision from being made, knowing it would cause harm to others?”
We believe God tries to stop us all from making the wrong decisions - But - it is our choice not to listen, because we were given free will.
What Does Free Will Have To Do With It?
Imagine if our parents made every decision for us as we grew up. Eventually we would feel smothered, and the first chance we get, we would leave, to be on our own, without them. Some children would even be resentful, and purposefully make bad decisions knowing it would hurt their parents, just to be vengeful for all the years they were hurt.
God doesn't want us to resent him, which is why God will not make the decisions for us. He will not force his hand on us to take his path for us. He can and has guided us along the way, to try and remind us of compassion, love, kindness, and empathy. He does this through our own consciousness, and by the people he brings into our lives.
How does God help guide us to make the right decision?
Do you ever hear your conscious ask you “is this right? Should I be doing this?”, but you do it anyway?
Has anyone ever tried to stop you from making a poor decision you are about to make?
Have you ever felt in your heart that what you’re about to do is not right, and things happen to cause you not to get to your destination or take the action you were uncertain of? How can you explain it? Is it just a coincidence? NO - These are all ways God intercedes to try and stop us from making bad decisions.
But we still have the ultimate choice, and can still find a way to do the wrong thing.
This is why it is so important to keep our relationship strong with God - so that when he speaks to our hearts, we know it’s his voice. The stronger our relationship with God, the more likely our choices will be influenced through him, keeping us from harm's way, while becoming an example for others, inspiring strength in others to do the same.
Why should we do what God wants?
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. - Jeremiah 29:11
God does not want us to have hard times. Because of our free will, when we make bad decisions, we put ourselves in bad circumstances. Although, God will always be there for us.
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” - Corinthians 10:13
How are we held accountable for our free will - our decisions?
God loves us so much that he doesn’t want us to suffer in Hell. He wants us to be with him in Heaven. And so the suffering we endure here on Earth, is to help us avoid eternal suffering in Hell.
Heaven doesn’t have any free passes. You either do God’s will and fulfill his purpose for you on this earth, or you do your own will and you suffer the consequences. If other people have to suffer the consequences for your wrong doing, then you may wind up suffering the consequences at a later time in your life, especially if you do nothing to ask for forgiveness for the wrongs you committed against those people.
Is Heaven Real?
In the end, our judgement against others, our lack of compassion, or our avoidance to help others goes against what God wants us to do, and he has made it so simple for us to remember which is:
“Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another…. Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going” - John 14: 1-4
We all want to believe there is a God, and a Heaven for us to call “home” after we leave this Earth. If you read the word of God, you will know there is. And to get there, just continue to build your relationship with God, and trust in his decision for your life.
For who can you trust more than man, than the one true God, who has all patience and love for you, waiting for you to come back to him.