I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
Psalm 16:7-8 NLT
Albert Camus, the French philosopher, recognised that “life is the sum of all [our] choices”. Our choices, often made with little thought as to consequence and ultimate purpose, will define our imprint in the earth. While it is easy to justify our actions to ourselves and others through rationalisation, history is littered with dictators who, judged harshly now, made a rational argument that persuaded others to work with them.
The gospel is clear. God is no enforcer. God leaves us to draw our own conclusion from all that is revealed within scripture and through Church tradition. From those conclusions our decisions are made. Once we have accepted the need for change, many choices confront us. What will our attitude be? How will we transition through the change, chosen or enforced? Will we display God’s grace? It is the opportunity to find and to live the Christian message, or a time when we react from emotions and thoughts that have not been subject to God’s scrutiny.
Viktor Frankl, the brilliant neurologist, psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor wrote: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.” That space is for me the Godspace. I enter it and must remember to pause. I can make a choice, or be subject to the emotional forces stimulated by hurt and hatred. Yet, if I am to press deeper towards God’s heart, I must choose to take a decision inspired by God’s values. Such choices, though hard, will change my life, and often other lives too.
I may need to experience a number of wrong choices en route to the best choice. But the choice is always mine to make.
What past hurts threaten to cloud your mind or poison your judgement?
Help me to pause and be guided by your Spirit, so my past does not determine my future choices.