On (bad) choices
Human beings are interesting. We live and die by the choices we make. Unfortunately, more often than not, we have a tendency to make bad choices. And it is no different for me.
I can look back on my life and, in retrospect, say that I clearly made some bad choices. The day I played poker with my hallmates and downed numerous shots of alcohol was clearly a bad choice. I have had my share of those kind of choices.
Yesterday was Sunday. Day of rest? Yes. Church? Yes. The day that my sick daughter spiked a fever and needed to go for emergency treatment while I wasn’t at home? Begrudgingly, I have to say yes.
Saturday night, my daughter had a fever of 101 degrees. Not that bad, I thought. My son had just come off of having a fever of 102 and he was fine. I woke up for church on Sunday at 6:30 AM ready to head to church to work in a fellowship ministry for the morning service. This ministry is new, so it is not quite self-sufficient yet. I still need to show up for it every Sunday to make sure that everything goes well (or so my pride tells me).
As I awoke, I took my daughter’s temperature and she was still holding at a little over 101 degrees. I made the choice to let my daughter sleep in and head to church. Before I go any further, she is of the age that it is acceptable to let her stay home alone, so she has experience at being in my house when daddy is not there.
While at church I got the ministry set up and went on about my business. I checked in with Kenzi via text to make sure she was ok. And then I get the text that said, “mommy is at your house. She’s taking care of me. I am very sick.”
Evidently while at church, her fever spiked to 103.5 so she reached out to my ex-wife. I am very happy that she had the intelligence to call someone. I am saddened, though, that it was not me. My ex took her to the emergency care and texted me that she was doing it.
Understandably, my ex-wife was not at all happy with the choice that I had made. I would have been just as upset if the tables were turned. I made a bad choice.
But this leads to the apologetic.
I tried every way imaginable to justify my choice. I even tried looking in the Bible for solace (and by solace, I mean to prove that I did not make a bad choice). All answers came back…Fred, you were an idiot.
You see, I tried to prove that this was acceptable because I was working for God. We are called to work in His ministry. We are called to provide service for the people of Christ. I started with 1 Peter 4:10. “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another.” This goes along with 1 Peter 4:11 which says, “…whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength God supplies….” Unfortunately, I had forgotten that as a daddy, I am called to serve my children as well. How can I expect them to be trained up with the proper priorities if I don’t prioritize properly?
Then I decided to go to the book of Acts. In 20:35, the Bible says, “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He Himself said ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Great! God is showing me that working hard is going to pay off here. But wait! “…must help the weak…” My daughter was clearly the weakest of the people I could have served that day. Again, epic fail.
Finally, let’s look at Mark 9:35. “And He sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, ‘if anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” Again, I don’t “do” ministry to “do myself.” I “do” ministry to “do Jesus!” But I realized that even in my ministry at church, the thought that kept coming back to me was “what would everyone say if I didn’t show up this morning?” That is clearly pride talking! I should have thought about serving the littlest of all and how Christ could have been glorified in her through my serving on a single sick girl rather than a church of a thousand people.
So I bring it back to this. I made a bad choice. I failed being an example of Christ to my daughter, my son, my ex-wife, and anyone else I try to explain this story to. I can simply ask God’s forgiveness and move on, not staying in the moment of my failure, but using that failure as a springboard to success and increased faith in Christ.
So this post is for those of us who are Christian. Those of us who occasionally believe in our heads that “I’ve arrived.” We have never become so good of a Christian that we can’t use Christ’s forgiveness. I make stupid, boneheaded mistakes all the time. Even ones where I need to swallow my pride and ask forgiveness of a little girl with a fever and even my ex-wife.
Timely read Fred. I’ve recently struggled with feeling compelled to going on too many assignments wherein I certainly serve a community, added to obligations I feel with regard to church. Those church obligations are compounded by people at church, albeit well meaning, make comments if I’m not there. All of which caused me to be less attentive & available at home. My husband, often quiet & strong willed, is hesitant to say “I need you here” so I made the mistake of assuming all was well. What I didn’t see were the deeper lines, the tighter jaw, the stresssed eyes… Things I normally pick up on when I’m not so focused on those, away from home, who need help. I was about to go on another assignment when I saw it… And I realized with guilt that in my drive to serve others, I was failing to serve my family. In the end we are human….
Thanks Laurie. I really appreciate you reading it. God blesses us, even when we don’t want to see Him working.
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