The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice. Proverbs 12:15 (NIV)
Every parent who has more than one child and a video game console has heard phrases like, “Turn around and push X,” or “You’re going the wrong way, the zombies are going to eat you!” Don’t forget the infamous, “Here, let me do it for you!”
It’s funny (or not), but as I listened to my oldest son get frustrated at my youngest daughter, I couldn’t help but reminisce about my brothers and me playing Contra and doing the same thing. Oh, the fights my mamma had to break up. I’m not sure what was going through my head when I talked my wife into letting us get a console for Christmas.
My son was frustrated because, in his experience, the way that my daughter was playing was likely going to end up in failure. He knew that the path she was taking on the video game was going to result in losing the game. There is hardly anything that is more frustrating than the inability to convince someone of dangers that you see on a path that they have chosen. Of course, that’s just a video game. It is all the more frustrating and scary when we see it unfold in real life.
My son’s advantage over my daughter is only two-years of experience, yet they have already allowed him to recognize certain truths that she doesn’t see. As we mature, we are more able to see dangers at the ends of certain paths. We get frustrated when others, who don’t see what we do, refuse to heed our warnings. A parent may become frustrated and afraid for their child when they begin to hang out with others who walk a dangerous path. It can be frustrating and scary to watch a loved one make a rash decision like dropping out of school. It is frustrating and scary to watch people make decisions that are likely going to cause them difficulties, harm, or just more problems. It can be frustrating and scary to see something that others don’t. What’s really scary, is that moment when you realize you too may be on such a path.
My daughter continued to play her way because she couldn’t bring herself to believe her brother over what was in front of her face. Because of that, my daughter got eaten by a zombie. The reality is that it’s hard for us to accept that we may not be taking the right path or that we are not really aware of the dangers that lie ahead. I’ve never had a single person tell me that dropping out of school actually made their lives better, and yet it may seem reasonable at the time. We are all capable of making bad decisions that get us “eaten by zombies”.
In his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul writes:
Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. (Ephesians 5:15-17 NIV).
For the Christian, every decision should take into account how their path will impact, not only themselves, but others around them. The Christian should consider how their decision compares to God’s will; which involves love, obedience, good-stewardship, faith, and prayer (among other things).
Be careful in every decision you make. Be humble enough to realize that you probably do not have all the facts (we rarely do). Consider, not just advice, but where it comes from. Above all, look to God’s word and discerning Spirit in all things.
Grafted by His Grace,
Pastor Raul Granillo