[June 20]--Why Do Bad Things Happen? Our Bad Decisions

Prov. 19:3

From reading the book of Job, you might've gotten the impression that people are just puppets, manipulated by spiritual forces (by Satan and ultimately by God) which are invisible and yet irresistible. There are several passages in Scripture besides that one which make it look like the Lord decides everything and we really don’t have any choices or decisions to make.

I don’t know the details about how God is involved in every situation, but the Bible definitely does not teach that we’re only puppets or pieces on a chess board. He created us in his image, so we have intellect and some degree of choice in what we do.

I really think that today’s reading explains a lot in this world. People make really bad and self-destructive decisions in life, and then they look for someone else to blame when the bill comes due. For example, you'll find no one who's less a fan of cigarettes than I am—they’re nasty and smelly and I'd never touch one. But for someone to smoke for several years and then sue the cigarette companies? Or how about the infamous case of the woman who spilled hot coffee in her lap and sued the McDonald’s who served it to her from its drive-thru window? People like that have some sympathy from me, but I can’t get on board for what they’re doing.

But even worse than blaming corporations for our bad decisions is blaming God for them. He’s done everything short of sky-writing his message, and people ignore it. They start dating someone who's clearly not a good match for them, and end up marrying them. The marriage fails, and they blame the Lord for their troubles. Or they make some really bad financial decisions, and wonder why they have trouble paying the bills every month.

I’ve been guilty of this myself. One of my faults is procrastination, and I’ve lost more than one car because I didn’t maintain it as I should have. I’m on my way to work or an important appointment, and it suddenly breaks down, and I get mad at God!

Friend, there might be spiritual forces at work in your life. It’s possible that the Enemy is attacking you, or God is specifically getting your attention because of rebellion you need to turn away from. But before you delve too deep into those potential causes, how about you look first at some more mundane reasons, like bad decisions you’ve made? How’s about joining me in boycotting the blame game?

Father, I’ve made a lot of bad decisions in my life, and I can’t blame anyone else for them. I know you’ve forgiven me, but I don’t want to repeat them. Please give me wisdom and the courage to do what I know I need to do.

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