Column: The choices we make

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Commentary by Michael VandenBerg

Deuteronomy 30:19

I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live…

Choices! We all want them but we also want to escape their consequences. If the choice was a positive one, then we want the credit. If it was faulty, then we want to make sure there is someone in the wings that we can blame for the consequences.

It seems to me that our culture, as we more and more want to make morality a choice and not an absolute, moves us ever closer toward chaos. We see in those running for office not a firm conviction on the issues of our day, but on their polling numbers for their statements.

We see in cities across America the desire to blame the police for strong-arm practices and then call on them to act stronger when we are threatened. We want our children to be people of their own making, only so long as they agree with us. We want to stop the violence, but not by making changes to our culture so we can become people of character. We want the thrills of danger, but call for new measures when someone is injured.

It all boils down to our ambiguity about making choices and experiencing consequences. The reality is that God created us with a free will and the ability to make choices of our own. Sometimes they are right and sometimes wrong. When the choices are wrong, the correct response is not to blame others or deflect responsibility, but to find forgiveness in confession, owning our actions. I realize that our litigious climate in which we live works against true repentance and forgiveness as we fear consequences to even our choices, but if we want to find life and peace and health and community, we need to find the therapeutic benefits of always doing what we believe to be the right thing for the right reasons and when they prove to be wrong, find relief in repentance and forgiveness for the choices we have made. It is only then that we as individuals and as a country will find strength and life. and remember, God is a God of second chances.

I think that the appeal of someone like a Donald Trump is not in his positions, but in the fact that he is willing to say what he thinks and accept the choices he makes. In the end, it will be easier to judge his worthiness in being president because of this quality.

God offers choices of the way to life and ways that lead to death. Choose this day which one you prefer but know that God is serious about the consequences.

Rev. Michael VandenBerg, Hope Community Church

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