In my previous article I talked about different views on life and how to live it. Also on whether we’re stuck with living out something other people have chosen for us. The thing I didn’t address was if it seems like our moral obligation to do what they want. I want to talk about when it is and when it isn’t.
There are times to do what our families or friends want us to do. Sometimes they see what’s best for us when we don’t. But when someone else asks us to do something we need to ask ourselves a few questions.
Firstly, is what they’re asking morally right?
Secondly, is it truly beneficial to them?
Thirdly, will it hurt us to do it, and is it worthwhile? Case in point, suppose you mom or dad wants you to take over the family business, or take up the same profession as them; maybe that’d be a good idea; maybe you’d like it; maybe you have the talents for it; maybe it’s a great opportunity… or maybe not. There are other examples. Listening to the people close to us is a good practice, but this occupational area of family and friends’ influence is very limited at best. The more important and more subtle influence is over our morality and world view.
Even as a preschooler you know that when you go to your friend’s house there are different rules and you have to follow them, and likewise your house has different rules that they have to follow. Some are clearly just a matter of preference. One house lets you eat in front of the TV, the other does not, etc. But when it comes to the intangibles the contrast becomes much more apparent. In my family we don’t lie, that’s a rule. But in other families lying is an accepted fact of life. The trouble is, we think lying is wrong for everyone. If you are only going by what your family thinks is best, than sooner or later you’ll hit a situation like this. I trust my families judgment but if they tell me to do something that I think is wrong, I won’t justify it because everyone thinks it’s right.
But here’s the catch. When I’m deciding whether something is right or not, shouldn’t I go by what seems to work out the best for everyone. Lying to get myself out of trouble is wrong, but what if I’m lying to protect a bunch of my friends or my family? Is it still wrong? What if it’ll damage them more if I tell the truth? Now, two people could argue back and forth over this for hours and not find a resolution, my point is that you need a third-party; but not a human third-party, because as mere humans our reasonings are all equal just as our brains are equally capable (usually.) Hence the popular belief of humanism that morality is just our opinions. Well, I’m not going into that, but suffice it to say that nothing is resolved that way.
As finite, limited, human beings, we can’t see the future and the ultimate result of our choices. We don’t have the knowledge to make wise choices in our own reasoning. There is a verse about this “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” (Proverbs 14:12.) That being said, I think the need for God is clear.
God can work out the toughest situations to the benefit of both parties, but it doesn’t always look like it to us. He has ways we don’t understand. Which He tells us bluntly. (Isiah 55:9) The paradox I’m trying to show with this article and my previous one is that we do, in a sense, choose our destiny. You see God has set before us life and death, He will not force us to choose either; so we do indeed have our choice. We should be thankful; imagine a world where you had no choice, either live the way you are told to or cease to exist. But God makes it clear that there is only one right choice, therefore He knows the right way, and if you choose Him, He will work out the rest. (Romans 8:28.)
In a moral dilemma sometimes you have to choose God over the person in question, but it is better to choose God who knows what will happen than the person who only can guess what will happen. At least that makes sense to me. It’s summed up in this last verse “in his heart a man plans his course (his path of life) but the LORD determines his steps (the things that happen to him for him to react to as he chooses.)” Proverbs 16:9, personal paraphrase.
So that’s my take on choice. My conclusion is that if I trust God with my life, than the pressure is off me, but I am still responsible for whether I choose to do what He says or not. I hope you enjoyed this article and it didn’t come across as too preachy because it’s really just what I’ve been learning in my own life. Until next time–Natasha