Have you ever decided to do something that you knew might not turn out well but you decide to do it anyway? The first thing we always do if we fail is to quickly look around to see if anyone saw it happen.
I remember a few years ago – some friends and I were at a shooting range at a state park. The range was situated so that you shot into the side of a very steep hill. You were allowed to take your own targets out and place them on the side of the hill. When you wanted to do so – you just made sure that everyone was willing to lay their rifles down and wait for you to walk all the way out and up the hill and get back to the firing line before resuming their own target practice. On this particular day – a guy we had never met before struck up a conversation with us and we had a great time talking with him – he was a super nice guy. He asked if we had ever shot this one particular type of hunting rifle which was extremely powerful. None of us had and so he offered to let us shoot it with him. He had 2 cinder blocks that he was going to use for targets – telling us that this rifle would pulverize the blocks into dust. He began his trek out to the hill to place the blocks as we watched. Now if you have ever picked up a cinder block – you know it’s quite heavy and he was carrying 2 of them. As he got to the base of the hill he realized how steep it was. We then watched as he made the perplexing decision to walk up a gigantic oak tree that had fallen perpendicular to the hill. It certainly made the walk much less steep – but of course significantly more difficult to balance these heavy blocks. He did it never-the-less as we watched with at first fear for his safety and then awe and amazement at the fact that he was able to do it. Wow we shouted – he made it all the way to the top! Unbelievable!! He then placed the 2 blocks and turned around to come back down. Again – we saw him study the hill and then assumingly seeing the steepness of the hill he made the fateful decision to try the tree again. He started out very slowly – appearing to have a great deal more difficulty than this assent had caused him. About half way down we saw him begin to pick up his pace – in fact almost running down the log when it happened. He lost his footing and came crashing down – 1 leg to either side of the trunk. Yep – he had his bell rung. Then almost as if in a scene from a cartoon – he slowly rolled to one side of the tree falling to the ground. Immediately – he jumped up and looked to see if we had seen him. We looked away quickly trying to pretend as if we had not – biting through our tongues and cheeks to keep from laughing. He then walked over to the tree trunk and punched it – twice! He then slowly descended the rest of the way down the hill – limping his way back to us.
Fear/worry/embarrassment are terrible feelings. Sometimes worse than physical pain.
Do you ever wonder what we would be like if Eve then Adam had not taken a bite of the apple? For one thing – those feelings of fear/worry/embarrassment would not have existed. We know they came after that original sin. Genesis 3:8-12 “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
They were embarrassed that they were naked. Then Adam’s response was to blame God and the woman. The woman that YOU put here GAVE me the fruit … and as an aside – yes I did eat it… BUT if YOU hadn’t put her here I wouldn’t have ever eaten it! The crazy story of our target practice friend follows the same lineage…
1.He made a decision that was not going to be in his best interest.
2. He was hurt by the decision and embarrassed by the result.
3. He then blamed something other than himself for his misfortune.
It’s actually a basic pattern of all of our lives. Whether we are taking a tree trunk to the crotch or any other of a 1,001 scenarios we get ourselves in to.
So we live in a fallen world and we are going to make bad decisions and will have consequences to deal with. That is a certainty. The best we can do is listen for God’s voice and avoid as much as possible making bad decisions. But if we do make one – don’t waste time blaming… and instead of being embarrassed use it as a learning experience to move forward.