Contributed by Topy Vasquez, BCBP Makati
During our June South Metro Manila senior leaders action group meeting that Susan and I hosted, our topic for discussion was entitled “Hit or Miss”. Each member of our group found the article very relevant and life-touching. I would like to share it with other BCBP members and action groups, believing that God has a message for each of us in these words.
Hit or Miss
Someone wise said it so well: “We all do exactly what we decide to do; we are the sum of our decisions.” This puts all of us in a very tight spot, doesn’t it? I am responsible for every decision, every choice I make. And so are you. Whatever we are now, whatever we have become, we shouldn’t blame it on anyone or anything – not our family background, spouse, parents, siblings, friends, mentors, ex-boyfriend/ex-girlfriend, the bad economy, the stock market, the police or the politicians, the decay of morality, etc., etc., etc.
We make the decisions, so we’re responsible. It’s easy to claim responsibility for something that’s a success, isn’t it? We all need some praise and appreciation now and then. But when something is a failure, most of us find it very, very hard to assume responsibility for our actions. Why? Because we want to preserve our reputation. Deep inside us, we crave for the approval of others. Even to ourselves we want to look clean and blameless. That’s why when something else goes wrong, our tendency is to look for someone or something else to blame. When the consequences of our actions hit us, we try to DISTRIBUTE THE OFFENSE to others: “Hey, so I made a mistake. But I’m not the only one guilty. You also did this and that … you didn’t treat me so well either…”
Sound familiar? We try to downplay our wrongdoings by looking for and magnifying the wrongdoings of others. Why? Because it makes us feel less guilty and less responsible. But this manmade strategy offers only temporary relief. If we do not face up to the consequences of our wrongdoing, we will not learn our lesson and we’ll commit even bigger mistakes in the future. On what then, do I base my decisions? There are several answers – my own judgment of what is right or wrong; the advice of people I trust and respect; the easiest way out; the books I’ve read; the influence of friends, family, and fortunetellers, the pursuit of romance, happiness, money, power, fame, pleasure, my overriding fears, etc.
Which one is it for you? Many of us go through life with a hit-or-miss mentality in making our decisions. We usually try a combination of things to arrive at a choice. “My friends said this is what I ought to do, and well, I remember reading in this book that this is the right strategy, …” No wonder the results of our decisions are hit-or-miss!
The Bible says, “there is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12). Clearly, as most of us have learned by now, we cannot trust our own instincts. Human wisdom is riddled with blind spots. We are helplessly hemmed in by our own agendas, prejudices and predilections.
What we all need is a FIRM FOUNDATION on which to base our decisions – truth that is unchanging, unerring, objective and wise. Truth which will remain true for all seasons, persons and circumstances. Jesus knows how much we need the truth so that we can make the right decisions in our lives. Many times, He began His statements with, “I tell you the truth…” Conversely, Satan’s constant aim is to deceive us, to make us believe his lies, to draw us away from God’s truth.
Hence, Jesus said to those who did not believe Him: “Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire…, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell you the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? HE WHO BELONGS TO GOD HEARS WHAT GOD SAYS. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”(Jn. 8:42-47).
Are you a hearer of God’s Word? Or do you refuse to hear him? To know the Truth, we must make a decision and take the time and effort to read and study God’s Word, the Bible. Observing rituals and religious activities can never be a substitute for knowing and observing God’s Word. The Bible is His personal love letter to us, teaching us how to make the right decisions, how to live our lives the way He wants us to. To do otherwise would be to jeopardize our personal peace and happiness.
Jesus said, “If you hold to My teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (Jn 8:31-32).
In our effort to listen to God’s Word, what are our obstacles to following Him uncompromisingly? How consistently have we been good followers of God in evangelizing in word and deed?