Bad Decisions

I’m around teenagers a lot. I’ve spent the last several summers working with youth groups and at summer camps, and now I am a youth minister year-round.

Working with young people definitely has its upsides. Teenagers have a different perspective on things than do adults, and being around young people with so much energy can make you feel young yourself. Also, the teenage years are a time of drastic change, and it’s fun (and rewarding) to watch young people grow physically, emotionally and spiritually.

But there’s one thing about working with and being around young people that I can’t stand, and that is having to sit back and watch as they make terrible decisions.

Of course, making poor, ignorant decisions and then learning lessons from their consequences is a part of growing up, but that’s not really what I’m talking about here. I’m referring to those terrible, life-altering decisions (or maybe more often, a series of poor decisions) that put you on the wrong path in life.

I’m thinking about someone in particular as I write this, but really, I’ve known way too many people who fit this descriptionthey start off on the right path but then, sometimes suddenly and sometimes slowly, begin to make a series of bad decisions which cause their lives to spiral out of control.

It upsets me. It baffles me. It keeps me up at night.

Sometimes I feel that if only I could make these decisions for them, then they would turn out alright.

One day when I was thinking this, I suddenly wondered how God feels when I make bad decisions. God, who could have created us however He wanted to, but decided to give us the gift of free will, a gift which people often use to make terrible decisions, sometimes devastating ones that destroy the lives of others.

If the poor decisions of someone else can upset me, as self-centered and unloving as I can sometimes be, so much, how much more must they grieve a God who defines selflessness and love?


Edward Carson 7/6/07, 7:00 PM  

We all have been there at one point. It is best to address it while young rather than old. It is those who never addressed such matters at a young age nor had a mentor to guide them that face the real challenges. I know a few people like that; they are in jail, divorced and bitter, are just angry people.

Unknown 7/9/07, 6:08 PM  

Three comments,
1. Cool firework pictures.
2. Happy birthday to your blog
3. I find even more interesting than just the fact that God allows us free will but, that when we as his children have fallen away he will still welcome us back no matter what we have done or where our decisions have taken us. Good thought Dockery.

Luke Dockery 7/9/07, 6:42 PM  


I agree. It's the ones who seem to shun any sort of mentoring from anyone that worry me.

Luke Dockery 7/9/07, 6:45 PM  


It‘s great to hear from you; how did you come across my blog?

1. Thanks
2. Thanks
3. I agree. Both of those ideas are pretty central to the Parable of the Prodigal Son, which I almost included in this post, but decided not to for the sake of length. I actually have a sermon on those ideas from that story.

Thanks for the comments; we need to get some Halo going sometime soon!

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