How often have you made a decision that later came back to bite you? No, I am not talking about our decision to get our second COVID vaccine yesterday. 15 hours later my arm still feels fine, I am great, and I am certain that it was the right thing to do. And I definitely am not talking about our decision six months ago to leave for Hilton Head tomorrow. The decision I am thinking about I made nearly a dozen years ago!
I think it was in the summer of 2009. Monica and her sister were having a yard sale after their mom had moved into the Lutheran Home in Frankenmuth. By the time of the sale she had already moved from there to the Lutheran Home in Livonia. That move was not the bad decision, either. In fact, we had little choice there because, as our sons would say, she was “kicked out of the first nursing home.”
My mother in law had an antique settee that was over 100 years old and still in good condition. Prior to the yard sale we had an auctioneer tell us what he thought it was worth, however, on the day of the sale the best offer we received was about one half of his estimate. I suggested that we not sell if for that price. Rather, we would take it to our house and sell it – thinking we would get closer to what we were asking in the Detroit area. Bad Decision!
We moved the three-piece settee from Frankentrost to Eastpointe. And then from Eastpointe to Chesterfield. A couple weeks ago I moved it to the third or fourth location within our condo that I have tried. No matter where I put it, it is still in the way. And, no, even for a greatly reduced price, we still have not been able to sell it. That bad decision of nearly 12 years ago has come back to bite me many times over those years.
David makes a whole host of bad decisions in 2 Samuel 11. First, he keeps looking at his neighbor’s wife while her husband is out of town. Then he invites her over to his place. Then he sleeps with her. Then he tries to cover up the affair. Then he has her husband killed. Then he tries to cover up the murder. Then he pretends he is a national hero. BAD DECISIONS.
Nathan, at God’s direction, makes the risky decision to confront the king on his discretions. God, while using some consequences to get David’s attention, makes the risky decision to forgive David. God even uses the situation to make a typological illustration of the great risk he will later take in sending his son to be our Savior. But, let me tell you, none of these were bad decisions.
And the good news for you and me is that God treats us very similarly for ALL of the BAD DECISIONS we make. He places the punishment we deserve on the shoulders of Jesus. As Isaiah writes, “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows … he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53.4-5) He sometimes uses consequences to get our attention and nudge us toward changing our ways. And he makes the risky decision to freely forgive us each and every time.
So, while I know I am forgiven (at least by God) for that bad decision I made a dozen years ago, I am thinking that the antique settee just might hang around our condo as a long-term lesson reminder for me! If you find yourself in a similar situation, I suggest you confess your bad decision to the Lord – “For with him there is forgiveness.” (Psalm 130.4) And, instead of compounding the situation by making the additional bad decision of fighting it, “seek the Lord while he may be found and call upon him while he is near … (then) you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace.” (Isaiah 55.6, 12)