Bible Reading: Isaiah 7:13-16
By the time this child is old enough to eat curds and honey, he will know enough to choose what is right and reject what is wrong. Isaiah 7:15
HOW OLD ARE you? Is that “old enough”?
“Old enough to what?” you may ask. Ah, that’s the question.
Say you want to drive a car. The law in most places says sixteen is “old enough,” though your parents may disagree!
Say you want to vote. “Old enough” to vote is eighteen.
Say you want to collect Social Security. Sorry, you gotta wait until you’re really ancient, like in your sixties.
So, when are you “old enough to know better”? If your mom and dad are like most parents, they’ve used that phrase about a gazillion times. But like most parents, your mom and dad have probably never explained just how old “old enough to know better” really is. Five? Ten? Sixteen? Somewhere in between?
Well, even the youngest child understands that some things are right and some things are wrong. Because we’re created in the image of God, some of this knowledge is instinctive. That’s why a two-year-old will scream, “No fair!” when another child tries to take a toy away from him or her.
As children grow older, of course, they begin adding to that basic knowledge of right and wrong. But the point is, you don’t have to have gray hair-or even an eighth-grade education-to know right from wrong. Most of that is pretty basic stuff.
Oh, some choices and decisions can be complicated, like that lifeboat thing. You know the situation: You’re one of eight people in a lifeboat in shark-infested waters; the boat will only safely hold seven people; one of you has to go. Do you all die or should you sacrifice one person for the sake of the other seven? That kind of thing. But when was the last time you were in a crowded lifeboat in shark-infested waters? Most people go through their lives without once being in a crowded lifeboat in shark-infested waters. So let’s not waste too much time worrying about it, all right?
For most of us, most questions of right and wrong are pretty basic and straightforward. The question usually isn’t, “Is this right or wrong?” That’s usually fairly obvious. The question most often is, “Am I going to do right?” In other words, if you’re “old enough to know better” (and if you’re reading this book, trust me, you are), you’re old enough to do right. That’s what really matters.
REFLECT: Most choices between right and wrong that you face in life are pretty basic and pretty obvious. But do you have any sincere questions about some action you don’t know is right or wrong? If you do, talk it over as soon as possible with your parents, pastor, or some other trusted Christian adult.
PRAY: “Lord, help me be alert today to the choices I need to make. Help me remember that I’m old enough to make right choices.”