The Right Response to Wrong Choices


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Bible Reading: 1 John 1:8-2:3

If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.   1 John 1:8-9

NOT TOO LONG ago a teenage boy and his friend were driving around on New Year’s Day. They were good friends, and they were having a good time together. Suddenly, the driver noticed the lights of a police car in his rearview mirror. He looked at his speedometer and, for the first time, noticed how fast he was going. He knew he would be in big trouble with his parents for getting a ticket, so instead of stopping and letting the police officer give him a ticket, he drove faster. No matter how fast he drove, the police stayed close. When he rounded a corner and saw another police car waiting for him, he knew he was in even bigger trouble.

After pulling his car to the side of the road beside a wide river, the driver jumped out of the car and ran to the river’s edge. His friend followed him. They both dove into the cold water. A few moments later the friend swam back to shore, where the police met him and wrapped him in blankets. The driver, however, disappeared.

For the next three days the police searched the river for the boy. On the fourth day they found his body. One of his aunts, who watched the search efforts every day from the riverbank, said the boy probably panicked because he didn’t want his record tarnished. “We always stressed to him to stay out of trouble,” she said, because “it could mess his future up. He’d never been in trouble before.”

That true story is made sadder by the realization that if the driver had just admitted his wrongdoing and accepted his punishment, he would not have died that New Year’s Day.

Sometimes we’re tempted to run from our sins. We don’t want to admit that we’ve made a wrong choice, and we’re afraid of the punishment we might get. But God wants us to know that when we make a wrong choice, we don’t need to run from him. He says, “If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong” (1 John 1:9).

God will forgive us. He doesn’t promise that we’ll always escape the consequences of our wrong choices, but he does promise that he’ll always forgive us and cleanse us.

When we make a wrong choice, the best way to respond is not to run, but to repent, to admit our sin, and to seek God’s forgiveness.

REFLECT: What is the wrong way to respond to wrong choices? What is the right response to wrong choices? Have you ever run from responsibility for a wrong choice you made? If so, what happened?

PRAY: “God, thank you for your promise that, if I confess my sins, you will forgive me and cleanse me from every wrong. Please help me not to do wrong. But if I do, help me to turn to you quickly, admit what I’ve done, and ask you to forgive me.”


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