I remember as our children were growing up, one of their frequent responses to our saying no, was "why can't I?" Often our response was in relation to their safety and well being. The scenario might be one in which we were fishing by a stream that is flowing rapidly that day. Suddenly their urge becomes to jump in the stream and go swimming. Our response not allowing such activity causes the aforementioned response. No matter how civil and patient we try to be with the reasons, there mind is set on what they want. And there are times, we may decide it's not worth the battle, like in the grocery check out line and they want a pack of gum. As long as it's sugar free, what's it really hurt?
But as we become more permissive, it begins to sink into their thinking that the next time a permission granting situation arises, they are golden. However as we trudge through life with our dear children, we see risks that are not worth allowing this time and their understanding was that the last time I asked for something it was just fine. Now I know these are two very different scenarios but the thinking within that child's mind is I should be allowed to no matter what. When we give perfectly reasonable responses that appear structured and aligned with what we feel we have taught them all along it becomes a difficulty when we can't fathom their lack of understanding.
It's a question we might ask ourselves in the context of our Christian lives. We see a world apart from us that at times lives how they so desire. The question may never pop in their mind, it's worth the risk and the resulting good time. But at times, what we view as a good and what God views as good are not at all parallel. We don't really need to dive into specifics here, but we can look at our own lives and become aware of such circumstances. In the case it feels good or looks exciting, our conscience aligned with the Holy Spirit should and will guide us. Often our feelings can confuse our conscience. I recall many people telling me over the years to go with my gut feeling. I'm afraid if I had listened to that advice, many results may have impacted my life in ways I had not desired nor intended. I won't say the gut feeling hasn't been right before but if there's such a thing as a coincidence, therein it lies.
As we live our lives, we are reminded in 1 Corinthians 10: 23, "I have the right to do anything," you say--but not everything is
beneficial. "I have the right to do anything"--but not everything is
constructive." Need we say anymore. God allows our decisions to spring from our understanding of the world and the lens in which we view it. My prayer is that this lens would be the Word of God and our knowledge of his plans for our lives to bring glory to his name. We will make mistakes, no doubt. But God picks us back up and dusts us off and sends us into the world for another try. I'll close with what Romans 14: 19 encourages us with.
"Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification."