This year, 2020, marks not only a new year but also a new decade…which is exciting! We have a clean slate to fill in however we choose. We can fill this year and the rest of the decade with new opportunities, new memories, and new adventures. All waiting for us to make our choices on what we will do.
So what are your plans? Will you travel to a new location? Somewhere you have never been before? Will you go back to school to learn something you know nothing or very little about? Will you work to reconcile a broken relationship? Will you become more aware of your impact on our ecology? Will you become more politically astute? Will you take up a new hobby? What will you do?
While none of us may know exactly how we will fill the weeks and months that stretch out ahead of us, I do know those weeks and months will get filled with something. But will it be what we really want or will we just let life happen? There is something exciting about being spontaneous. Unfortunately being spontaneous sometimes means those days of making no plans to see what pops up are days where we end up doing absolutely nothing at all. In order to have memories that fill the days we have means we have to plan what we are going to do. Planning means we have choices to make. And the choices we make are important.
Why? Well, our choices have chosen who we married or didn’t marry, the jobs we have accepted and the places we live. Our choices have determined our friends, how much debt we take on, what we eat, or the clothes we wear. But beyond the things we do, our choices determine our attitudes and how we respond to the people and events in our lives. These can be hard choices. Choices we may not want to make…especially if we have been deeply hurt by someone. Instead of choosing to offer grace, we typically want to seek revenge. And please don’t beat yourself up for having those feelings they are a natural response to being hurt…just don’t act on them. Grace is a far greater thing to offer to someone who has hurt you. It is also the better choice.
I remind myself of this better choice every day. I find it easier to do when I remind myself that how I treat others is also the way I treat God. Jesus taught this in Matthew 25:31 – 46 in his parable of the sheep and the goats. For every person we help, for every person we treat with respect and love, for every person we care for by feeding, clothing, tending, including…we do the same for God. So when I have been hurt…and I have been hurt by others…I remind myself in the midst of my anger and hurt that how I choose to respond is important. Because how I choose to respond will also determine how I am treating God.
We are in a new year…a new decade…a new beginning…let’s choose to move beyond our hurts, to look beyond ourselves, and make a difference as we also honor God with our choices.