2 Corinthians 2 Lesson

Bad Decisions

BAD DECISIONS

What do we do when the people that we love are making bad decisions? Do we try to correct them, or do we remain silent? 

DO NOT JUDGE

There are many scriptures that tell us not to judge others, including these three:

  1. Do not judge so that you will not be judged.  For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.  Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. – Mathew 7:1-5,
  2. “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.  Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” – Luke 6:37-38,
  3. “Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it.  There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?” – James 4:11-12.

When somebody we love is making poor decisions, it is not our place to judge them.  Judgment is reserved for God. 

SHOW COMPASSION

As Christians, we are supposed to show compassion, not judgmentPeople respond better to compassionthan judgment.  We understand this when it comes to ourselves, however, sometimes we forget when it comes to others. 

Jesus said:

  • “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” – Mathew 5:14-16.

For us to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth, we need to understand and correctly apply the following scriptures about compassion:

  • “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” - Ephesians 4:32,
  • “When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things.” - Mark 6:34,
  • “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” - Colossians 3:12,
  • “When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick.” - Mathew 14:14.

TEACH THE BIBLE

The Apostle Paul wrote in his second letter to Timothy:

  • “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

We can teach, reproof, correct, and train without judging.  We accomplish this by quoting the Bible and letting the Bible speak for itself.  One of the best ways to help somebody that is making bad decisions is to share with them God's words , and God’s thoughts.  Sharing the right scripture at the right time is a blessing, provided the words are spoken in love without judgment. 

PRAY

Another thing that we can do to help somebody that is making poor decisions is to pray for them.  Throughout the Bible, we read about the importance of prayer, and yet our prayer life is something that we can easily neglect if we are not careful.  When somebody is making poor decisions, a fantastic thing for us to do is to lift them up in prayer.  The following four scriptures remind us how important God thinks prayers should be in our lives: 

  1. “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” - James 5:16,
  2. “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit.” - Ephesians 6:18,
  3. “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” - Colossians 1:9,
  4. “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” - Mathew 5:43-44.

CONCLUSION

Watching somebody make poor decisions is a hard thing to do.  Especially if it is a family member or somebody we are close with.  In these times, and in everything we do, we need to follow the Bible’s direction on what to do, and what not to do. 

In today’s lesson we discussed four things to keep in mind when somebody we know is making poor decisions:

  1. Do not judge them,
  2. Show them compassion,
  3. Teach them God’s word,
  4. Pray for them. 

We will end today’s lesson with the following scripture:

  • “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets” –Mathew 7:12.

Comments

Terry Porter

What do we do when people we love are making bad decisions (contrary to God’s word) as they were in Corinth? Do we try to correct them, or do we remain silent?
Yes, I believe we need to help them and it is a responsibility we shouldn't take lightly. But before we try to correct someone, I believe we need to check out own motives first.
Are we trying to "fix" them?
Are we trying to "rule over" them?
Are they a personal "project" for us to work on?
If we answer yes to those questions then we shouldn't go and correct them because our own heart is not right. Instead, if we love them and we are truly for them and want what is best for them, then we can go and talk with them. Nevertheless, we need to do it with the right attitude. Consider Galatians 6:1-3
Galatians 6:1-3 (NLT) - Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. 2 Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. 3 If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.

Final thoughts;
In helping someone overcome a sin we should:
- check our own life first
- be motivated by love for that person
- be careful not to fall into the same sin ourselves (so be mutual in our talk with them (e.g. I will help you and you will help me)).

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Christian Pelucia

We must be led by the Holy Spirit at all times , prayerful at all times, and displaying the fruits of the Holy Spirit. " Search me oh God and know my heart. Try me and know my ways and see if there be any wicked way in me. And lead me in the way everlasting. A great Biblical example during the public display of the adulteress. The men who publicly attempted to shame her; were the very ones , she probably had entanglements with. Jesus said, he who is without sin cast the first stone. The stones dropped. In giving counsel(There is safety in a multitude of counselors.) Ask the Lord to examine your heart first and then you can freely and lovingly advise and restore someone.

Reply
Dan W

If a brother is engaging in behavior that endangers his soul why would we keep silent? Love requires us to inconvenience ourselves to help others. We put our social comfort on the line to confront.

Reply
Terry Porter

What do we do when people we love are making bad decisions (contrary to God’s word) as they were in Corinth? Do we try to correct them, or do we remain silent?
Yes, I believe we need to help them and it is a responsibility we shouldn't take lightly. But before we try to correct someone, I believe we need to check out own motives first.
Are we trying to "fix" them?
Are we trying to "rule over" them?
Are they a personal "project" for us to work on?
If we answer yes to those questions then we shouldn't go and correct them because our own heart is not right. Instead, if we love them and we are truly for them and want what is best for them, then we can go and talk with them. Nevertheless, we need to do it with the right attitude. Consider Galatians 6:1-3
Galatians 6:1-3 (NLT) - Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. 2 Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. 3 If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.

Final thoughts;
In helping someone overcome a sin we should:
- check our own life first
- be motivated by love for that person
- be careful not to fall into the same sin ourselves (so be mutual in our talk with them (e.g. I will help you and you will help me)).

Reply
William
Terry Porter

Amen!

Reply
Drexel Deal

I believe the question for today has been covered wonderfully in the above remarks. Thus, I want to touch on another topic brought out in this chapter which is; forgiveness

As Christians it is important for us to realize, that God will only forgive us to the extend we are willing to forgive someone else. As Jesus said;
“Forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us.” Matthew 6: 12 GNT.

Two of the biggest misconceptions concerning the act of forgiveness, some feel that they will be condoning or minimizing the action of their offender. Many people still believe that if we forgive the wrongs done to us by others, it is akin to giving them a get out of jail free card when they should be punished. The offender gets to go on with their lives, mean while we are still coping with the hardship resulting from their careless actions. We fail to realize, forgiveness is for our benefit alone. It frees us from overdosing on the toxic emotions of yesterday, that robs us out of today’s joy. As the African proverb goes;
‘Who forgives wins.’

In the John Hopkins Health magazine, published July of 2014. In the article entitled; ‘The Healing Power of Forgiveness, written by Dr. Karen Swartz, a practicing psychiatrist and the clinical programs director of the Mood Disorders Center at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Swartz wrote,
“There has been excellent work that looks at what gets better after forgiveness training. Blood pressure is lower. People report needing fewer medicines. They report having better sleep. They report physically feeling better and having fewer physical complaints.”

I know there are times when we want to strike back, but the dangerous part about vengence it can explode in your face. There’s a story I’m familiar with where a young man was shot to the thigh. Instead of seeking medical treatment, the individual went home to retrieve his gun. He spent the next 30 minutes driving around with his gun in his hand, looking for the person who shot him.
While he never found the person who fired the shot, yet he never made it to the hospital in time because he bled to death. The lesson from this story helps us to appreciate; seeking to carry out our own brand of poetic justice will only make matters worse. While forgiveness doesn’t vindicate the other person’s wrong done to you, at the same time it doesn’t give you a green light to take matters in your own hands. As noted by the Apostle James in verse 20 of chapter 1 in the book bearing his name, James wrote;
“For the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” NKJV.

Reply
Kurt L.

I am glad that you shared these passages this morning. When loved ones around us make bad decisions, it could be easy to judge them, but it is not biblical. Christ instructed us to love one another as He loved us (John 13:34). Therefore, we must pray for one another especially loved ones that are making mistakes. Ask God to show them His plan for their lives. Often, the battles that we may face must be won on our knees. The Apostle Paul informed us to pray for all men in 1 Timothy 2:1. Secondly, we must forgive them no matter what they have done. The love of God has been given to us by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). Therefore, we have the ability to love people unconditionally (1 John 4:21). In any relationship, there will be conflict eventually. The key to overcoming any conflict will be based on how we handle it. Finally, confronting the individual about what they have done is the last resort in my opinion after prayer and forgiveness has already been established. God bless!!

Reply
Michael
Kurt L.

I appreciate your comments Kurt, especially the one about, "Often, the battles that we may face must be won on our knees."

Amen to that. Sometimes I am hard headed and not receiving God's message. Then He hits me over the head with it. LOL.

And I'm like, "Ohhhhhhhhh" I get it now!

Reply
Darryl S

My friend Dwight and I both made bad decisions when we were growing up. We were like brothers. We were tempted by drugs and alcohol and made bad decisions. I was finally able to find God and reflect on my life and how I wanted to live without drugs and alcohol. I try my best to help my friend Dwight today with love and support. We all need to love and support those that may not be able to help themselves and not judge them when they fail or make bad decisions.

Reply