God in the beginning created human beings and made them subject to their own free choice. If you choose, you can keep the commandments; loyalty is doing the will of God. Set before you are fire and water; to whatever you choose, stretch out your hand.
Sirach 15: 14-16
If you grew up in the 1980’s like I did, you certainly remember the Choose your Own Adventure series of books. They were by far my favorite, as they married the concepts of reading, adventure and the ability to choose your own ending. Choose incorrectly and you may end up in a swamp. Choose the right way and you could end up with great treasure.
The appeal of the book series was that you were able to choose. You weren’t forced into the way that the author wanted it to end. This made the proposition of even reading the book series exciting, never knowing how the end of the story would turn out. There were some red flags along the way, and if you didn’t pay attention, you might miss them. There was much careful plotting, hoping, and fingers crossed that your choice did not end the book.
I thought about that series this morning as I meditated on the morning’s readings. All spoke of the theme of choice. Following God’s law is a choice. Following the promptings of the Holy Spirit is a choice. Following Jesus’ New Testament teachings is a choice. Anything apart from the laws of God leads you to the same place that the Choose your own adventure series led you, to the end of your story.
The concept of the book series was to allow the reader to choose which way they would go. There were some signs, but little guidance. Ultimately, you were walking blind. The choice of where and what was all on you, self-dependent, no help from the outside, except for maybe a friend who would help you flip a coin. And although the series was light and fun, it does provide some perspective for us.
God tells us that we are creatures of free will, that we get to choose. In our decisions, in our lifestyles, in our actions, and in our words.
We are the peacemakers. We are the representation of God.
And His laws have not changed. Life is still life. Abortion is still wrong. Adultery is always sin.
These are just some of His laws. They are not difficult to understand, but they certainly are difficult to abide by. Marriage is hard, betrayal of your best friend maybe even harder. But marriage is a sacrament and forgiveness is not optional.
The ten commandments are set in stone, but the law of Christ sets them in our hearts
I have counseled a lot of people on their marriages. I explain to the person delicately what the great book says. I explain the church’s position on it. And I tell them, commitment to marriage is a choice. Take divorce off the table. Now let’s work from there.
Sometimes couples have to be separated for them to come back together. Sometimes tragedy or infidelity has to strike to get someone’s attention. And of course the marriages I am talking about are not the ones that have any physical safety issues, of which preservation of human life is of the utmost importance.
He doesn’t make you happy. She doesn’t understand you. He doesn’t put your needs first.
Love him more.
She cheated on you. He is emotionally unavailable. He does not make you happy or give you what you need.
Love her more.
Love is a choice, and we make that choice in the sacrament of marriage, sealed with God’s sweet kiss. Marriage does not exist to make us happy, marriage exists to be of service to one another, to put the need of the other before our own; to sanctify us and make us holy.
How are we any better than the rest of the world when we choose death?
Loyalty is doing the will of God. If you are not sure of which way to go, open the good book and He will tell you.
The choice of life and death has been clear for thousands of years.
“For his laws were all before me, his decrees I did not case aside.” Psalm 18:23
Anyone who tells you anything else is a fool.
Marriage is difficult. I am trying but seem to fail. I cling too much to the secular notion of what marriage is supposed to be rather than the truth of what it is- the representation of your holy church. God, help me turn towards my spouse in supernatural grace and focus on their needs and wants rather than my own. Help me to love them the way you love them. The world says it’s all about me, but you say it’s all about other. Help me to choose you every time.
In Jesus Name,
Thank you to Pastor Anthony for the inspiration, and the courage to speak the truth.