Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
FIRST, ON THE SECOND GREATEST GIFT: FREEDOM OF CHOICE
As I keep thinking about a previous post, I feel as if it isn’t quite finished, that it needs a part 2, because everything about faith, hope, and love involves choice–first God’s, and in response, ours.
I am both humbled and frightened by the power of free will because such a gift entrusted to us who frequently make such bad choices, might be compared, on the human level, to giving a six year-old instructions for “How To Make Your Very Own Atom Bomb with Things from Around the House!” (no batteries needed!) Or something like that.
I mean, when you think of the outrageous, evil, horrifying choices humans–even grown-up, genius humans–have made for real…
But mostly, I am grateful for free will because knowing its potential reminds me to stay as close to God’s Throne, so to speak, as I can, as close to that eternal, real, and only “safe place” that exists for humans, secured for us through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross* for when we do play around with the atomic power of, in this case, sin, whether around the house or around the globe.
For the closer I am to the Throne, the better the discernment.
So every once in awhile I meditate on yet another aspect of the potency of our power to choose. Here are other posts on this topic.
Now on to today’s angle.
Given the choices we face–the good, the bad, and the ugly–in such a time as ours, it seems to me we have three main options:
- choosing to put faith in mankind;
- choosing to put hope in willful ignorance should we opt for either the ugly or the bad choices;
- choosing to put our confidence in God’s perfect love that facilitates the good–better, best, and eternal–outcome.
On option number one: ask Adam how it went for him when he chose to put faith in his human cohort, Eve. And boy, howdy, it didn’t stop there, right? I mean, that was only the beginning of humans making bad choices.
As for any time in history we choose to put our faith in mankind we run this risk: “Hopes placed in mortals die with them; all the promise of their power comes to nothing” (Proverbs 11:7).
On option number two: choosing “willful ignorance”. This option deserves a little more discussion, I think. Here is a good place to start:
Depending on the nature and strength of an individual’s pre-existing beliefs, willful ignorance can manifest itself in different ways. The practice can entail completely disregarding established facts, evidence and/or reasonable opinions if they fail to meet one’s expectations. Often the willfully ignorant will make excuses, claiming that a source is unreliable, suggesting that an experiment was flawed or asserting that an opinion is too biased. More often than not this is simple circular reasoning: “I cannot agree with that source because it is untrustworthy because it disagrees with me”.
In other slightly more extreme cases, willful ignorance can involve outright refusal to read, hear or study, in any way, anything that does not conform to the willfully ignorant person’s worldview. (excerpted from rationalwiki.org, 10/10/21)
Pretty heavy, huh?
But the concept does come to mind often these days, when, concerning certain, ah, insertions impacting nearly every aspect of life, not only is there fierce resistance to any and all viewpoints challenging–and in many cases disproving–the dominant politico-media narrative of same, there is also an almost panic-driven frenzy to scrub any and all such alternative viewpoints as soon as they appear.
So there’s that.
Now on to my favorite!
On option number three: choosing to place confidence in God’s perfect love. I can’t top this explanation:
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of lights [the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens], in whom there is no variation [no rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [for He is perfect and never changes]. (James 1:17)
And here are the best parts about God’s “ever present help in time of need”:
I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ (Isaiah 46:10)
Considering the differences among the choices, I would go with option number three for constancy, consistency, and certainty.
Not to forget God’s love–the most potent force in the universe (and beyond).
P.S. One more thing:
(They) that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)
*If you haven’t yet made the best choice of your lifetime for both here and hereafter, see information on both how and why, here.
Today would be good.