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Choose the next right thing

FRANKLIN LIVING—

What happens next after you make a bad decision? It’s an important question because sometimes instead of following a bad decision with a good one, we fall into the trap of piling one bad decision on top of another.

It happens in sports all the time. On the basketball court, it could be not blocking out and then going over your opponent’s back and committing a foul, rather than conceding the rebound. On the baseball field, it could be mishandling a groundball and then trying to make an impossible throw to first. Suddenly, one error has turned into two.

Unfortunately, Christians sometimes fall into the trap of making one bad decision after another, and sometimes those bad decisions are sinful.

Most Bible students are familiar with the story of David and Bathsheba recorded in 2 Samuel 11-12. King David makes a string of horrible decisions resulting in lust, adultery, deception and finally murder.

David could have halted the downward spiral of sin had he paused after any one of his bad decisions, searched for and then chosen the next right thing or the next best action.

Unfortunately, David’s mirror was broken. He couldn’t see his own sin, and it cost him dearly. David finally achieved clarity related to his own actions when God’s prophet, Nathan, arrived and shared a parable with David.

What might the next right thing look like for us today?

When I’m in a strained relationship, the next right thing or next best action might be biting my tongue and saying nothing. It might be listening, which goes hand in hand with biting my tongue. It might be walking away until some of the negative emotion subsides. It might be remembering how much I really love this person. It might be forgiving in a genuine way. In some cases, it might even mean seeking some professional help.

No matter the situation or the temptation, the key is to pause and ask the question, “What is the next right thing or the next best action I can take?”

It is also important to remember that God’s Word, when opened and applied, still fixes broken mirrors today. That’s why James instructed his hearers to always be looking intently at the perfect law of liberty and abiding by it (James 1:25). God’s word will confront our pride, arrogance, anger and selfishness. Obedience to the perfect law of liberty will help us more consistently choose the next right thing and the next best action.

What next right thing will you choose to do today?

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Philip Goad is the minister at North Highlands Church of Christ in Russellville. He is married to Marla, and they have a daughter, Kayla Thorne, who is married to Josh. They also have a son, Preston, and one grandchild, Greyson Thorne.

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