At two years of age, my daughter Audrey has entered the delightful world of making choices—and making them known, usually, it seems, as loudly and emphatically as possible! Tantrums aside, I’m glad that she’s learning to exercise her free will, and it’s interesting to watch her learn about various choice options. In life, making the right decisions can prove to be very challenging, but I hope to teach her that even if her parents aren’t always around to help, she won’t ever have to make them alone.
For believers, decision-making is meant to be a relational process involving ourselves and God. We bring all our anxieties to Him, knowing that He cares for us1 and wants to be present and a participant in our decisions. Making godly decisions that honor God is one of the ways we show that we love Him with all our hearts, bodies, souls, and minds.2
Of course, one of the consequences of free will is that both we and others are able to make the wrong choices, which can sometimes have serious repercussions. In cases where someone has hurt us, God calls us to forgive: “Be kind and merciful, and forgive others, just as God forgave you because of Christ.”3
The Bible states that God no longer remembers our sins4—He treats us as if they hadn’t occurred. When we forgive, it means that even though we may remember the events that hurt us, we choose to live as if we did not.
That reminds me of how South African statesman Nelson Mandela described his thoughts when he was released after 27 years of imprisonment for opposing apartheid: “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”