Summary: Dealing with friends and family that make bad decisions.

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Running, Rebelling, Ignoring…Bad Decisions, How Do We Handle Them?

Jonah 1:1-17

Jonah was given an order. God gave him a message and told Jonah to deliver it to Ninevah. It was cut and dry. No gray area here, just a direct message from God to travel to Ninevah and preach against the wickedness that had come before the Lord. But, it seems in this day and age, in a time with so many options that very few of our decisions are cut and dry. And, try as we may, we don’t always avoid making a bad decision. History has shown us that bad decisions carry consequences. Let’s take a look at some bad decisions:

In 1955, Sam Phillips sold a small recording company to RCA records for $35,000. It included an exclusive contract with a young man by the name of Elvis Presley. Mr. Phillips, in the process of what seemed a smart business transaction, unknowingly forfeited royalties on more than 1 billion records. This was a bad decision.

In 1936, Joe Schuester and Jerry Segal sold the rights to Superman for $65.00 a piece. In 1978, the movie Superman took in more than $134 million. This was a bad decision.

The Boston Red Sox won the 1915, 1916, and 1918 World Series on the back of their ace left-handed hurler George Herman Ruth. In 1919, the Sox sold Ruth to the New York Yankees where the Babe broke nearly every hitting record and won four more World Series rings. To this date, the Red Sox have not won another World Series Championship. This was a bad decision.

Finally, this bear should of just read the sign!!! This was a bad decision.

Jonah made a bad decision—he not only refused to go to Ninevah, but sought to escape to the city furthest away from Ninevah. Jonah felt the consequences of his decision just as the rest of us feel the consequences of our poor decisions. But, what about the crew of the ship Jonah boarded? They didn’t make a bad decision, and yet they suffered because of Jonah’s choices. What happens in our lives when we don’t make the decision ourselves, and the poor choice still effects us? How do we respond to those around us—our friends and family—that make poor decisions?

In order to effectively answer this question, I think we need to first take a look at how people make poor decisions. Whereas it seems there are a ton of reasons we make poor decisions, I am going to suggest three main reasons.

First, we make bad decisions by running from God. Jonah is a prime example. In his reluctance to obey God, he runs to Tarshish to avoid Ninevah altogether. My Sophmore year at USI, I ran from God. My girlfriend of 4 years had left town to attend a school in Birmingham, AL, and with my soccer schedule at USI, I was only able to see her about every 3-4 months for a day at a time. It was a frustrating and scary time for me, as God was telling me to let her go and experience a little freedom. But, as a young man in college, I knew the minds of young men in college, and was fully aware that the men of Samford University weren’t about to respect the relationship boundaries of a boy from Evansville and his high school sweetheart. Instead of listening to God and seeking the comfort of His word I quickly joined the campus party scene and was not quick to leave. In the process, I nearly sacrificed my calling to ministry and my soon to be marriage to my high school sweetheart, beautiful wife, and mother of my soon to be three children—Kathy. Bad decisions are made when we hear God calling clearly, and we run the other way. We know that God’s desire for our lives is to mold us and make us into what He wants us to be, and to many of us and to our friends and family, that idea of change becomes to much, and so we run. And, running from God is a bad decision.

Secondly, we make bad decisions when we rebel against God. In the Garden of Eden God set man at the head of all of creation. Man had the luxury of eating from any tree in the Garden with the exception of one tree—the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God let man know that if he ate from this particular tree man would surely die. Aided by the temptation of the evil one in serpent form, Eve and Adam together ate of the tree in direct rebellion of God’s command. Sin entered the world, and to this day man rebels against the commands of God. We see this on a daily basis as people take people’s lives, steal their possessions, lie, cheat, speak badly of each other, and so on and so on, even though God’s commands show us clearly that we are wrong. Friends, when we rebel against God, we make bad decisions.

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