Continuing the theme of decisions, I am prompted to think about decisions that I regret, because doing so might help me make better decisions in future. Looking back, it seems that some decisions had unforeseen, unintended consequences, but that other decisions were just bad.
Avoiding unforeseen, unintended consequences requires that I think things through a bit more before acting. In this connection, I would like to commend the many groups that make decisions in our church and nation, where it would have been easier for just one person to take action. Our building improvement for growth team is a good example. Over the last four years, this team has met 49 times and counting, on Sunday nights mainly, for up to four hours. One memorable meeting was devoted to viewing film taken as a camera travelled through our existing drainage system, to try to understand how we rid the building of effluent. Every detail of our proposed new build has been debated, and sometimes I come away with the realisation that, left to myself, I would have made bad decisions, other times they would just have had unforeseen, unintended consequences. It is hard work making good decisions about important projects especially when spending other people’s money.
Most of my “just bad” decisions, however, were those I took in anger. Nothing wrong, intrinsically, with anger, if your blood pressure can take it, but speaking in anger has never served me well. There are a whole bunch of decisions taken in anger that come to my memory with shame. I have offended, unfairly criticised, and annoyed people who might have been allies and friends.
I wonder; did Jesus ever regret decisions that he made? Did he regret conversing with so many women? Did he regret uprooting the disciples from honest trades like tax collecting? Did he regret curing the leper who ignored his injunction to keep quiet? Did he regret taking his mission to gentiles, when he could have spent more time trying to get the Pharisees on board? Did he regret going quietly to torture and death, when he could so easily have avoided that? Did he regret leaving home and craft, abandoning the quiet life, to pursue his mission?
Perhaps he did, perhaps he didn’t.
My concern is to make more good decisions and fewer bad ones. A bit of thoughtful reflection after the manner that Jesus adopted throughout his short life, should help.