Have you ever asked yourself, “Why did I do that?” These days with ubiquitous video cameras there is a good chance your behavior was captured digitally. Have you ever watched America’s Funniest Home Videos? Some of them are really funny and cute but some just reveal the stupidity of people.
You may have done something silly like eating that 3rd donut or something really big like making a bad choice that has deep ramifications in your life. Repeating a mistake like a vicious cycle. It’s almost like you can’t help yourself.
When you ask, “Why did I do that?”, what answers do you get? If you are like me you get a lot of answers that involve blame, shame, “You are so stupid.”, “You did it because of her/him.”, “What got into you?”. Statements with shoulds and oughts in them, “You shouldn’t have said that.”, “You ought to know better.”
(Of course there are always those who don’t feel badly about what they did and they never ask that question of themselves.)
But when you examine those statements, that kind of thinking, they are not very helpful. They heap on the guilt and shame but we fall into them every time. They only increase how badly we feel about ourselves and they don’t address the real issues involved.
We need to ask that question and then tell ourselves the truth. It helps to get some objective input from a trusted friend. Often it is important to go back to move forward. There is nothing wrong with trying to understand ourselves so that we can stop self-destructive behaviors.
A good case of someone who made repeated bad decisions is Samson for the book of Judges in the Bible. The first wife he wanted was someone not of his people and therefore not wise. But He is stubborn and insists because she looks good to him. After nagging him he reveals to her the answer to a riddle which she in turn gives to his enemies. He chooses another wife just like the first one – but Delilah was more conniving. She tries to trick him into revealing the source of his strength. He resists until her nagging gets to him. He finally tells her the answer to yet another riddle and she blabs it to his enemies. He is captured and blinded by his enemies and was made to perform for their amusement.
As we read that we may well ask, “You should have known better Sampson, didn’t you learn the first time?” Apparently not. We don’t know what transpired after he was captured and blinded. But I would assume he had time to think and make changes. In the end God used Sampson in a mighty way to destroy the enemies of Judah. God redeemed Samson for His purpose.
God does redeem our choices and use them for His glory if we take them to Him.