Have you settled for second best in a situation because you chose the immediate over the permanent? Have you married the wrong person? Have you crossed a moral boundary thinking no one will be the wiser only to have your secret exposed? How about a bad financial decision or maybe you hate your job? Maybe you've hurt other people.
Erwin Lutzer addresses all these issues each in their own chapter in his book, Making the Best of a Bad Decision. The book starts off with the worst decision ever made in world's history (it started in the Garden of Eden) and how all of mankind has had to pay for Adam and Eve's bad decision. The succeeding chapters address how people arrive at bad decisions and how they and others suffer the consequences for them. Luckily he doesn't end there. He also shows how turning to God for the solution can make even the worst decision ultimately lead to victory and God's glory.
Lutzer turns to different stories of the Bible-Adam and Eve, the Israelites wandering in the desert, Joshua's foolish vow to the Gibeonites, King David's infidelity- and demonstrates how God took their wrong choices and made ultimate good out of them. Lutzer doesn't sugarcoat sin. He never refers to it as a “mistake” or a “stumble.” Those terms imply that one didn't do it on purpose. Sin is always a conscious choice. Lutzer explains that there will be negative consequences for it but he also shows that with God all wrong can still lead to right.
I especially appreciated his section about being the person who suffers from other peoples bad decisions. Whenever one hears about some abusive individual who does horrible things to his family, inevitably I hear someone say, “Well, that's probably how he was raised.”
Lutzer has this to say about that “explanation”:
God's grace goes where it is most needed and desired. Millions of children with unfaithful-and even evil- parents have served God with faithfulness and great blessing.
A couple named Tony and Ruth exemplify this truth. Tony came from an abusive, alcoholic home, and Ruth was thrown out of her home as a teenager and ended up working on the streets. Both have been redeemed by God's grace and are raising their children with careful parenting and faith. Together, they are affirming, “The curse stops with us!” (pg. 33)
I also found his words toward people who believed they married the wrong person encouraging. He tells of James Fraser, an eighteenth-century Scottish pastor with a difficult wife. When other pastors praised their wives he had this to say.
My wife has been better to me than all of yours put together...She has driven me to my knees seven times a day, and that is more than any of your wives have done for you!”(pg. 65)
Such sacrifice is unheard of today and Lutzer discusses the myth and lie “I have a right to happiness” and how this belief has caused more misery than any perceived dissatisfaction with a given situation has.
I read a review on another blog about Madame Bovary. This blogger waxed eloquent on Bovary's
“brave emancipation from her husband and duties of motherhood”. (A nice way of saying she cheated on her husband and abandoned her daughter to a life of grinding poverty). The reviewer summed up with “It's a pity she could never find happiness.”
I wrote a response: “Selfish people can never be happy.”
This book is filled with many personal stories and examples both from the Bible and people Lutzer has known and counseled throughout the years. He ends with a chapter titled, “The Worst Decision You Could Ever Make”. This is the only decision any human can make that God cannot change for good. Readers who are Christians will know exactly what that is, the rest will need to read the book.
I highly recommend this book for anyone looking for solutions or an escape from their wrong choices.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishing Co. in exchange for my honest review.
If you buy this book, please do so through my link so I can receive a percentage. Thanks!!