One of the coversations I seem to keep having with a small number of people is when they come to seek “guidance” for their life choices.
They present their case and then inform me of the choices they have made and then spend a whole lot of time tyring to justify those choices.
The problem here is that what they are seeking is my approval for their poor choices.
Poor choices either are or often lead to sin. And those seeking my approval for these choices often leave quite disgruntled when I won’t give my approval…(not that my approval for poor choices should matter much anyway, they’re still a poor choice and my “approval” will not change their outcome).
They confuse approval with acceptance and often accuse me (and other leaders in our church) of not “accepting them as they are“, when in fact we do accept them as they are, but we don’t approve of their choices to stay as they are.
Because we love people, we want them to make good choices and to grow in their spiritual maturity causing their lives to become more fruitful and profitable in every way.
Contrast this with those that come and explain a situation and present some options they are considering and ask for perspective. This is a far better way to handle choices.
Elders (pastors/bishops/ovseers) or deacons can, and will happily give their perspective with regard to your life choices and situations, but we cannot give permission or approval (or disapproval) if your choices have already been made.
A perspective is simply a different point of view.
We may be able to see your situation from a different point of view (an external one to the situation) and be able to point out some benefits or issues and obstacles that you can’t see from your point of view.
This new perspective may assist in the actual making of a decision…which obviously can’t help if decisions have already been made and we are just being informed.
As far as seeking approval for poor choices goes, Proverbs 21:30 says “No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the Lord“.
This simply means that if the decision we are trying to justify contradicts the word of God, no amount of “wisdom” or prayer or counsel or advice or opinion of your leaders is going to make that choice right or acceptable or change the outcome of it.
What God says stands regardless of anything anyone else says.
Life would be so much simpler if we would just honestly and openly weigh all our decisions in light of God’s word even before seeking the counsel or perspective of others.
Remember too that Proverbs 21:2 says that “Every way of a man seems right in his own eyes“.
This is a good reminder that once we have determined some options that don’t violate God’s word, it’s a good thing to have a look at our situation and possible choices through the eyes of another.
I cannot tell you how many times the perspective of one of my leaders has saved me loads of money and saved me from doing something dumb that I will regret for years to come.
It all comes down to being humble enough to ask before we make a silly decision and then go looking for someone to rubber stamp it and make it “okay“.
Read and study Proverbs and teach it to your kids, it is a well of life!