Over the past few years I’ve noticed a trend in psychology, which has also become popular in spiritual teaching. There’s an emphasis on pointing out that when people find themselves in tough predicaments, it is a result of their own poor choices. It’s as though the fact that people choose the wrong course of action absolves their brothers and sisters from the need to extend love and grace.
While I realize the truth of everyone’s responsibility for their own actions, there is another equal truth at work. The human heart is evil and wicked. Just as certainly as people’s choices are flawed, so people’s “choosers” are flawed.
At times I have given mental assent to the apostle Paul’s words that he didn’t do what he wanted to do, and he did what he did not want to do. But have I really believed that poor choices were a reality for even Paul? And what of my own struggles and failures – the times when I do something that, in my spirit and in my very being, I really don’t want to do? Am I an evil protagonist trying to hide from personal accountability, or one who is up against a human defect over which I have no control?
Honestly… I don’t have the spiritual insight to figure this out. So before I judge people’s choices, I think I should recognize that those people (including me) are victims of fallen choosers, and actively love them anyway.