Bob had a fight with his wife and was angry. He decided to go for a walk to cool off. While on his walk he wandered past the local bar. Outside the bar was a woman who, as he got closer, he realized was his old high school girlfriend, Mabel. She looked as good as she did way back then, and he decided it wouldn’t hurt to stop and say hello. After talking for a while she asked him to come inside and have a beer with her. Things led to things and before he knew it he was waking up in her apartment the next morning. Bob felt terrible, what could he do? He’d only been angry. He hadn’t meant to get drunk, or cheat on his wife, but here he was with a big headache and a bigger ache in his heart.
The first thing he began to do, once he’d realized what he’d done, was to make excuses for his behavior. “If his wife had only given in to his point of view, he never would have gotten mad in the first place.” “If his ex-girlfriend hadn’t been there, he wouldn’t have stopped at the bar.” “If that bartender hadn’t kept on bringing those drinks, he never in a million years would have gotten drunk and gone home with Mabel.” “If only Mabel had gotten fat and ugly after all those years, he never would have been tempted by her.” “It was actually all God’s fault because God created him with these awful emotions that he couldn’t control anyway.”
Many of you reading this don’t think you really relate to Bob’s problem. But is that a correct assessment of your situation? When you think about it, in every situation Bob has simply done the easy thing. At every opportunity, instead of doing the thing he knew was the right thing to do, he did the thing that was most expedient at the time. Why was he fighting with his wife? Was it because he wasn’t getting his own way? Was it because she was trying to assert herself and he didn’t like it? Whatever it was, it is clear that Bob was not loving his wife as Christ loves the church. Jesus died and gave himself for the church. Is that what Bob was doing? Or was he taking the easy way and getting angry when the right way of humility was much harder at the time? When he left the house angry, I’m not sure that wasn’t a good idea to go for a walk to cool off, but what was he thinking when he ran into Mabel? I’m lonely and here’s someone who cares for me? My wife doesn’t understand me and here’s a woman who does? I’m sure he wasn’t planning to get into trouble, but as soon as he said more than hello to Mabel, he was heading for it in a big way. Every step in Bob’s story shows that when confronted with the choice to do the right thing or to do the easy thing, Bob chose the easy way.
What about you? Do you choose the easy way when you have a choice? Do you cheat because it’s easier than doing a good job well? Do you flirt with danger because it’s easier than facing your responsibilities? How many of you men stay at work because it’s easier than going home and facing a family that bickers and fights all the time? You know it’s your job to maintain your family, and God will hold you accountable for your fighting family. I know it’s hard to do the right thing and sin is indeed pleasurable for a season (Heb 11:25), but look at the consequences of doing the easy thing.
For example, if you don’t discipline your children, they will grow up eternally lost and very probably socially lost. If you don’t love your wife, she will not submit to you and will turn into a nasty ogre. If you don’t submit to your husband, he will leave you. (Men have a way of leaving without actually going anywhere). If you’re single and you don’t wait on the Lord for a husband or wife, you will be bummed for as long as you live when you go the easy way and go out with a non-Christian and he/she breaks your heart. Going the easy way is never the easy way. And in the long run, doing the right thing is really the easy way.
But, you ask, what is the right way and how do I find it? By right way, I mean God’s way. Doing what God has commanded, in the way that he has commanded is the right way to be living. If God says to love your wife, anything short of that is doing the easy thing and will end up in disaster. If God says to marry a Christian and you date a non-Christian, you are doing the easy thing and are heading for trouble. If God says getting drunk leads to debauchery and you, because of peer pressure, loneliness, or whatever, do the easy thing, you will regret it in the long run.
Another question that arises at this point is, “if a behavior feels right, how can it be wrong? Surely God wouldn’t make sinful things so easy to do if they were indeed sinful.” The Bible says that friendliness with the world is hatred toward God. The world teaches us to judge what is right and wrong based on how it feels at the time. They are into fast food, fast cars, fast women, and anything else that takes away any pain or waiting. But that is the way the world operates. The world doesn’t care about the long term. They don’t care about character or true love (the kind that takes a relationship to build). Christians are called to trust God. Christians are called to hesitate when the world tries to tell us anything. We know that whatever they say, or do, is naturally going to be for the instant gratification they get. Christians are called to do the right thing – in every situation. It may be the hard thing at the time, or it may be easy, but ease or difficulty is not the measuring stick for the Christian. We are told to ask, “is it the right thing?”