One wrong can make a right
Some time later, the LORD spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.” — Genesis 15:1
Ten years pass since God promised Abram an heir, and Sarai, Abram’s wife, isn’t getting any younger. On their own, Sarai and Abram decide to get this reward and decide to have Sarai’s servant Hagar bear a child for them. Sarai (who becomes Sarah) does give birth, but that lack of patience led to great strife—for their family, and for us today. Much of the tension in the Middle East can be traced to two people groups: the descendants of Hagar and of Sarah.
Like the domino effect, one bad decision can have deep, lasting, and painful consequences for generations. The Middle East is a great example. There are smaller examples, too, like my nephew Adam who would have been twenty-two this September 11th. This will be the first birthday after his death.
Handsome, talented, and a proponent of justice for all, Adam, who was one of the best friends ever, made a bad decision. Ultimately, a series of bad decisions later cost him his life and now his parents’ marriage. On the frontline of this, these words are true: It. Is. Awful.
But I don’t believe it all has to stay awful. I think the continuation of pain can stop. Evil can be buried and stay buried. As Sarai and Abram didn’t wait for God’s promise, we don’t either. No one gets out of this life without a bad decision, and bad decisions, when we think about it, hold the absence of God who loves us just as he loves Abram, Sarai, Hagar, and my nephew Adam.
A “right” decision now cannot bring my nephew back, but right decisions on the heels of bad ones can make love grow, and light can replace darkness. And I’m banking my life not on me and my bad decisions, but on God’s promises. You should, too.
LORD: We pray for love to grow when anger and loss now live. We pray that we respond in ways not to perpetuate evil but eradicate it. We pray for the Middle East, for parents who lose children to death, and we pray for marriages to heal through the hurts. Amen.