Answering Difficult Issues


Ron Edmondson shares three questions that can help when facing difficult decisions.

I received a call recently from someone trying to make a difficult decision. I seem to get those kinds of questions frequently. Usually the dilemma a person is facing has no direct, easy answer, and the exact answer is not always clearly spelled out in the Bible.

  1. The one who has to decide whether to risk losing a friendship to do the right thing…

  2. The girl who knows she is in the wrong relationship, but can’t decide whether to let it go…

  3. The person who is ready to give up on their marriage…

  4. The person working for a boss he or she knows is being dishonest…

  5. The person who did something wrong, did not get caught, but wonders if they should confess…

You know the type….

In fact you’ve probably been there…

Usually I do not give the person an answer; either because I do not know the right answer or because I have learned that even if I did he or she might resent the answer I give them. Even though they have asked for my opinion, the person needs to own the decision they make, based on what is in their heart and their personal inclination. I can and will share truth with them, but the reality is that I cannot effectively lead people where they do not want to go.

Through years of counseling I have landed on the following three questions that have proven helpful to give people as a framework to use when working with these type decisions. Often these questions will guide an individual towards the best decision personally without pressure from me. They are more likely to follow a decision they reached on their own.

What can you do?

God’s grace is amazing. Even when we make a wrong decision, God works all things for good. (Proverbs 16:9) When a person understands this truth they actually are more open to making the wisest decision. The kindness of God does lead to repentance.

What should you do?

This is obviously a more difficult question. With this question the person is forced to consider the issue of right and wrong. They should think through this concerning what God would have them to do and what would be best in the short-term and long-term for all parties involved. The separation between the first two questions often helps people work through the correct answer for their situation.

What will you do?

This is the biggest question, because it forces the person to consider making the best decision as opposed to the popular, comfortable or easy decision. When a person answers this question it helps them develop a resolve in their heart to carry through on their commitment.

I give these questions to people and usually let them work through them on their own, at least at first. If they need to talk through them I will do that after they have wrestled to answer them personally at first.

Have you had times when you had to make a difficult decision and could not decide what to do? How did you solve your dilemma?

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