Decision Making... Thinking About It
“All decisions, in the moment, from the perspective of the decision maker, are between the greater of two goods or the lesser of two evils. There are no ‘right' or 'wrong’ decisions.”
When I heard this principle from Robert McKee’s book Story–I was repulsed. Of course there’s a right or wrong decision. If it violates Scripture, it’s wrong. This can’t be true! And from an outcomes point of view, a decision to violate God’s law is always wrong.
But as I’ve worked through it, and I think about the decision from the perspective of the decision maker, I’ve come to see that he’s right; the decision will be between the greater of two goods or the lesser of two evils.
Let’s say I have to decide between stopping to help a stranded motorist or getting to a meeting on time. Which is the greater good? In the moment, from my personal perspective, there is no “right” or “wrong” per se. I have to choose between the greater of two goods…be on time, or be the Good Samaritan. As a Christian, I better pray and obey.
But let’s go the other way. I’m traveling…I’m in a hotel room, and I’m as lonely as can be. Do I spin up a porn flick on the TV, or do I wallow in my loneliness and try to go to sleep? My choices are between the lesser of two evils: loneliness or outright sin. So (hopefully) I’ll choose loneliness, the lesser of the two evils.
Try this out for awhile. When you have a decision to make, ask, “What are the two ‘goods’ I’m choosing between here?” or “What are the two evils?” It might be clarifying for you as you navigate life.
Question: Can you think of a situation where this principle can’t be applied?