How Will Your Decision Affect Others?
“Each of us will give an account of himself to God. So don’t criticize each other anymore. Try instead to live in such a way that you will never make your brother stumble by letting him see you doing something that he thinks is wrong” (Romans 14:12-13 TLB).
One of the biggest mistakes we make in life is forgetting how much our actions influence the people around us. Every day you are tempted to make decisions that may seem best for you but could have a devastating effect on the people around you. If you want to make wise decisions, you need to ask, “Will my choice harm other people?”
That’s the opposite of our culture. Our society teaches us to think only of ourselves. But God wants you to think about others, not just yourself. In fact, the Bible says that one day you’re going to be judged by God on how your decisions affected other people.
Romans 14:12-13 says, “Each of us will give an account of himself to God. So don’t criticize each other anymore. Try instead to live in such a way that you will never make your brother stumble by letting him see you doing something that he thinks is wrong” (TLB).
You may not like hearing this, but you are being watched—all the time. If you’re a parent, you should be especially aware that little eyes are always observing. You’ve got to be careful about what you say and do because you’re influencing not just your life but the next generation as well.
Show respect for authority. If a police officer pulls you over for a ticket, even if you think he’s wrong, you treat him with respect.
Don’t call in sick when your family is actually going to the beach for the day.
Don’t bring supplies home that you stole from the office to use for personal benefit.
Don’t cheat on your taxes—and then brag in front of your kids about all the ways you’re ripping off Uncle Sam.
Don’t watch the awful stuff that’s on TV and in the movies with your kids. Think about whether you should be watching it at all.
Mature people limit their freedom for the benefit of others. Not because you’re afraid of what other people think, but because you’re motivated by love. In situations where there is no clear right or wrong, you have to ask yourself, “How will my decision affect other people?”
Talk It Over
How does pride affect your ability to clearly consider how your choices affect other people?
Does it matter if the other person thinks what you’re doing is wrong even if you think it’s right? Why or why not?
Practically speaking, what does it look like to limit your freedom for the benefit of others?
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This devotional © 2019 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.