When I was young, I loved the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books. Each time you read them, it could be a different story. Every couple of pages, you had a choice to make. If you thought the character should do one thing, you turned to a certain page. If you thought they should do another, you turned to that page. Sometimes, I made the wrong choice, the character died and the book was over. I’d flip back, choose the other one and keep reading. It was easy to keep the story going.
In real life, it’s not that easy to go back and make the right choice after you’ve made the wrong one. Our story is forever altered by the decisions that we make. Often we are presented with dilemmas where there is no clear cut right or wrong answer. There are times when we can’t foresee what the outcome of our decisions will be. It’s hard to know what to do. Sometimes those decisions have eternal consequences and we can’t easily just go back and make the other choice.
At the first ever ReWrite Conference, I got the opportunity to meet and interact with Peter Strople. I was invited to attend a small group meeting with him and a few other writers. That meeting had an impact on my life and will be something I remember forever. In that meeting, he said, “When in doubt, love.” It’s so simple, yet so profound. I find myself constantly trying to find the right answer for every situation, and the answer is always the same. Love others.
A few years back, everyone was wearing “WWJD” bracelets. I can tell you what Jesus would do in any given situation. He would show love. He made His decisions based out of love for the person. It wasn’t always the easy decision, but it was the one He made constantly. He loved Peter enough to go to him after he had denied Him. He showed compassion to the woman caught in adultery. He was patient with Martha when she was concerned about all the wrong things. He didn’t disassociate himself from the woman at the well who had been divorced multiple times and was living with a man.
Jesus knew that love is what is required in each situation. That’s why when someone asked Him what the greatest commandment was, He added a second. In Matthew 22:37-40, He said the most important commandment was to love God with all your heart, soul and mind. Then he said, “The second is equally important: love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Both of the greatest commandment were about love. Loving God. Loving others. When you learn to love both, the right decision becomes clear. When in doubt, love.