No. 324

In my younger days growing up in a small town, once in a while I would hear someone make the statement, “His mouth ain’t no prayer book.” While very poor English, loosely translated this meant that just because a particular person said something this fact alone did not necessarily make it so. In other words they did not have to accept what they said as being the Gospel, which was the reference to the prayer book. You know that it goes without saying that this is also true for me. While I do my best to research information for this column and to make sure that it’s accurate, sometimes I fail. However, I always try and do my very best to tell the truth and to be conscientious in presenting various concepts and ideas that will help you. It is my heart’s desire to help people and I hope that comes across to you as you travel along each week with me.
While very simple, today I have a concept to share that may give you pause to consider your own life and what values are important to you. For the balance of our mental time together I want to discuss “Why good people make bad choices.” Again, it’s a matter of perspective and what our values are, but to me a “bad choice” is when we choose any behavior or course of action that impairs our judgement, slows our reaction time and cause us to act in a non-rational way. The bottom line is that doing these things places us on a path that is detrimental to our health and also the health and well being of others.
It’s here that I believe you can see that when any person makes the choice to drink alcohol, do drugs, smoke, gamble, commit adultery and any number of other sins and vices, they are making a bad choice. There is something I have been wanting to say for a long time and it’s this; the fact that a person drinks, does drugs, smokes and gambles does not make them a bad person. The only really bad people in the world are those who are bent on evil, who have no regard for the life and well being of their fellow human beings. Unfortunately, many people in this world are evil and we have to watch out for them.
Now back to point that I hope you will consider “why good people make bad choices.” There are many valid reasons, but I believe they can all be traced to these three very important life changing concepts. 1. The fallen nature of man. 2. The principle of influence. 3. Social patterns that change the culture. Now, please allow me to make some brief comments about each one. First, “The fallen nature of man.” Since Adam & Eve disobeyed God in the Garden Of Eden all of their offspring and future generations, which includes you and me, were born with a nature to sin. It’s natural and that’s why we all do it.
Next, “The principle of influence.” If you will examine the lives of every person who drinks, does drugs, smokes, gambles and has other vices, you will find one or more people in their lives who influenced them. It’s true!! We all make choices because other people have influenced us. Our choice then becomes is it for good or for evil. And lastly, “Social patterns that change the culture.” This happens slowly over an extended period of time. When the numbers are dominant and a sufficient number of people are engaged in doing a certain thing, it becomes the “norm” or accepted thing to do, thus society accepts it. The end result is that the culture is changed.
Many people are being misled today with advertising or by people who encourage others to make ‘bad choices’ because that choice is often not revealed until it’s too late. When a person drinks alcohol, becomes an alcoholic and, in a drunken state, drives a car and takes the lives of good people, it’s only then that everyone knows that they have made a very bad choice. In short, good people can often lead us astray. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)