“People are born for trouble as readily as sparks fly up from a fire.” Job 5:7 (New Living Translation)

Where do bad ideas come from? Certainly, in some cases they come from wayward desires and evil intentions, but in others they seem to emerge from the imagination like the froth on root beer. The problem in either case is that bad ideas are not well considered long enough or soon enough to understand the real and often less apparent consequences.

When I was about five and one of my similarly aged male cousins came to visit, he and I were sent into the fenced in backyard so that the noise and tumult of two boys at play, which was somehow unpleasant to the adults, would not tax their “last nerve.” We had a large backyard complete with sandbox and swing set. So, it is a mystery to me how he and I tired of these amusements and thought up a new idea which sounded so fun. How were we to know that it was going to go in the hall of records for bad ideas in my parent’s eyes? I don’t know whose idea it was though I’d like to blame my cousin, I think I may have been the actual culprit and ringleader.

We jumped over the fence into the neighbors’ field and for some unfathomable reason found endless delight in pulling up his potatoes. As you can imagine we gave this effort our best because surely if we’d only pulled up a few we’d have gone undiscovered. We piled up quite a mound, laughing and competing, thoughtless and carefree. A great time was being had and then, somehow, the adults were made aware of our fell deeds. Surely a nosy neighbor called my parents. All of a sudden, many adults were converging on our bliss and by the cross looks on their faces I discerned things were not going to remain enjoyable at all. And it would be the granddaddy of all understatements to say that the repercussions of our grand game more than wiped away all the fun prior to the retribution meted out upon us. Consequences now made themselves indelibly and perfectly clear.

I’d like to say that I never had another bad idea, but of course I cannot. I can say that I learned the importance of thinking more carefully about ideas and trying to discern consequences. Because of my Christian faith, I am greatly helped by God’s guidance in the Bible to understand that what God forbids is actually a guardrail against dire consequences and what God commands is actually a path to much more certain rewards. If someone desires to be wise and discerning so that they can avoid both evil and just plain bad ideas, I can commend no discipline greater than reading the whole Bible regularly and asking God’s Holy Spirit to help him/her glean wisdom and goodness from its teachings. Proverbs 22:3 says, (Amplified Bible) “A prudent and far-sighted person sees the evil (of sin) and hides himself (from it), but the naive continue on and are punished (by suffering the consequences of sin).”

Be prudent by seeking to know the will of God and live out the love of Christ. This is the best idea!

God bless!

Contact Pastor Lamb at imlayumc@yahoo.com.