So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. ESV James 4:17
My sister called me tonight and reflected on two challenging church experiences she had lived through. The first experience was hard, but she survived. The second experience really wounded her. What made the difference? In both churches significant immorality surfaced among the church leadership. The first church administered church discipline…a messy, unpredictable, and often confusing process. The second church continually promised to address the situation, but never did. Granted, the first church made mistakes, and some people were hurt, but the leadership attempted to do the right thing (and God healed their flock). The second church never acted decisively to do right.
The verse listed above seems to support the Nike principle. Life is never black and white. We rarely have 100% confidence in our actions. At work, as parents, in our marriage, with our neighbors, in relationships–rarely will we know exactly how we need to do something and how to go about it. When do we apply grace? When do we apply truth? The answers are often elusive, yet the big picture remains clear. We know we are called to act. God’s grace is great, but it doesn’t cover inaction. When faced with hard decisions at work, prayerfully consider the outcomes, and then act. Every detail may not be determined or perfect, but we can entrust ourselves to God’s grace knowing we tried to do the right thing. Focus on doing these right things and leave the details to God. Don’t focus on the details and forget to do the right things. That reversal is one of Satan’s basic tricks to keep us from pursuing God’s will. Seek His face, and He will guide.
There isn’t a “perfect” parenting style, but you do have to parent. There isn’t a perfect marriage formula, but you do have to work on your marriage. There isn’t a guaranteed road to success, but you have to seek it out. Don’t allow the “paralysis of analysis” to keep you from doing the things God has called you to do. You don’t have to do them perfectly, but to know God has called you to do something and fail to do it: that’s sin. Just do what God calls you to do and leave the details (and results) up to God.