On the way to school the other day, my older daughter was telling me about the mock election they are having at her school. She commented that her social studies teacher was forcing them to register to vote. “I don’t think that’s right,” she said. “It’s a free country. It should be my choice to vote or not.”
We talked about how my daughter was right — it is a free country, and in the real world you can choose whether or not to vote. But we also talked about what that choice tells other people. We talked about whether choosing to vote or not honored the sacrifice of those who died so we can have that right. Mostly, though, we talked about the fact that the choices we make send a message to other people.
Sometimes, it’s easy to chalk poor choices up to immaturity and a learning experience, and it’s true that they are, but I often think we don’t talk enough with our kids about how our choices really tell other people something about us.
When people look at our lives, we want them to see Jesus. We want them to know that we are different, that we follow a different path than the rest of the world. We want them to wonder what makes our lives so different from others. And the choices we make play into that.
Our kids need to know that good choices and bad choices aren’t just about following a certain set of rules. Good choices are an outward expression of our love for Jesus. Everything hinges on loving God and loving others. In Matthew 22:36-40, Jesus said “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
When we choose to love God, we choose to let that love spill out onto others around us. That sets us apart. That makes others look at our lives and wonder what it is that makes us different. The choice to love makes all the difference.
Your choices tell the rest of the world something about you. What do your choices say about you? What do your kids’ choices say about them? Are you all choosing love today?