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  • Writer's pictureBy Pastor Andy Plank


July 5, 2020

As the chaplain for Turney Center men’s prison, every so often, I am asked to write a parole recommendation for an inmate. One of the things I check before writing this letter is the inmate’s disciplinary record. While a disciplinary record in and of itself doesn’t tell me everything I need to know, (sometimes an inmate can receive a disciplinary write up over a misunderstanding or as a result of his cellmate’s actions), the disciplinary record does give me a good indication about the kinds of decisions the inmate has made while he has been incarcerated. One of the things that we try to teach these men as part of their rehabilitation is the importance of making good decisions. Every decision made carries consequences, both good and bad. As I pondered on this, I realized that good decision making is crucial for all of us. When you stop and think about it, most of what happens to us in the course of a day, week, month, year, or lifetime is a result of individual decisions we make. For every one of us, we are only one bad decision away from seeing our lives run totally off the rails. Unfortunately, many of our decisions are made as a reaction to the consequences of a previous decision. Then if we aren’t careful, we find ourselves dealing with the fallout from a series of bad decisions. I am not writing this to make us indecisive. I am sometimes guilty of thinking so much about all of the possible outcomes of a certain decision that I find myself unable to decide! However, as we make decisions, we need to ask ourselves some things. First, does this decision honor God? Everything we say and do needs to honor God and every decision we make needs to honor God. Go back and reread that sentence. All too often, we make a decision and then ask God to come along for the ride. Second, we need to ask if our decision harms anyone. As Christians, we are called to the ministry of reconciliation (II Corinthians 5:18). Jesus tells us that His followers are to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9). None of us live on an island by ourselves. Every decision we make affects others around us. Finally, we need to ask ourselves if our decision helps point others to Jesus. Ultimately, that is God’s purpose for our lives. We are to be salt and light to the tasteless, dying, dark world around us. Consider your decisions and then go be a blessing to someone . . . . Andy

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