Decisions affect everything. We decide how we live our lives, whether onto God or ourselves. We decide how and where we live. We decide how we vote. We decide where we work. We decide who we marry or whether we marry at all. We decide to have children or, if we can't have children, we may decide to fill our lives with children as foster parents, adoptive parents, aunts, uncles, and friends.
The point is, we get to choose.
Yes, there are situations where we don’t. Sovereign decisions by God affect our choices. On a human level, decisions by other human beings also can affect our choices. Consider the unfairness of a boss. Or the possibility that we can't get a job because of a poor credit score, a prison record or our age. Consider a health care system that arbitrarily makes decisions for us. Or how any illegal decisions by patients, health care professionals or insurers may hinder our ability to receive affordable care.
Decision-making is something to keep in the forefront when we think about helping our communities. If we’re not concerned about others at our core, we may be headed toward a Wild, Wild West motif, not a thriving network of communities.
- For instance, our urban planning may benefit the well-heeled. But why doesn’t our urban planning also anticipate the needs of current residents? Especially if they are underserved families?
- We may fight for fewer taxes and write-offs. But have we considered how our decisions may affect other people who may make far less? Have we wondered what tax benefits they have? Our incomes and neighborhoods may insulate us from transportation issues or struggling public schools, but what's the effect on those who need public transportation and public schools? Smart, affordable public transportation, and high-achieving public schools need money. Tax money.
- We may decide to patronize food-related companies that boast about helping families with needs in foreign nations, and yet those same “philanthropic” companies fail to transfer their spirit of philanthropy to U.S. neighborhoods plagued by food deserts. Their business models don't seem to fit the "clientele" or the investment doesn't seem worth it. But if we think about it, how philanthropic are these companies, really?
Remember, we all get to decide.
Decisions made solely on self-interest may make good politics and fantastic business, but they represent thorny theology. Jesus says that we're to treat others as we want to be treated. God holds us accountable for how we treat people, whether they are family members, next-door neighbors, or residents in another neighborhood, state or nation. For Jesus followers, kindness is a sacred principle that’s part of our daily lives. Proverbs tells us:
Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment. A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. When wickedness comes, contempt comes also, and with dishonor comes disgrace. The words of a man's mouth are deep waters; the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook. It is not good to be partial to the wicked or to deprive the righteous of justice. (Proverbs 18:1-5)
How do followers of Jesus respond in today's world? How do we lead? Issues like these in the articles below (and more) demand prayer, not neglect. Because every decision we make eternally matters. To the Lord Himself. And to the countless souls He loves.
- How Homeownership Became the Engine of American Inequality
- A Matter of Time: The Causes and Consequences of Rising Time Served in America’s Prisons
- How a Cashless Society Would Harm the Poor
If you're interested in brainstorming with Dallas Leadership Foundation about ways leaders can help leaders in Dallas communities, visit dlftx.org.
Published on Tuesday, July 18, 2017 @ 8:13 PM CDT