Each of us is one dumb decision away from stupid.

“The naive inherit foolishness, But the sensible are crowned with knowledge.” Proverbs 14:18

On more than one occasion I have watched as Dawn has counseled a wife whose husband was walking out on their marriage. The scenario is rather predictable. It usually goes something like this. The husband has reconnected with a woman from his younger years. He’s convinced he can leave his wife (and often their children as well) to build a better life with a woman he hasn’t seen or been around in years. Their relationship that was either reestablished through social media or phone interaction has him convinced there’s a better life out there awaiting him.

From my vantage point—to put it bluntly—I believe this is quite stupid! It’s almost nauseating to sit and watch men recklessly unravel their family’s life before my very eyes. From the outside looking in, it seems so obvious how ludicrous their decision-making is. It’s rather easy to look at men like this and wonder, “What are they thinking? Are they idiots?”

Before I get on my high horse though, I must first remember that these men, like me, are just one dumb decision away from stupid. The only difference is they caved in. They gave into the temptation. They no longer resisted. They crossed the line. They reached the tipping point. And now, everything has changed. They and their family’s life, as they knew it, will never be the same, and it is all because they gave into one dumb decision.

You and I must be careful of our decisions and choices. Our decisions and choices shape us. They reveal us. They show what we value and believe. Our decisions and choices today can forever alter our life tomorrow. In fact, our life today is largely a result of our choices yesterday. In the end, we will end up with the life we have decided upon and chosen. Our good friend, Jeremiah Castille, once said, “I made the decision and the decision made me.”

Where in your life are you one dumb decision away from stupid? Everyone has a vice. Everyone has an area of vulnerability. What is yours? If you think you have no vulnerability, pride and arrogance is most likely your vulnerability!

Be aware of your temptations. For men, most are tempted either by money, sex, or power. Any leader (athletic, business, educational, political, religious, etc.) who has ever fallen generally gave in to one final, dumb decision. That dumb decision led to their demise and downfall.

Don’t think you’re above it. You, too, are one dumb decision away from stupid. It will catch you when you least expect it and are unprepared. Be prepared! No one has ever sat in my office and said, “You know Scott, I woke up this morning and decided that I was going to intentionally make the most stupid decision of my life!”

Know with certainty that the power of pleasure is very strong. Hebrews 11:25 says that the pleasure of sin is enjoyable for a season. If it weren’t enjoyable and pleasurable, why would we be tempted to make the dumb decision in the first place?

When tempted, take a moment to imagine the headlines that would be written should your actions come to light. Then, ask yourself, “Is the pleasure and short-term gain worth the consequences and long-term pain?”

Next, identify the possible entry points for dumb decisions. For me, as a man and a husband, my dumb decisions are likely to come when I am H.O.T.S. –

  • Hungry
  • Overwhelmed
  • Tired
  • Sexually Deprived

Understand this, the need for immediate gratification can overwhelm even the most disciplined person. So, never believe that you are above stupidity!

  • Why does it tend to be easier to see “stupid” in someone else than it is to see “stupid” in ourselves?
  • What about you? Are you, too, on the verge of making a rather dumb decision?
  • When are you most susceptible to a dumb decision?
  • Do you know the possible entry points for dumb decisions in your life?
  • What steps have you taken to better ensure you won’t make a dumb decision?

Remember, you and I are both just one dumb decision away from stupid!

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