This is Pastor Tim’s Article that appeared in the Evening Leader on Monday, Nov 23, 2020
Have you ever stopped to consider the difference between a decision and a response? At first glance, you may think that these two concepts are in no way related, but we confuse the two all the time. There are many things that good people like you and me do every day that we think are one but are really the other. Can I be honest with you? You want more decisions than responses in your life because decisions are within your control – responses are not.
Let me give you an example to help illustrate the difference. You find out that your kids have spilled something in the middle of the living room floor. Shouting at your kids about how we can’t have nice things, why we aren’t supposed to be drinking juice in the living room, and how hard the rest of your day was and then to have to come home and deal with this is a response. And I think we would all agree not a particularly good response.
Reminding your children that they were not supposed to be drinking juice in the living room and they are going to clean up the mess they made as well as the TV is going to be off for a while so they drink their juice in the kitchen is a decision. There is no emotion clouding what you do in a decision. It is a recognition that your kids were drinking juice where they were not supposed to be, but it is also a recognition that, based on this infraction alone, they probably aren’t growing up to be serial killers either.
Responses are mostly involuntary. That white hot rage you feel when you hit your head on something – that is a response. You can’t control that. Rubbing your head and not using God’s name in vain to express that rage – that is a decision. One is in control, the other is not.
I am not saying that all responses are bad. The surge of excitement when you have friends over for a party or giving your spouse a kiss when you are happy to see them are great responses, nothing is wrong with them. So in and of themselves, they aren’t bad. It is just what we do with them.
The danger comes when we confuse the two. When we classify a decision as a response or vice versa, we run into major problems. It is very important that we talk about that issue today because there is a very special holiday coming up this week. We need to make sure we understand whether it is a decision or a response. No, I’m not talking about binge shopping for Black Friday; I am talking about that other, lesser known holiday we celebrate this week: Thanksgiving. Is this holiday a decision or a response?
This comes down to which side of this argument you put being thankful. Is being thankful a decision or a response? Let me follow this up with another question. If we decide that being thankful is a response, how much desire do you have to celebrate this year?
2020 has been the worst year of my life. Wayne Street’s attendance is almost 100 down per Sunday on average from where we were last year at this time. Because of shut down, we had 0 attendance on Easter Sunday. On top of that, I also had a painful tooth that took me over a week to get a root canal, which was miserable. I had an abdominal adhesion that ended me up in OSU Hospital for a week for surgery. And then I took the end of one of my fingers off with a hedge trimmer and had to get 7 stitches. The only thing about 2020 that I would respond to in any thankful kind of way is that we are 5 weeks from New Year’s Eve.
This is why being thankful is a decision and I want to encourage all of you, in light of what is happening, to make that decision. I know that family gatherings may be limited because of the virus and travel may be a little more difficult. But whatever you will be doing this week, please decide to be thankful. Don’t allow it to be a response because that will ruin your celebration.
Decide to be thankful because not only will it make Thursday a better day, but it is also a much better way to live everyday.