In Bible classes for kids and teens, we spend quite a bit of time talking about choices that have a sinful option and a godly option. What we sometimes neglect to discuss is how to make decisions when there is a good option and a better option. Sometimes the good option is not a sin. It may not even be bad for us – at least initially. The problem is that often we miss the better option that might be more pleasing to God and be better for us in the long run.
Let’s say, for example, your students have some free time in their day. There are probably a thousand ways they could spend that bit of free time. Many, if not most, of those options are godly – at least on the surface. They could play a game, read a book, watch a movie. Or they could help their mother with cooking a meal or talk to a friend who has been struggling recently or knit a scarf for a Special Olympics participant.
Most of us default to the easiest “good” choice. Let’s be honest. It’s a lot easier to watch a movie than to knit a scarf. And sometimes, our bodies may need the rest a nap or a good book provides to be able to do more of those good works. But often we choose those easy choices without even considering that there may have been better choices. Going for a walk is good on a variety of levels. It could be even better, though, if I invite that friend who is struggling to walk with me and listen to her as we walk.
The problem is that these decisions between good and better aren’t as clear cut as the choices between good and evil. So we just assume that “good” is good enough because it isn’t evil and don’t give it much thought. Yet, there are several Bible verses about doing good works we tend to fly right by with little thought…like James 4:17. “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” (NIV) What if my “good” choice made me miss the “good I ought to have done” option?
You don’t have to have all of the answers. What you want to do is to instill in your young Bible students the idea that life is about all sorts of choices and they need to carefully consider choices that involve options that are all “good” as much as they do with choices between good and evil. Being aware that there may be better options may actually encourage them to consider and take those better options from time to time. And everyone may benefit from those better choices.