As they raise their children, parents try to teach their sons and daughters the importance of making good decisions.
One way parents do that is to give their children a small allowance each week. Parents instruct their children that this money should be used for incidental expenses, special purchases, and some should be saved for the future. Parents hope that handling a small allowance will teach children to make good choices when it comes to handling larger sums of money in the future.
Knowledgeable parents will compliment their children for the good choices they make in handling their weekly allowance. And even more importantly, wise parents will permit their children to suffer the consequences of their bad decisions. They will allow children, who spend all their weekly allowance on going out with their friends on Saturday, to face the rest of the week without a dollar in their pocket.
Parents hope that teaching their children to make good decisions in small things will help them to make wise decisions in more important matters.
Children who learn how to properly handle their allowance are far less likely in their college years to incur thousands of dollars in credit card debt buying things they can’t afford or truly need.
In this Sunday’s Gospel (Matthew 5:17-37), Jesus speaks about the importance of making good moral choices. He speaks about not killing, not committing adultery, and not taking false oaths. Jesus speaks about the importance of making wise decisions in major moral matters.
But in each instance, Jesus also stresses the importance of making good moral choices in lesser matters related to each of those major decisions.
The person who will decide to respect the life of another in a potentially violent situation is the person who has previously decided not to give into anger and vicious and hateful speech when he or she feels criticized or insulted.
The man or woman who will decide to remain faithful to his or her marriage vows is the person who has been deciding not to indulge in lustful thoughts and pornographic fantasies.
The individual who will resolve to speak the truth in important matters is the person who previously has chosen to be honest in everyday situations. The person whose “yes” stands without equivocation at work, at school, or at home, will not need to stand on a stack of Bibles to be believed.
Just as parents know that children need to learn to make good choices in small matters if they are to make good choices in more important matters, Jesus knows the same. That is the reason he directs our attention not only to major moral decisions we may face, he also challenges us to see what kind of decisions we are making in every day related situations.
Those who know how to make the right choice in big things are those who have learned to make the right choice in lesser things.
© 2020 Rev. Thomas B. Iwanowski