“Making righteous choices will help get you on the path of righteousness and make sure you don’t wander.” – Paul V. Johnson
It was a bright summer afternoon, perfect for a trip back to Manila. My husband, my brother-in-law and his wife spent a couple of days in Tarlac for the elections. After spending some time with the family, we decided it was best to make our way back to the city before the ever-present traffic struck.
The trip back home was a smooth one. The digital navigator, Waze, told us where to go to reach our destinations faster, and warned us when we were about to get into congested traffic. We relied on this travel guide so much.
Everything went well until we reached Quezon City. My brother-in-law missed an instruction from Waze, and turned right into a wrong alley. Suddenly, all four of us started to notice that we were traversing a strange and very unfamiliar place. At that point, Waze’s instructions became confusing for us. The roads started to get narrow, to the point that we did not know if there was ever a way out, and we encountered a lot of dead ends and people who banged on our windows and the back of the car. My sister-in-law and I were starting to get anxious. I decided to offer a prayer in my heart asking the Lord to help my brother-in-law find a way out.
After a few more turns, we found people that knew the place so we asked them for directions. They were kind and encouraging, and they helped us find the way back to the road we were supposed to take. After a few minutes, we were back on the main road, ready to go home.
That experience left a profound impression on all of us present inside the car. To me, it spoke volumes about the impact of making righteous choices and how one foolish decision can make a huge difference. Here are things I realized.
- There is a guiding voice.
Like the travel app Waze, there is also a voice that can help us in making righteous choices. This voice is the Holy Ghost. This “still, small voice” guides us and tells us which choices can bring happiness and peace, and which choices can lead us down dark, scary paths. We need to listen promptly to the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. A missed prompting can have consequences.
- Choices affect everyone.
We may sometimes think that it’s okay to make wrong choices every now and then because we’re the only ones who will suffer the consequences. Unfortunately, that is not true. An unwise choice affects our loved ones, too. Because my brother-in-law missed an instruction, all of us in the car became anxious and unsure. When we make choices, let us think of how it also affects those who love us.
- Wrong choices make us feel lost.
Like the story of the prodigal son, eventually, our unwise choices will catch up to us. We may feel lost, that there is no way back, or that the impressions we receive from the Holy Ghost are confusing. Fear, uncertainty, and discouragement can sometimes overpower our hearts.
- There are people who can help you.
Fortunately, because of the Lord’s love for us, He provides us with people who know the paths we’re taking, and who understand the steps we need to take to find our way back to the main road. They are our parents, our siblings, our friends, and our Church leaders. These people want us to find our way back to the right path. We need to trust them and rely on their love. The road back may be long and painful, but with these people on our side, we can endure.
- There is a way back.
Lastly, we may feel that we have made enough wrong choices that there is no way we can return to that great, wonderful path we were once traversing. That is not true. We can always come back, we can always change, we can make the right choice again. Robert D. Hales gave beautiful encouragement when he said:
“Whoever you are and whatever your past, remember this: it is not too late to make that same choice and follow Him.” (Read full talk here.)
Like the father of the prodigal son, the Lord will welcome us with open arms. He loves us and He wants us to return to His presence.
The righteous choices we make can lead us to different roads. Life is full of these roads. That’s why we need to always listen to that Guide the Lord has given to each and every one of us. One wrong choice can bring heartbreaking consequences, but that is why He has provided a way for us to turn around and correct our course. May we consistently consider what is important and eternal as we make our every day choices.