I thought about that for a bit and had to agree.
Consider story A: Susie Suck-up was perfect and made all the right choices.
She always handed her homework in on time and never ran in the halls.
She came to complete stops at stop signs and always crossed the street at the corner.
She followed her mother’s advice and kept her legs closed until she got married to Peter Perfect.
Now they have two little Perfect Suck-ups and Susie spends her free time caring for stray cats.
I can’t wait for the sequel.
Now consider story B. Sally Screw-up wasn’t perfect and sometimes made bad choices. One day she was running through the hall after her professor to hand in her late paper. She didn’t notice the floor had just been mopped.
She slipped and broke her wrist.
While at the hospital, she was attended by a handsome doctor who convinced her to come to his place. She, of course, didn’t keep her legs closed. (Later, she would find out that he had some icky, yuck going on and she would have to stand in a long line at the pharmacy for antibiotics.)
Late in the night, bullets were fired through the doctor’s window.
As they fled for their lives he said his real name was Ace Malloy and he was a secret agent. Ace took a bullet to the shoulder. They jumped into the car and Sally Screw-up drove with her broken wrist.
They sped through the night being chased by guys with big guns and fancy cars. As they approached an intersection, Sally Screw-up rolled through the stop sign, forgetting to come to a complete stop as she learned in driver’s ed.
A tanker truck barely missed hitting them and in an action scene worthy of a special effects Oscar – the night was filled with screeching vehicles and awesome fireballs.
Sally Screw-up and Ace Malloy escaped the scene and ran into the nearby woods where they were confronted by a hungry lion that escaped from the local zoo.
Corny, but I might want to stay tuned for what happens next.
Of course I’m exaggerating. Most likely our bad choices aren’t going to have us meeting secret agents and participating in heart pounding car chases.
In reality, our bad choices usually end up hurting ourselves or other people… and are anything but glamorous.
So why do they make great stories?
True, there’s drama involved in bad choices and without drama – well – a whole section of the video store wouldn’t exist. (Did I just date myself by saying ‘video store’?)
We hang on every word of the juicy details.
But really, the reason isn’t in the re-telling of the bad choice, but in how our hero or heroine overcomes their bad choice.
The story is made great because of redemption.
Would King David’s story be as great if we just heard about his torrid affair, his plan for murder and the death of a baby?
Would Moses’s story be as great if all that happened was that he ran off after killing a guy and burying him in the sand?
If that’s all there was, stories about bad choices would leave us feeling hopeless.
We want to hear how they were redeemed even while suffering with the consequences of their choices.
We want to hear they were redeemed because we’ve all made bad choices–even the Susie Suck-ups of the world–and we’re encouraged when we hear inspiring stories of how others overcame their bad choices.
God is the business of redeeming, not condemning.
He’s in the business of taking our bad choices and making them into great stories because of the work He has done in our lives.
Don’t be in bondage to your bad choices.
They don’t have to define you.
They don’t have to destroy you.
Let God do great in work in you despite the choices you may have made.