How to make right choices

 

HOW TO MAKE RIGHT CHOICES

 

A.    INTRODUCTION

 1.      Bible Verse (Prov. 3:1-35)

 

My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.  So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding

 

 B.     FIRST TOPIC: THE NECESSITY OF MAKING RIGHT CHOICES

 

Discussion Questions

  1. Which kind of a person would you like to be?
  2. How would you like people to remember you?
  3. How are you prepared to be what you would like to be?
  4. Suppose you do not get to where you want to be?
  5. What do you think can be an obstacle for you getting to where you want to be?
  6. What do you consider is a right choice?
  7. Why do you think you need to make right choices?
  8. Where do you base yourself when making a choice?
  9. What helps you to make good choices?
  10. Which do you think are the challenges for you to make right choices?
  11. Have you ever made a wrong choice?
  12.  What do you think was a reason for you to make a wrong choice?
  13. Whom do you think are affected by the choices we make – good or bad?
  14. Do you think your choices affect your relationship with God?

 

 

Conclusions

a)                        As human beings we have the capacity to make choices

b)                       As human beings we have to make choices for us to grow

c)Our success or failure in life depends on the choices we make now.

d)                       We should appreciate the fact that our choices affect others and our

relationship with God

e)We should acknowledge the fact that we can make bad choices for

some reasons (from within or from without).

f)             Appreciate the need for the guidelines in making choices

g)                        Participants should appreciate the importance of knowledge in

making right choices (knowledge of what is good, knowledge of the alternative and knowledge of the consequences).

 

 C.    SECOND TOPIC: HUMAN FREEDOM

 

 1.      What is freedom?

Freedom is the capacity or ability to choose what is good without any constraints. Freedom is not the capacity to choose or to do what one wants, but what is good whether one likes it or not. To deliberately choose what is not good is to misuse freedom.

 2.      What is good?

Answer: It is good what is according to nature.

a)                        It is good for human beings what follows human nature and upholds his dignity.

b)                       It is good which makes human beings be what they were intended to be; what they were created for.

 

 3.      What is the purpose of human life?

Answer: Our goal is to attain goodness which leads to eternal happiness.

a)                        We are struggling to be good as our creator himself told us:

You will be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect” (Mt.5:45).

b)                       A human being is an unfinished project. It is good what makes him complete this project.

 

 4.      Why should we choose the good?

Answer: Because choosing the good make us good?

  • Human acts are immanent; they recoil back and affect the doer.
  • We become what we choose; we become what we do. Someone who steals becomes a thief; not just by name but being.
  • If we give for example to the poor we become generous. This good act makes us good – generous.
  • If we procure abortions we train ourselves to be murderers

 

5.      What is human nature? What is a human being?

Answer: Rational being with Body and Soul

Consequences:

  • Our life does not consist only in how beautiful we are but also how good we are
  • As we enrich the body we have also to enrich to soul
  • There is more in life than money
  • Dignity of the body
  • We can reason
  • Basis for our human freedom and dignity

 

 6.      What is natural Law?

Answer: This is a rule according to the nature of everything which demands that every being should act according to its nature. That is why a cow acts in a certain way different from a snake.

 

  • A human being also has a law according to his nature which defines how he should act. It is a combination of precepts which define which is good and which is wrong for a human being.
  • Therefore, a human being cannot decide what is good and what is wrong. This is already defined within his nature by the creator.

 

  • The duty of a human being is to struggle to know what is good and what is bad – what is right and what is wrong. “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat” (Gen.2:16-17).

 

  • Morality, ethics and all other laws like constitutions should be based on this natural law. Whatever contradicts this natural law is not good.

 

  • What is good is what follows this natural law.

 

  • A good choice is the choice which is according to this natural law

 

7.      How can one know the Natural law?

i.            Reason (Practical reason)

i.            Intellect (knows the good)

ii.            Free will (chooses the good)

iii.            Passions and Feelings (may affect the intellect in knowing the good

and may  influence the will either to choose the  good or the bad)

                                                      ii.            Traditions (Parents, good role models, customs).

                                                    iii.            Religion (God’s commandments and Church rules, Holy Spirit, religious groups)

Note: All these do not make something right or wrong. They are the ways to know the right or wrong thing. It is important to acknowledge that there can be mistakes in recognizing what is good.

8.      Is what is right or good to me necessarily right or good to others?

  • Yes.
  • Because human beings have the same nature we have the same natural law. Therefore, what is good or right to me must necessarily be good or right to others.

 

9.      If I follow my conscience should I be blamed?

  • Yes and no
  • Conscience is ‘inner voice’ which tells a person what is good or wrong in different situation of life (counsels someone before choice, judges the process and the outcome to the act. It is in essence practical reason).

 

  • Conscience requires formation. Whenever you make a choice it learns what to do in the future situation.

 

  • So, if it is well formed, it will lead to good choices;

 

  • If it is malformed it might mislead someone showing him something is right while it is not right.

 

  • Therefore, when you act following your conscience you need to be sure it is well formed.

 

10.  Do Laws and Authorities Interfere with our Freedom?

Answer: No

  • Good laws help us explain what is good to do and what is wrong to avoid in various situations.
  • They actually help us exercise our freedom by showing us what is good to choose.
  • They govern the exercise of freedom between individuals to that one can respect the freedom and rights of others.
  • Authorities help in setting the laws and makes sure they are followed.
  • Notes: Law makers can make mistakes by setting laws which are contradicting the natural law. For example, laws legalizing abortion.

 

E.     THIRD TOPIC: THE PROCESS OF MAKING GOOD DECISIONS

The process can be summarized by the word: DECIDE

D – Determine what is to be decided

  • To sneak from school or to stay in school
  • To drink alcohol or not drink
  • To go home early or to spend the whole night at the party or night club
  • To take drugs or not
  • To have a girlfriend or boyfriend or not to have one
  • To attend seminar or not to attend
  • To stop bad friendship or to continue with it
  • To have sex or not
  • To do your homework or to hang out with your friends
  • To steal or not to steal

E- Elicit Information (Make a thorough research before you decide. )

  • Before I sneak from school. What does the school rule say about sneaking from school?
  • Before I miss class. What does the school rule say about missing class?
  • Before I take drugs. What do I know about alcohol and drugs?
  • Before I get a boyfriend or girlfriend. Do I know what goes on in boyfriend-boyfriend relationships?
  • I want to join this group. Do I know        what they are doing in their group?
  • I want to join my group to the party. Do I know what the party is all about?
  • What are the effects of chewing mirraa?
  • Why should I steal?
  • This person wants to move me from the hostel to live with him into the apartment. Do I know this person?
  • Is this information I have credible? Where did I get this information from?

 

C – Compare Alternatives

I – Imagine Consequences

These two go together. Determine which is good or better between alternatives.

  • What will I gain by missing a class?
  • What will happen if I miss a class?
  • What do I gain by hanging out with my friends?
  • What is the good thing in having a boyfriend or girlfriend?
  • What do I lose if I do not have one? What will I gain if I do not have one?
  • If I choose to have a boyfriend or girlfriend what will happen?
  • What are the consequences if I move from the hostel and start living with this business man?
  • What is the good thing in drinking while in school?
  • What will I lose if I do not drink? What will I gain by taking alcohol?
  • What are the consequences of stealing?
  • What will happen if I do not steal?
  • What are the consequences of steal?

D – Decide

After my personal research and what I have learnt from credible sources I am personally convinced that this is the right choice. I choose it and I will never regret.

E – Evaluate the Decision you made

  • Did I make the right choice?
  • Yes. I made the right choice.
  • Look at what could have happened if I chose the alternative.
  • No. I did not make the right choice. Look at what I am going through. Why did I do this? What went wrong?
  • I did not know it is like this.
  • I was quick to believe him.
  • I did not listen to what my parents told me.
  • Next time I will not repeat this.

 

 

 F.     FOURTH TOPIC: SEXUALITY AND MARRIAGE

1.      What is sexuality?

  • Sexuality is a mode of being masculine or feminine
  • Humanity is one but exists in two modes: masculine and feminine

 

2.      What is the purpose of sexuality?

  • For procreation /propagation of human race
  • For complementarity between the man and woman
  • A human being is an unfinished project; through sexual love (mutual giving) is able to fulfill himself and fulfill the other person of opposite sex.
  • Sexuality can therefore, be defined as that power of attraction which enables the two sides of humanity (man and woman – excludes homosexuality) to come together in a special union for procreation and for mutual fulfillment.

3.      Why is pre-marital sex prohibited?

  • Sexual love is an expression of total, permanent, exclusive and fruitful self-giving between man and woman.
  • It is only marriage that guarantees such form of love.
  • Pre-marital sex lacks such characteristics.
  • Therefore, sex finds its proper place only in marriage.

 

5.      Which are personal and social consequences of pre-marital sex?

a)                        It lowers the dignity of the parties involved by using each other as objects of pleasure.

b)         It makes the involved parties irresponsible people

i.            Since they have failed to control the power of attraction between them,

they have weakened their power to resist any evil attractions.

ii.            They are prone to indulge themselves into other evils drinking and drug abuse.

iii.            They are ready to have sex but they are not ready to bear the responsibility of

their actions that is why they use contraceptives or opt for abortion

when there is conception.

iv.            Such people cannot make responsible citizens.

v.            Abortions make the involved parties killers of human life.

vi.            When they get to marriage harming or killing each other would not be a big deal

because they have lost the sense of the dignity of human life.

vii.            It creates some kind of rejection and if they part one may end up completely

hating the opposite sex and marriage altogether.

 

c)Pre-marital sexual behaviors are a cause of unstable marriages

  • Pre-marital sex makes the boy and the girl unfaithful and uncommitted which is a cause for broken marriages.
  • It makes them selfish each seeking themselves which results into unstable marriages.

 

6.      What is Friendship?

Friendship is a companionship of love.

  • Friends enjoy the company of each other
  • Friends help one another to grow.
  • Friends in most cases have similar interests.

7.      What is Love?

  • Love is an act of the will seeking good for the other.
  • Love involves the intellect and the will
  • The intellect recognizes the good for the other and presents it to the will
  • The will chooses this good – it loves the person.

 

8.      Is it bad to have a boyfriend or girlfriend?

  • No. But it is not necessary and should not involve sex.
  • They can help one another to grow and may later come together in marriage.
  • Therefore, you need guidance especially from the parents on how to handle such relationships.
  • It is also good to take into consideration the cultural perspective.

 

9.      Is it possible to love without sex? How?

  • Yes
  • Being there for each other in good and bad times
  • Caring and showing concern
  • Helping each other to grow
  • Respecting each other

 

10.  Is COME WE STAY right? Is it Marriage?

  • No
  • The parties lack commitment required in marriage.
  • It lacks permanency. It is a temporally arrangement. Each is ready to go.
  • The parties show the highest form of selfishness (will it work out for me)
  • It shows how the parties do not trust each other
  • They are not ready to take responsibility
  • They cannot sacrifice or persevere in anything. “If it does not work out I go.”
  • It creates unfaithfulness because they feel they have no any obligation to that union because they are not married. Therefore, they can form other relationships.
  • It shows lack of faith in God. Who ordained marriage and is ready to help people in marriage. The parties seem to depend on themselves.
  • The parties are likely to cheat each other in investments and are not ready to work for the common good of the family because they are afraid the relationship can break at any time.

E. FIFTH TOPIC: WHAT WILL HELP US MAKE GOOD CHOICES?

QN: Does Faith help you to make right choices?

i)          VIRTUOUS LIFE

In simple terms Virtue is a Good Habit

Make practice in choosing good. This will increase your capacity to choose good.

 

a)      Prudence

Ability to know the right thing to do at the right time

 

b)     Courage

To be able to say Yes to the good choice and No to the wrong alternative.

To be able to stand the pressure from friends or society

 

c)      Justice

To have a sense of social responsibility

To consider how your choices affect others

To present yourself as a good example to others

 

d)     Temperance

To have modesty in everything: looks, drinking, eating, talking.

To be able to say it is enough.

 

e)      Spirit of Sacrifice

To be able to let go the other alternative however pleasurable it appears.

Have a good hierarchy of values

Know what is more important and work for that.

 

ii)  PRAYER

To ask help from the Holy Spirit to guide you so that you can make right choices.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Prov.3:5-6).

 

 

iii) EUCHARIST

It keeps us united with Christ and gives us the Holy Spirit to enlighten us on what we have to choose and gives us the courage to choose the good.

vi) CONFESSION

It restores our relationship with God and others which we destroyed because of bad choices.

It keeps the conscience pure and always afraid of committing sin.

Transgression speaks to the sinner deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes. He flatters himself in his own eyes that his sins cannot be found and cursed. The words of his mouth are mischief and deceit; he has ceased to act wisely and do good. He plots evil while on his bed; he sets himself in a way that is not good; he avoids no evil” (Ps 36:1-4).

v) GOOD ADVICE

Seek guidance from parents, priests and wise people.

“Seek advice from every wise man, and do not despise any useful counsel. 19 Bless the Lord God on every occasion; ask him that your ways may be made straight and that all your paths and plans may prosper” (Tobit 4:18-19).

v) Never celebrate or praise someone doing wrong but help them

vi) Avoid being misled by bad friends, media and bad celebrities.

 

F. CONCLUSION

  1. As human beings we have freedom to make choices
  2. Freedom is the capacity to choose good
  3. Choosing what is bad is a misuse of freedom
  4. The good is what is according to nature
  5. What is good to me is necessarily good to others because we share the same nature.
  6. We can know the good by using our reason
  7. We can know better the good when our reason is enlightened by the Holy Spirit
  8. We can make mistakes in choosing what is good
  9. Prayer, virtuous life and good guidance will help us to make right choices.
  10. Our choices determine our future.

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