Sometimes it’s just little things that don’t matter all that much in the grand scheme of things, but there have been times when I was totally convinced that I was doing the right thing, but in the end I couldn’t have been more wrong.
This week’s episode of The Walking Dead really brings this idea out and shows how our propensity for self-justification can really be gravely (no pun intended) mistaken. It started with a look of Rick’s face that shows he may have regretted his choice to shoot Sophia, and it ends with Rick being resolutely Bad-A in defending himself and his cohorts in the bar.
But with the other characters, the mistakes and remorse are very clear. Take Hershel for example. He thought he was saving lives and preserving a future with his deceased family members…
Or Shane- who seems to always think that he is right, like gunning down a barn full of walkers so that he could simultaneously guarantee getting kicked out of Farmville and alerting every walker in a 20 mile radius to their presence.
In fact, all the characters are struggling with this concept in their situation on some level- Daryl looking for Sophia, Lori taking off alone to find Rick, etc, but that’s where an interesting part of Rick’s character comes into play. He seems to constantly be making the right decision and then doubting whether it truly was in the first place.
His capacity for self-reflection has also given him an attitude of grace, as shown in his dialogue with Glen in the truck as they go find Hershel. Starting at 24:39:
Glen: Rick? I know about Lori, her being pregnant. I got her those pills.
Rick: I figured
Glen: Hey I’m sorry I kept it from you
Rick: Don’t be. You did what you thought was right. It just so happens it wasn’t
SEASON 2, EPISODE 8 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
1. How have the characters suffered consequences from thinking they were doing the right thing, when in fact they weren’t?
2. How do the standards of what is right and wrong differ between them?
3. Why does Rick constantly second-guess his actions?
4. Do you think Rick is humble, or just insecure in his leadership?
Read the following passage from Scripture:
“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things,
and desperately wicked.
Who really knows how bad it is?
5. What does this verse have to do with our decision making process?
6. How has the truth of this verse played itself out in The Walking Dead?
7. How has it played out in your life?
8. If our hearts are that deceitful and wicked, how can we know if anything we do is right?
9. If God ‘knows how bad’ our hearts are, how has he offered a solution?
While it is true that our hearts are deceitful and wicked, we have hope in the fact that Jesus is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. He is the standard for what is right, and when we base our decisions on what He would do according to God’s Word, we can be confident that our chances of later regretting those decisions will be slim. And when we aren’t sure if what we are doing is right because the Bible isn’t clear, God gave us His Spirit and other believers to help us in our journey.
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Guy's Guide to FOUR BATTLES Every Young Man Must Face; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.