Imagine that you have come to a fork in the road. (I’m reminded of Yogi Berra’s famous saying, “When you come to a fork in the road – take it!”) Anyway, we do come to many forks in the road – matters to decide, choices to be made, changes to consider, etc. Now imagine two signs: one saying God’s Way and the other Man’s Way. You would be tempted to think, that’s a simple choice, right? Wrong!

God’s Way or Man’s Way?

 Look at the first pages of the Bible. Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, the first married couple, had a choice to make. They knew what God’s way was. They chose not to take it. They decided on their own way, man’s way. And all mankind has suffered ever since.

Abraham, though childless, had God’s promise that he would have an heir and would be “the father of many nations.”  But at Sarah’s insistence, he fathered a son by her maidservant, Hagar (Genesis 16). To this day we still witness the conflict that ensued from that act of impatience…man’s way, not God’s way.

King Saul got tired of waiting on Samuel to offer sacrifice and took it upon himself to offer the holocaust instead, in impatience and disobedience to the Lord (1 Samuel 13). He did it his way, man’s way, and lost his kingdom because of it.

God’s Way or Man’s Way?

 Jesus was tempted as we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15). Jesus faced temptation before His public ministry. He resisted by constantly referring back to God, God’s word, and God’s way: “Man does  not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God…You shall not tempt the Lord your God…You shall worship the Lord your God and Him alone shall you serve” (Matt. 4).

When Peter tried to dissuade Jesus from suffering and death, Jesus turned on Peter: “Get behind me , Satan! You are a stumbling block to me. For your thoughts are not of the things of God, but of the things of men” (Matt. 16:23). In other words, you are thinking man’s way, not God’s way. And here is the trap – we too often think that because we want something or think something is best, God necessarily does also. But obviously, that is not the case at all.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed that the cup would pass Him by, but ended by saying, “Not my will but your will be done” (Mark 14:36). Not man’s way but God’s way.

God’s Way or Man’s Way?

“There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death” (Proverbs 14:12).

So how do we distinguish God’s way from man’s way? Well, in all really important and crucial matters, God has made His way abundantly clear. God’s word is extremely plain, simple and understandable on topics like marriage, sexuality, the life of the unborn, etc.

But it is also clear that the world  has definitively turned from God’s way to man’s way, especially in those very areas. Secular society has its own “dogma” and is quick to condemn and punish all who deviate from it. It is, as Pope Saint John Paul II said when still a cardinal, the “anti-gospel.”

Some in the Church, in a misguided effort to be “tolerant and inclusive,” seem to follow the world’s example by soft-pedaling, watering-down, or trying to change God’s word, especially regarding marriage, sexuality, and unborn human life. We need to pray and work fervently against this.

God’s Way or Man’s Way?

There is another famous saying: “Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” It’s safe to say that men and women, in general, have refused to learn and therefore do repeat the same mistakes over and over again. Let us pray, however, that we may all learn from the sad history of going man’s way so that we not repeat it. So, when we come to a fork in the road, let’s be sure to take it – so long as the sign says God’s way!