ME: “Why did you do that?”

DAUGHTER: “Because I wanted to.”

These have become famous words around our house that can’t really be argued with. It is an honest answer from a heart that knows it did wrong. What more can you say?

A couple of weeks ago I began thinking about why our youth make the decisions that they do. That is probably a question that will never be answered. Sometimes they don’t even know. Maybe they need to answer “I just wanted to.”

However, one thing did come to mind. As I began to think about all the “situations” I’ve encountered recently they all had one thing in common. In each scenario the youth didn’t think they would get caught.

They were only thinking about the consequences…

That was a lightening bolt for me. Maybe some of you realized this a long time ago. I guess it’s something I knew intrinsically but it just sort of clicked for me.

After that revelation I began to put together a way to help youth think about more than just the consequences. I wanted them to think more about the underlying principles associated with what they were going to do. What resulted was a lesson that I called “Truth or Consequences.” In the lesson I used two basic ideas, whoops and whoa.

Here’s the main portion of what I wrote:


Whoops is an expression of mild surprise. You might hear this word when you drop a glass or wake someone up. You might also hear it if a 3-year old has an accident in a public place.

Whoops is also the expression one might use when they’ve been busted. When that happened you might have thought “I didn’t know that was going to happen!” or “I almost made it!” or “Why did I do something so stupid?”.

In other words, whoops is finally understanding the consequences of your actions.

But there is another way…


A whoa represents stopping. When you want to stop a horse you say whoa. In theory, that helps the horse to understand how he or she is supposed to respond. Whoa might also be an expression you tell someone when they’re asking you to do something you know is immediately wrong.

Whoa also means stopping to make a decision based on basic truth’s rather than possible consequences.

Where does one find those truth’s or principles? I believe they are found in God’s Word. Take a look at the following verses on truth (Psalm 119:169, John 14:6, John 17:17, 1 Peter 1:22, 2 Timothy 3:16, 17).


Do you tend to be more of a “whoops” person or a “whoa” person? In other words, do you make your decisions based off of principles or what consequences you might face?

What would it look like if you started applying “whoops” or “whoa” to your daily decision-making?

Is it sensible to make decisions based on principles or truth’s rather than consequences? Why or why not?

Examine some of the situations in your life and ask God if there’s something you need to start doing differently.