By Katie Ginn

As I pondered what to write about for this month’s Editor’s Letter, I realized I’ve recently been immersed in examples of men – both fictional and historical – making Very Bad Decisions.

Stephen and I recently finished watching the third season of “Outer Banks,” a soapy teen adventure/drama in which every father figure leaves something to be desired, to put it gently. They all either abuse, use, neglect, or fail to protect their children. Even the one “good” dad lets his son participate in “adventures” (life-threatening shenanigans) that no sane parent would allow.

In addition to watching this guilty pleasure, I’ve been reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Children of Hurin,” in which the main character Turin (son of Hurin) makes Greek tragedy-level choices while blaming the consequences on other people. Classic.

These are just two examples of men behaving badly in pop culture and literature. I’m sure you could name others. Why so many? Well, if everybody always does right, it makes for a boring story. Also, art imitates life. Eve may have taken the fruit in Genesis 3, but Adam was present (see verse 6) and apparently did nothing to prevent it.

The poor choices don’t stop there. Continuing on in Genesis, Abraham lies – twice! – about his wife Sarah being his sister in order to protect himself (see chapters 12 and 20). He also agrees to take on another wife (chapter 16) in order to “help God” fulfill His promise to give Abraham and Sarah a son. Great idea.

Finally, my pastor has been preaching through the book of Esther, in which a drunken King Xerxes and his wicked right-hand man, Haman, team up (if it can be called that, since Haman manipulates the king) to make all manner of bad decisions.

But don’t worry, men, you’re not alone. Women also make Very Bad Decisions, both in fiction and reality. Eve did take that fruit.

You can see it play out in all the stories above. The moms in “Outer Banks” range from absent to Lady Macbeth. Turin’s mother teaches him toughness, but not humility. Sarah is the one who comes up with the plan to give Abraham a second wife (facepalm). And in the book of Esther, Haman’s wife tells him to have Mordecai killed – then when she sees it won’t work, she tells Haman he doesn’t stand a chance. (That would’ve been nice to know yesterday, thanks!)

A lot of Christians, including myself, believe that Satan attacks men first. Men are supposed to be the spiritual leaders of the household, and if the leader falls, the household falls with him. But either way, men and women alike are in dire straits. We find ourselves doing the very things we hate and failing to do the things we know are right (Romans 7).

Yet there is hope.

In the book of Esther, a great reversal happens: Instead of eradicating Mordecai and the Jews and exalting himself, Haman winds up impaled on the very stake he had erected to kill Mordecai, and the Jews are saved. (Two people make Good Decisions in this book: Mordecai convinces Esther to speak to King Xerxes, and Esther convinces her easily influenced husband to give the Jews the right to defend themselves.)

The book of Esther is a hint at the gospel, the ultimate Great Reversal: Man is enslaved to sin, which leads to death; but then God becomes man, dies that death Himself, and rises from the grave. Now sin is paid for, death is defeated, and man is free to choose God and receive new life. (See the entire book of Romans.)

In other words, it is possible to make one crucial decision that redeems every facet of our lives – not because of our own merits, but through the merits of Jesus Christ, whose decision to lay down His life (John 10:18) changed everything.

If you have not put your faith in Christ, please don’t put it off. Eternal life is guaranteed for all who call upon His name (Romans 10:13) – but our next breath is not guaranteed if we delay (James 4:14). Trust in the Son of Man, and become the man or woman you were meant to be.