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“And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!’ So God granted him what he requested.” – I Chronicles 4:10 (emphasis added)

Did you know that the choices we make – especially sinful choices that are against God’s Word – cause much pain to those around us? Yes, it is true. What we choose to do with our lives really does affect those around us and the people who love us most are the ones vexed and grieved when they see us make decisions they know will kill us spiritually.

Jabez, which means affliction, was so named because his birth caused his mother much pain (see I Chronicles 4:9). The Bible does not specify whether this pain was merely physical or whether his birth also caused mental agony for his mother. All we know is that the pain she felt was severe enough that she named her son after it. Sadly, Jabez’s name was a constant reminder to him of the pain he had caused and as he grew older he was determined to never live up to the prophetic destiny of that name. He was so determined, in fact, that he solicitated God’s help through prayer and petition.

Friends, we are not flying solo in this world. Every choice we make affects someone else: a parent, a spouse, a child, or a friend. Whether we like to admit it or not, our choices really do impact the lives of others. I encourage you to be bold enough to mimic Jabez’s request and ask of the Lord that He help you make godly choices that keep you from doing evil. Evil actions and sinful patterns of behavior really do grieve those who love us most.