“Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another.”
The town clerk found himself in a precarious situation to which he had no answer. Demetrius worked up the crowd to a frenzy against Paul so that they were about ready to riot. In his attempt to calm the crowd and the situation, he made some very astute observations and statements that every person should follow when they must make a difficult decision concerning an unknown situation.
Have you ever found yourself in the same situation of this town clerk? Have you found yourself faced with a decision to which you had no obvious answer? The advice this town clerk gave these people is the same advice you should follow to get to the most obvious answer to help you in making a right decision. Certainly, you want to make a right decision, but you will never make the right decision about difficult situations if you don’t follow this advice. Let me show you the five actions you should take before you make a decision concerning a difficult situation.
First, be quiet. The town clerk said in verse 36, “…ye ought to be quiet…” Just because you are the one who has to make a decision doesn’t mean that you have to make the decision immediately. Likewise, just because you are the one who has to make a decision doesn’t mean you have to say something immediately. There are times when the best answer is no answer. You would be wise not to say anything when you don’t know what to do so that you don’t have to clean up a mess that your words or actions caused.
Second, don’t respond rashly. Verse 36 continues by saying, “…and to do nothing rashly.” Rash movement often leads to messy situations. Slow down, and take your time to be sure you are making the right decision. You rarely regret deliberate decisions; however, you will often regret rash and uniformed decisions. You will lose credibility with others if you are always apologizing for rash and uninformed decisions.
Third, judge according to the rules. The town clerk said, “the law is open.” Rules are not your enemy, but they are your safety net in helping you to make difficult decisions. Don’t throw the rules out when you are faced with difficult decisions; instead, embrace them because they are your one constant when making decisions in the unknown.
Fourth, listen to all sides before deciding about the unknown. The town clerk said, “…let them implead one another.” To “implead” is to take one to court. The principle in this statement is to listen to the case as you would in a court hearing before you make a judgment on the situation.
Fifth, keep a right attitude. The town clerk said in verse 39, “But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly.” You can be right in what you say and do, but if you do it in an unlawful, or out-of-control manner, you will destroy the impact that right could have. Staying in control and not losing yourself in the heat of the moment will confirm the veracity of your decision.
My friend, you will often face situations that don’t seem to have a clear answer. If you follow these five steps, you will find yourself making the right decision most of the time, and your credibility with others to make right decisions with and in difficult situations will be established.