Today, I want to reflect on a topic that we would often rather avoid talking about altogether: consequences. Consequences are often painful. Consequences often suck. However, consequences are also a blessing in disguise.
Let’s imagine that your water were contaminated with a carcinogen (cancer-causing agent). You don’t know it, and so you drink it every day, month after month, year after year. Then, 20 years later, you feel a sharp pain in your stomach. You go to the doctor, they do tests, and find out you have a stomach cancer. Many people in your neighborhood have the same experience, and the cause is eventually traced to a carcinogen in the local drinking water.
That was an awful story. But it illustrates the value of consequences. Without immediate consequences alerting us to the danger ahead, we are likely to continue on the same path and do great damage to ourselves and those around us.
Take lust, for example. Maybe you struggle with porn and masturbation. After relapsing, you want to get restored as fast as possible. You want to feel exactly like you did before compromising. Feeling bad after indulging in a bad habit, however, can be a big blessing. The pain serves as a reminder that what you did is really bad for you, and it will only get worse if you continue on the same path. Anyone who has become numb to the consequences of their actions is in a dangerous place.
There are natural consequences for certain sins and other bad decisions that we make. There are also the consequences of divine discipline for the believer. Both are designed to get us back on the right path.
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.Hebrews 12:11
Today let’s appreciate the value of past and present consequences and do what we can to avoid them in the future by making good decisions today.