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 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, is instructive. The pain serves as a reminder that what you did is really bad for you, and it will only get worse if you don’t change. When we become numb to the consequences of our actions, we are in a dangerous place.
There are natural consequences for many sins we commit and bad decisions we make. For a believer, there is also the element of divine discipline. 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