As a parent, I love consequences. Especially natural consequences, because then the universe gets to be the bad guy and not me. For example, if a child jumps on the bed, he will fall off and smack that adorable little noggin on the floor. This is gravity’s fault, not Mom’s. If a child eats all her Christmas candy in one afternoon when her parents aren’t looking, she will probably have a stomach ache. Mom didn’t feed her all that garbage; she fed it to herself. Perhaps she will suffer in silence and think about it next time a bowl of candy calls her name.
Not that either of these things have ever happened in our home. No, sir/madam. We do not speak from experience here. (Eye roll, eye roll, head smack.)
It gets a little trickier when we tall people have to enforce the consequences because the universe stops paying attention. For example, someone in this house spent some of his/her allowance on apps for the iPod last week, and now there’s a book to buy but not enough money to cover it. Eric and I have enough money in our account to buy the book, but we’re enforcing the consequences of poor financial planning by making the child live without this book until the allowance is saved back up. The universe has yet to step in and teach the child a lesson on this one, so the pouting and begging are aimed squarely at us.
We parents feel the pain keenly because books are wonderful. We should buy all the books. But it’s a little short-sighted to ignore wise financial planning so our kid can add another tome to the pile on the coffee table. We’re teaching about consequences early, before this child is an adult with a credit card and no impulse control while at the book store.
I’ve spent a lot of time recently thinking about the consequences of all our actions. Our family has had an up-close and personal experience with choices that have gone wrong, and let me say this: It’s not just the person who makes the choices who will suffer. We all suffer right alongside the people we love.
(I realize I’m coming dangerously close to those vague posts that sometimes people share on social media where they obviously want to let you know something’s wrong, but only want to share if people beg for the story. They’re looking for attention and affirmation and I always unfollow them immediately because that’s just annoying.)
So I apologize if this post of mine seems vague, but it’s not really my story to tell. But I can say this: choices have consequences. It’s written into every book of God’s Word, and every page of history. Some of us might make terrible choices and get away with it for a while, or even for our earthly lives. This should not be taken as a comfort, because I believe in a God who sees all and makes all things right in the end.
Some of us make a bad choice, repent, and then get our lives back on the right track.
I know which one I want to be, because the consequences of doing things my own way is never, ever pretty. Not for me, and not for those around me.
Thoughts? What choices have you made that have affected yourself and others? What choices have others made that have affected you? (And I’d like to hear about good and bad choices, not just the dirt.)