I was a hater.
There was a time when I could never hear the word consequence and think happy thoughts. No ice cream and bubble gum good times at the State fair. No rainbows and cotton candy while skipping through tulips.
Nope, for most of us, we give the word consequence a bad wrap. We figuratively wrap the word neatly in gloom and doom clouds, then sprinkle it with the best of the worst calamity.
If we can be honest, we’ve all lived through the consequences of bad choices, disobedience, and have lived to tell AND laugh about it. We took it patiently, and it didn’t kill us (1 Peter 2:20). Yet, the shade remains.
Is This How We Treat Our Friends?
Why would we do a friend like Consequence like that?
Now, if that question throws you for a loop, “Consequence…a friend?” – maybe it’s time to shift your perceptions and see the value a healthy relationship with consequences can bring your life.
How do we do that?
Just as friendship is about giving and receiving – we must be honest and open to receive the positive work consequences have to offer.
So, Team, no more ‘hating’ when we hear the word consequences. We can all learn to embrace the positive characteristics of consequences, and the truth of how to apply them to our lives.
Because just like a good friend…
1. Consequences don’t control us.
Consequences never go first. They’re not out to get you. They don’t ask to be here – they are summoned, called, invoked after being produced by some other action, condition, or choice. This is actually good news, why? Because it puts us in control of consequences, and not the other way around. With foreknowledge, we are not helpless victims of consequences. If the reality of a certain consequence causes you anxiety or pain – guess what – you are not sentenced to that prison without first being handed the warden’s keys!
2. Consequences encourage you to think before you act.
What would my life, your life, the world be like if we really thought about our words and actions before we said or did them? I’m of the mindset that people, in general, don’t like pain, embarrassment, loss, etc. So, how is it that we make such thoughtless decisions, and then are mad at the who?….the Consequences! Sound decisions after prayerful contemplation is key to a life with less misery and hardship (Proverbs 3:6). Thinking before you act is also a loving gesture – any time you can save yourself or others pain and heartache – that’s Love!
3. Consequences grow you up.
Team, we can’t stay on milk forever. At some point in life, we have to grow up and learn what, where, how, when to act AND why! It’s called putting away childish things (1 Corinthians 13:11). There’s a part of God’s plan for each of our lives that reads: “The older you get, the more responsibility you’ll have, and a greater expectation that you’ll make sound, mature decisions.” Pain, hardship, embarrassment, loss all have a special way of getting our attention and growing us up – for our own good.
4. Consequences deter dangerous repeat behavior.
Have you ever looked at your past bad behavior and asked yourself, “Was I a glutton for punishment?” I have. Human nature is a trip. No matter how educated, well-put-together we seem – our sinful nature, gone unchecked, will have us repeating the same bad behavior again and again. Thank God for consequences (and mercy)! How can we get to the blessings of 12th grade, and BE a blessing to others we meet in 12th grade, if we’re stuck in Kindergarten asking for “one more chance”? Consequences help put an end to our harmful cycles so we can begin to live on purpose.
5. Consequences are Excuse Assassins!
If excuses are monuments of nothingness, consequences are the wrecking balls that destroy those monuments. When we’ve been made aware of the consequences, our “excuse card” immediately expires, and we are ejected from the blame game! Knowing the consequences, we are now empowered to manage our own outcomes. Being able to live an excuse-free life, one where responsibilities are fully owned, mistakes are learned, and you emerge a better person – this is the fulfillment of God’s growth plan for our lives.
Does this change your perception of consequences, or foster a friendlier relationship with the concept? We hope so.
So, What’s the Play Call?
Embrace your consequences, and grow patiently through every learned lesson. Here’s to better choices, behaviors, and the abundant life available to Team Jesus as we all mature!