I have always taught my kids that that there is a consequence to everything we do. Good or bad, how we act, the decisions we make, the way we choose to speak about something or someone, creates an impact of some sort.
To be honest, it was easier when they were little. I could explain to them that when they decided to not take care of their belongings, they got lost. Or if they failed to put their best effort into studying for a test, they would not always get the grade they wanted. And, on the good side, how being kind, honest or empathic would have the consequence of character that would always come back to them.
It’s a bit harder now.
My kids, for the most part, are grown. Two of my four will soon be married. This is, in itself, a consequence of raising them with unconditional love so that they can offer and be the kind of loving people that will continue paying that forward.
Still, the water can be murky.
There have been things that have happened that have shaken the tree of unconditionality and consequence. Not that they should question their worthiness of love; nor have the principals that they were raised by changed. It’s just that life has a way of dealing us blows that cause us to wonder how we can get so off track.
Perhaps the hardest lesson of consequence, is the one that comes when others make choices that hurt us.
It’s important, I think, whether you are eight or eight-eight, to stand in knowing that what we do, how we act, and what we say, always will affect others. Our character is not negotiable; it’s difficult to justify when we know we are out of line. Like a pebble dropped in the middle of a lake, a ripple can become a wave that can be seen from the shore.
The truth is, consequences change us. They make us steadfast or unsteady. They heal us or wound. They plant us in good soil or shallow. They cause us to draw closer to God or to the world. The choice is always ours.
These words are swirling the Spirit, trying to extract the golden thread in the vast tapestry of our lives. We are taught this lesson over and over again without our even realizing it.
Everything is connected. Everything.
Good or bad, we have to understand that what “is not a big deal,” usually is. That “everybody does it,” is a lie. That “people deserve to be happy,” usually means somebody has stopped being who they should be. And that what the world celebrates as okay to do, oftentimes is exactly what God would tell us we shouldn’t.
When we are confused, when we doubt, when we question what is right from wrong, God has a solution for us. If we look to Him, if we listen to our instincts, if we weigh what we know He would want for us to do or be, we will sense Him pointing the way.
Too often we replace God’s will with our own. In big and little things, consequences come that change the landscape of our lives.
We can’t avoid consequences, either those of our own making or those of others. All we can do is stand in knowing that somehow, someway, God is going to use what we go through to either teach us something or teach others that though their actions brought us harm, He is going to turn it around for our good.
Be mindful of every little thing you do and say. Everything is connected. Just keeping this in perspective will always help us to do what is right, even when it’s hard.