Most of the books and articles I was ever assigned to read have been forgotten. Shakespeare said some stuff about Capulets, Augustine had attention deficit disorder, and Homer had difficulty getting to the point. I passed all of the tests over the material, but soon evacuated my brain for more important stuff like Ace of Base lyrics and George Carlin routines.
I think some of the books thrown into the “classics” category just bounced off the trash can and wound up with the good ones; however, there were a couple that were quite good. One of those good ones was Lord of the Flies.
I know it’s from high school, but the principle throughout it is timeless – removing consequences is a bad thing.
Sure, the more precise way to state it would be to say that Lord of the Flies shows that human nature is ultimately evil and is only constrained by civilization, but I haven’t had to write a book report in a while so we’ll keep this simple.
What are consequences? Cause and effect, supply and demand, crime and punishment.
It even went as far as saying that every action has its equal and opposite reaction, even if Piggy was being civilized and was punished for it. And, if I recall correctly, he was given the nickname Piggy because he had asthma! How is that fair? A medical condition should have warranted special treatment!
When I was forced by the establishment’s compulsory education system to read novels—regardless of their quality—I pretty much thought I was invincible. As long as I was pretty good, I could get away with some indiscretion. And if I was sneaky I could get away with even more.
Consequences were for those who were foolish or miscalculating.
The problem with ignoring consequences is that they don’t go away; they compile. I’ve never been in jail and never been sued. Heck, I’ve never even broken a bone. So, if I wanted to pretend that I was living a charmed life then maybe I could. After all, nothing really bad has happened yet.
But I get heartburn now. And one of my knees will hurt for no reason. Oh yeah, no beautiful wife and six-figure income either. But are those consequences or just results? One and the same, friend, one and the same.
The Almighty has been very merciful and gracious to me.
If I had reaped the full result of my younger years I might be dead, scathed or worse. Further, I’d be looking toward a horrible eternity if I hadn’t been introduced to Jesus.
But as I look around at things as another birthday nears, I see things I’d prefer were a different way.
Not terrible afflictions or depressing circumstances, but things that I think would be better if God just decided to change them for me.
I know what I should do…I’ll pray and ask God to change that stuff!
“Dear God, please miraculously intervene in my life and undo the results of my earlier actions in life. I know that they’re a result of decisions and steps that I took on my own, but I’d prefer that they be different. After all God, it’s not fair that I have to have things in my life that I don’t like, even if I put them there. Oh yeah, I have a lot of faith that you’ll change this up for me. Amen.”
Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? That’s how it is when I complain about seeing the natural outgrowth of my decisions though. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that everything is my fault or, in your life, that everything bad is your fault, but I can be really good at placing the blame on other people and things. I bet you can be good at that, too.
The good thing about seeing consequences, good or bad, is that they tend to reinforce or remove the behavior that produced it.
Remove the consequences and you get an island full of children acting like savages.
So embrace those consequences! (Says the person who skipped his last four workouts.)
*Photo credit: SB Archer