Ever had an undesired consequence happen in your life? Come on – be honest – who hasn't regretted some action or decision that ended in a negative consequence that they wish they could have avoided.
All decisions, actions and choices that result in outcomes have consequences – some are immediate and some take time to manifest. Some are positive while others can be negative, but the simple truth is you can't avoid consequences. The trick is to always do what is right, act in a mature and noble way and always make intelligent decisions that can reduce the negative consequences. Possible? Unlikely as we all from time to time act opposite of these mindsets therefore inheriting sooner or later some bad outcomes. The question is however – are all bad outcomes really bad or are all good outcomes really good or just not what we hoped for or wanted?
Consequences – the relation between a result and its cause. Pretty straightforward wouldn't you agree? Yes, then why do so many of us interpret our consequences often in a negative way? I'm not talking here about not winning the lottery because you didn't buy a ticket, but more real everyday circumstances like; lying, cheating or exhibiting negative emotions like anger, hate, vindictiveness or even self-absorption.
Everything has a consequence. If you took physics in High School, then you are aware of the basic truth of cause and effect. This truth is not just in relation to physical events like the way you drive, what you eat or whether you exercise but even in your thoughts, beliefs, values and attitudes.
Consequences can be teachers helping us to make better choices and decisions in the future learning from our actions. Note I didn't say mistakes? Mistakes are generally considered to be things we did wrong, but in many ways things we did wrong in the present can often be blessings in the future, not always but it happens every day. So the question remains – are consequences good, bad or neutral? Well it depends.
I have an aquaintance who often makes wrong (inappropriate) choices and as a result they ultimately experienced severe and painful consequences, ones they didn't think they deserved or even earned.
No one can predict the outcome of a decision, action or choice. Life has a unique way of using some things to reward us and others to punish us (note I didn't say God here) and still others to teach us. The question is how do we interpret these outcomes and then respond or react to create a less painful future?
Let's discuss briefly the lessons that can be learned or the actions that can be taken to impact consequences in a more positive way. Yes, I know this could be a book but I only have a few hundred words to work with here.
Teach us - How to make better decisions in the future. Operate in reality rather than fantasy-ville. Function in a more mature and healthy way. That we can't avoid outcomes. That we need to be a better life student. That we can't control the future. And that we can only live in the present one moment at a time no matter what has happened in the past or may happen in the future.
Strengthen us - Everything in life can make us stronger – the problem is that we often resist the opportunity to use what comes into our life to strengthen our resolve, purpose, faith or increase our personal development. We all have enough courage to learn from circumstances, but far too often we get stuck in worry, regret, discouragement or even despair. God always gives us stuff we can't handle, but He never gives us stuff He can't handle so the question is can we trust Him and live each moment with courage, joy and confidence?
Break us - Yes, stuff can break us – our spirit, resolve, courage and confidence. Some stuff can even send our self-esteem into a nosedive. Ever been there? I have and it's never pretty. When we let things, people or circumstances break us it's primarily because we lack trust in ourselves, belief and trust in God or we are just tired of fighting. When we break it's usually emotionally due to some inner lack or need that we have not developed or nurtured given our previous lessons and opportunities to grow. Many people choose to see themselves as victims, but let me remind you – this is just a mindset and mindsets can be changed, but it does take time and effort.
Cause despair or discouragement - When we let circumstances cause us to go into depression, discouragement or even deep despair we are essentially giving the power over to circumstances to have control over our lives. I have been there (not depression) and I know how debilitating this time in life can be, but I love the line – this too shall pass. Instead how about – this too shall prepare me. See the subtle distinction? Trust me folks – bad stuff always happens to good people and good stuff always happens to bad people – it's just life, but we can exercise some control over some circumstances if we will just act more maturely, think ahead more often and stop letting life's circumstances take over our existence.
Increase the size of our pride, ego or arrogance - Pride, ego and arrogance are more often than not the major cause of negative circumstances in life. When bad things happen to people who have egos over the top or are overfilled with far too much pride they will often go into blame mode or denial. When they tend to have this reaction all they are doing is setting themselves up for even bigger negative outcomes in the future from some other totally unrelated event or situation. Pride and ego say – we are better and stronger than anything or even everything – I beg to differ as I have seen many very prideful people brought to their knees more than once in their life.
Humble us - Humility is not a weakness as the Bible states on numerous occasions. People who are humble actually have a better self-esteem than people who are filled with pride or large egos. Humility is simply a way of behaving that shows that you do not think that you are better or more important than other people. When negative circumstances come into the lives of humble people they don't whine, complain, blame or gripe about how life is unfair. They just deal with it, learn from it and move on.
Make us smile, laugh, cry or scream - I'll let you finish this one . . .
I'll leave you with a quick thought to consider – what consequences are you dealing with in your life today that are impacting; the quality of your life, your happiness, your success, your relationships, your inner peace and your health that in hindsight you could have altered if you had just paid more attention and learned from previous consequences?
"Act decidedly and take the consequences.
No good is ever done by hesitation."
In His Service,