Monday, October 13, 2014

Suffering Injustice, Difficulty, and Consequences


"Why Does It Always Rain On Me?" was a song on the album, The Man Who by the band Travis.  I used to love this CD.
I listened to a few of their songs again recently and it made me think:  Why is life rough?  Why does life often not go our way?  Why do we seem to suffer injustice and difficulty?  Why is worry and anxiety so prevalent in people's lives?  Why, why, why?
Our choices play a major part in the outcome of our lives.  I can't tell you how many times I have felt saddened as I look back over my life and realize all the bad choices I have made and how some of them have affected me to this day.
There have been countless times I feel regret, wish I would have left words unsaid, desire to take back sinful decisions, and shudder at the thought of bondage that once held me captive.
We also experience hardship in life due to the poor choices of others.  If we have parents who are a bad example or are not there for us, it can make life very difficult.  If we grew up and had to move a lot because of a parent or relative's job, keeping friends wasn't easy.  If we grew up without money, we may have been made fun of for not wearing the latest clothing trends or being able to afford other "luxuries" those our age appeared to enjoy.
...or quite possibly, we had parents who expected too much from us & whose impossible standards crushed us and this made even activities we once enjoyed lose their sense of joy and purpose.  Maybe our parents didn't protect us from bad situations because they weren't home all the time and didn't monitor our friend and entertainment choices.  Maybe one of our neighbors was a total pervert and we suffered at their hands when all we did was go to their house unsuspectingly to play games with their kids for the afternoon one day after school.
It's a fact:  People suffer terrible injustice because of the selfishness and sickly, unchecked desires of others.
It's a fact:  The seemingly insignificant choices we make each day, hour after hour, day by day, sometimes result in a monstrous addiction or a total change in character and a loss of commitment to the Lord.  Choices matter.
God never promised us a wealthy, happy life.  He actually makes it clear in His word that in this life, we will have tribulation.  The Bible states the depravity of the human heart and how men love the darkness.  When our first parents, Adam and Eve, sinned, we lost paradise.  It confuses me when people assume life should always go our way and bring us fulfillment apart from God & happiness with no expectation of loss or pain.

The human heart is wicked.  Even our self-righteousness and feelings of pride or thinking we are better than others are worth shaking our heads at in disbelief.

It's true some are privileged because of their parent's financial history or thriving home business or diligence and many long hours at the career they attained through many school hours.  It's true that some people grow up with both parents who are there for them, so they have a cohesive family unit and support right at home.  And it is unfortunately accurate that many grow up in a single-parent home with little money, might be shy or made fun of in school, are without friends, and have handicaps of some sort.  This doesn't emancipate a person's responsibility to live as a productive, God-fearing citizen of society though.

Whatever lot we are dealt in life, we must choose (with God's help, by His enabling, through His intervention & offering Him a heart of full surrender) to make the most of our circumstances, live in a way that honors the Lord and esteems others, and decide to walk paths that will result in a clean and orderly life.  For such a life brings little regret and will be most profitable.  Such a life keeps us from trouble and unwanted consequences.  Such a life keeps us safe, away from the inevitable results of wrong-doing, and leaves a legacy of one who lived their life well; all to the glory and praise of God.
See friends, our choices do not only affect us.  They literally affect generations to come in very specific ways.  Here are a few examples:
  • A porn addict wife or husband is found out, loses their job and family because of their constant bondage and unwillingness to part with it, and the children suffer by growing up with a distorted view of sexuality, authority, themselves, and relationships
  • A "good Christian kid" is befriended by someone who was a bad influence and the guy or girl who once sought to stay innocent ends up stealing from stores, trying drugs, and sleeping around (this happened to me, just not everything listed)
  • Parents who have kids start up their drug habit again after years of not getting high, become addicted, the kids are taken, put in foster homes and suffer abuse to some degree
  • A man or woman is unwilling to work on the issues in their marriage and within time, divorce ensues
  • Someone is made fun at school and other kids join in on taunting the individual, then in a moment of frustration, anger, sadness, and deeply rooted pain that has been building up over time since the put downs first began at the start of the year, they commit suicide
This is only a few examples of how our choices affect others.  We must keep in mind that every choice we make is either impacting our future and the lives of those around us for better or for ill.  Are we becoming more of a pure, God-fearing, Christ-exalting, Bible-applying person over time or a monster and predator whose sin ultimately culminates in a loss of reputation, poor health, no money, a past that haunts us, and strongholds we can't shake on our own?
God has given each of us a free will.  One Pastor has said this is "our greatest blessing and our greatest curse".  Are our decisions honoring our commitment to the Lord and enabling us to be a godly example to others or are we seeking our own gratification, no matter the cost, all because of pride, anger, and feeling like we deserve it since nothing else has gone our way?
How are we spending our days?  What are we dwelling on (see Philippians 4: 8)?  Who are we spending time with?  What are we reading and watching?  Who are we when no one else is around?  What do we justify doing, even though at some point, we would have cringed at the thought of giving in to it?
To quote a few lines from the song, "Driftwood" by Travis:
And you really didn't think it would happen
But it really is the end of the line
So I'm sorry that you've turned to driftwood
But you've been drifting for a long, long time

Where will you be in a month?  Three years?  A decade?  Will you choose to start making choices that reflect a heart which desires to please and honor the God who saved you, and in so doing avoid the painful consequences of drifting into a future of reaping what you now sow?

Everything we do creates memories.

Will they make you proud or cringe in regret?


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