Friday, April 3, 2015

Inevitable Consequences

A few years ago, my family and I went on vacation.  One of the places we visited during our stay in San Francisco, California was Alcatraz.  This is a well-known former prison which housed infamous criminals such as Al Capone at one point.  We took a ferry there and the place was quite crowded.  It was an experience.

Toward the end of the tour there, we went to the cafeteria where the inmates used to have meals.  Hanging around the large room were photographs of some of the prisoners, the time they served there, and what crime(s) they committed.

I noticed one man in particular who was a sexual predator and had sexually abused a child.  It taught me an incredible lesson about sin in general and how it specifically begins with an unchecked thought-life.

Here was this man who had been imprisoned for molesting a child.  When you think about it, the act itself was simply the culmination of everything that he was thinking, watching, and fantasizing about up until that point.  How long do you suppose the gratification he received from this crime lasted?  How do you suppose it affected that child, his or her family, and his own self-esteem?  You see, friends, it's so easy to fantasize and masturbate, or view porn...or even hire a prostitute or weekly visit strip clubs.  It's easy to flirt with one of our co-workers, watch the latest racy movie at the theatre, or read romance novels.  It's easy to joke around with our friends in a perverse manner or fill our minds with magazines of nude individuals.  It's easy, isn't it?  It actually requires no effort because it is something we love and enjoy.  But where will the seemingly insignificant choices you are making today, this very hour, lead you over time?  You really do not know.

How many marriages have been ravaged and intimacy between a husband & wife crumbled because of one or both partner's excessive porn use (or other destructive sexual habits)?  How many children's lives have been suddenly changed because of their parent's divorce?  How many people have committed suicide because the constant luring, bondage and haunting of their addictions is something they just can't overcome on their own (or so they think)?  How much time has been wasted, money has been spent, and responsibilities have suffered because of the hazardous decisions we have foolishly indulged in?

We make choices and then our choices make us.  Too often, we are so caught up in the moment and are just thinking about selfishly pleasing ourselves that we do not stop to consider how (and whom) our choices will harm, hurt, blind, and ultimately destroy us.

Thinking Long-Term

The next time you long to indulge in the false security of secrecy and assume you are hurting no one, ponder long the bad choices others have made and where it has lead them.  And deeply, consciously remember that all sin has a starting point.  It begins in our minds.  Don't wait until you are in prison (literally or figuratively) to realize your need for genuine change.

Let's heed the counsel of Daniel Baker when he said, "No matter how old you are or what your track record is like with this sin, there is something you need to acknowledge if you will have any success.  You must see that you have a battle to fight.  If you think of battling lust as anything less, then you will become much more familiar with defeat than with victory."


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