Our Actions Have Consequences

Too often the whisper of the Wicked One will convince us that there are no consequences to our actions. At times our culture will minimize the consequences. But the Bible assures us that there are always consequences or results for our decisions. “Whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap.” This past weekend I referenced an article written in the late ’80s by Randy Alcorn (Consequences of a Moral Tumble, Leadership Journal; Winter 1988, p.46) which has been a big help to me. The article talks about the consequences of a moral tumble. I have personalized the article to my situation and I periodically review it to remind myself that there is a lot at stake if I were to fail morally.

Here are some of the consequences if I were to fail morally (some are taken directly from Randy Alcorn’s article while others have been added or adjusted):

  1. I would grieve the Lord who redeemed me.
  2. I would drag his sacred name in the mud.
  3. I would one day look Jesus, the righteous Judge, in the face and give an account for my actions.
  4. I would follow in the footsteps of a number of friends whose immorality forfeited their ministries and caused me to weep at the time.
  5. I would inflict incredible hurt on Carolyn, my best friend, loyal wife, and partner in ministry for all of these decades.
  6. I would lose Carolyn’s respect and trust.
  7. I would inflict immeasurable and lasting pain on my children Andy (his wife Katie), Christy, and Teresa (her husband Drew) along with our grandchildren Drew, Nate, Seth, Anna, Wes and Lydie.
  8. I would destroy my example and credibility with my children and grandchildren – nullifying both present and future efforts to teach them to obey God.
  9. I would potentially lose my relationship with my wife and children forever if my blindness continued or they could not forgive.
  10. I would have to step away from the ministry that God called me to and for which I have invested many years preparing.
  11. I would bring major disappointment to the men and women who faithfully invested in my life and shaped me to be a servant of God.
  12. I would bring shame to my family.
  13. I would create a form of guilt awfully hard to shake. Even though God would forgive me, would I be able to forgive myself?
  14. I would form memories and flashbacks that could plague future intimacy with my wife.
  15. I would cause pain, disappointment and perhaps setbacks for the people I have led to Christ and disciple.
  16. I would undermine the faithful example and hard work of other Christians in our community.
  17. I would bring great pleasure to Satan and provide ammunition for all those opposed to the work of God.
  18. I would bring judgment and endless difficulty on the person with whom I sinned.
  19. I would potentially bring to our home diseases and financial implications as a result.
  20. I would bring shame and hurt to our campus pastors, staff, leadership team, elders and hundreds of pastors and leaders in this region.
  21. I would potentially stop the spiritual momentum in our church.
  22. I would invite shame and life-long embarrassment upon myself.
  23. I would cause pain and hurt to the people of Woodside that I love.

I am aware that fighting temptation involves more than a list, but reminding myself of the cost is a huge “buyer beware” that I must heed before it is too late. Let me encourage you to make a personalized list as well, review it often and let’s pray for each other to remain pure and faithful to our calling as followers of Christ.