Sunday, April 6, 2014

It's Consequential

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Loving someone doesn’t mean allowing them to do everything they want to do, or to do everything their way. Right and wrong, good and bad are all still reality. The line isn’t wiped out because you love someone.

If I love someone who becomes abusive, I cannot allow them to hurt me. To walk away from them doesn’t imply I’ve stopped loving them, only that I won’t be tormented by them. Lines need to be drawn.

Because I love my toddler I’m not going to let him play with the sharp knives in the kitchen. Because I love him, I’ll keep them out of his reach until he can understand the dangers they pose. Whether he completely comprehends why he can’t play with the knives or not, lines need to be drawn, rules need to be accepted.

Though, as parents, we create rules about what our children can and cannot do, there will always be those strong-willed children who go around us to prove to themselves that there’s really no danger; that mom and dad don’t know what they’re talking about. Many of those children will get hurt, some seriously. Fortunately, some of the little smart-alecks will investigate the knives when backs are turned, and walk away unscathed. But, too many will find out the hard way, that the rule was in place for their own protection.

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As my child grows, I’ll warn him of other dangers, but I’ll do so because I love him, not to deny him pleasure or the answers to curious questions. I’ll want him to discover the answers to as many curious questions as his little heart comes up with, and yes, there may come a day where it involves danger to uncover the answers.

I love a little man who knows no fear. He’ll run right up to the edge of a cliff while we’re hiking and insist that he won’t go over. I have to admit, the boy can stop on a dime, but the day may come when the souls of his shoes meet with sand that sends him sailing over the edge. Do I warn him or attempt to stop him from running at full speed right up to the very edge simply to deny him the thrill? No, of course not; but because I love him and want him to live to be a hundred and accomplish great things with his life.

Again, pondering perception, as I’ve done so many times before, why do we think rules are meant to deprive us? Why do we think that being warned of consequences implies that the outcome of ‘breaking the rule’ is a punishment? If I tell my young man that sliding off the edge of a cliff could mean his death, I’m not saying I’ll punish him with death if he flies out past the end of the ledge. I’m saying that death might be the natural consequence.

When God tells us that without Him we cannot live, He’s not punishing us for trying to live without Him, He’s merely showing us the consequence of excluding Him from our existence. Believing in Jesus Christ results in eternal life, whereas, denying Him results in eternal damnation. Just as cutting off your head will lead to your death, death is not the punishment for cutting off your head, merely the result.

Ponder this, why do we so easily feel threatened with punishment, by warnings of consequences?

“…eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” – 1 Corinthians 2:9 (KJV)
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