Aaron Summers

Posts Tagged ‘Consequences’

God’s Not Dead and Not to Blame

In Gospel Living on March 30, 2017 at 10:12 am

Newton discovered 3 laws of motion.  Whether you remember those or not, you use them every day.

  1. A body at rest tends to stay at rest until a force acts upon it.  A body in motion tends to stay in motion until a force acts on it.
  2. Force = Mass * Acceleration
  3. For every action, there is an equal and opposite action.

In each of these resides the idea of consequence.  If I want the result of an object to be in motion, then I apply a force to it.  The same if I want something to stop.  Every action has an opposing action.  If I push on a shoebox it “pushes back” in the sense of grip and friction and gravity.  When my force supersedes the force of those forces then the box moves.

We live through these every day.  In fact, you are who you are because of the combined set of choices and events in your life.  You are where you are because of the combined set of choices and events in your life.

We can look through scripture and see this cause/effect:

  1.  Adam and Eve made a choice and had to face the consequence of being banned from Eden.
  2. Cain made a choice to murder and faced the consequence of exile.
  3. Israel made the choice to not cross the Jordan and everyone over 20 died while wondering in the wilderness.
  4. Moses struck the rock instead of speaking to it and did not cross to the promised land.

Then the lord said, “I will pardon them as you have requested. But as surely as I live, and as surely as the earth is filled with the lord’s glory, not one of these people will ever enter that land.

— Numbers 14:20-22

Many people believe that when God forgives he should also remove the consequences in their lives.  Look closely at the words of God in the passage above.  He pardoned them, which means the associated guilt is removed.  However, the consequence would remain..

Just because you have placed your faith in Jesus for the first time does not mean that all consequences will be removed from your life.  Many times, God allows them to remain for us to remember.  Jesus told the man who had lain on a mat for 38 years to take his mat with him.  Your cancer, your bankruptcy, your nightmare of a marriage and family are all products of choices you have made.  Those might lessen in time, but things could also get worse before getting better.

What am I suggesting?

There are 3 laws of spiritual motion we must remember.

  1. Law of Covenant.  Once you are in the family of God, you will remain there.  It doesn’t mean God will like every choice you make.  In fact, you will be disciplined in rebellious decisions.  Yet, you will still be in the family.  If you sincerely and honestly placed your faith in the action of Jesus’ death and resurrection as payment for your life then you are in the family and nothing takes you out of the family.
  2. Law of Consequence.  God does not always remove the results of our choices.  The alcoholic still might have liver failure.  The smoker might still get lung cancer.  The years of fighting might still result in a divorce.  Don’t blame God for your problems that you created through choices.  Our issues are our fault, not God’s.  The randomness you feel is simply a chance to trust.  When it doesn’t make sense will you trust Him?
  3. Law of Causality.  The rule here is that the allowance of God does not equal the action of God.  God might allow things to happen, but not be the cause of them.  For example, the argument is that if God really was love then there would be no hate int he world.  If God was really all-powerful He would stop the evil.  If God was really compassionate, then children would not have diseases.  The reality is that humanity is the cause of these terrible, awful, no-good things!  We brought evil into our world and perpetuate it with our choices.  God has given us free agency to make decisions.

With each choice, consider your decision carefully.  God gives wisdom to those who ask.  He provides direction to those who seek His help.  He also lets us fail if that is what we choose.

Choose wisely, my friend.

Let It Flow

In Leadership on June 18, 2014 at 9:41 am

chain-of-responsibility

During the Softball Season we usually have to deal with rain-outs and makeup games.  The team was assembled one evening and warming up on the field when I received a call.  The team we were playing asked if we were arriving soon.  I knew then that something had gone wrong.  Each of us believed this game to be a home game.  Now what?  I called our director to discuss the situation.  Apparently the director of the other team had forgotten to relay the information that this was to be played in our town.  I lobbied for a forfeit and win for us, but the response I received was “accidents happen”.

Accidents do happen.  My son came barreling through the house the other day and knocked something off the shelf and it broke causing my wife to be upset.  He shrugged and said “accident”.  While true, there is some responsibility to be born.  I drove too fast around a curve and ended up in the ditch.  It was an “accident”.  However, someone had to pay for the damages!

Accidents happen every day, but someone must take the responsibility.  I told the director and also my son what I was told when my Dad arrived.  Accidents happen but so do consequences.  I was being taught that taking responsibility for the results of my actions was important.  It is and God thinks so also.

The Israelites found themselves wandering around in the desert when this happened…

While the Israelites were camped at Acacia Grove, some of the men defiled themselves by having sexual relations with local Moabite women.  These women invited them to attend sacrifices to their gods, so the Israelites feasted with them and worshiped the gods of Moab.  In this way, Israel joined in the worship of Baal of Peor, causing the lord’s anger to blaze against his people. The lord issued the following command to Moses: “Seize all the ringleaders and execute them before the lord in broad daylight, so his fierce anger will turn away from the people of Israel.” So Moses ordered Israel’s judges, “Each of you must put to death the men under your authority who have joined in worshiping Baal of Peor.”

God put Moses in charge.  Moses put tribal leaders in charge.  God told Moses the consequence and Moses relayed it to the tribal leaders.  While neither Moses nor the Leaders were involved in the exploits, they had to take responsibility of those in their charge.

Every organization has a downward flow of responsibility and upward flow of accountability. Those for whom I am responsible are also accountable back to me.  Here a few keys to taking responsibility.

1.  You’re not guilty unless you are involved in the alleged actions.  For example, if there is a department that behaves badly or misses deadlines, the boss will hold the supervisor responsible while the supervisor holds the people responsible.  Why?  Because of the downward responsibility and upward accountability.   Too often I find that top of the chain leaders take full responsibility instead of holding accountable those actually in charge of particular areas.

2.  Don’t micromanage.  In church, the pastor is the one who holds the greatest accountability to God.  Meanwhile, he can also hold a staff person responsible for that which is under his/her purview.   That staff person, acting responsibly, will go the next in line for answers to the issue.  While it may seem easier for the pastor/leader/boss to go straight to the person who acted badly, it harms the system and undermines the authority of those in the chain of responsibility.  Moses did not go the people.  Moses went to the tribal leaders.

3.  Consequences are a part of life.  From Adam, Eve, and the Serpent we are fully aware that there are consequences to our actions.  Failing to administer them or minimizing them is not healthy for the larger group.  There are good and bad consequences.  Let us make sure we provide both to balance the environment.  If negative consequences are the only ones provided then those who seek attention begin to act poorly.  An old adage of education is reward what you want to see.

Leading a large body of people, no matter the industry, requires that there be a balance of responsibility being accepted and accountability being demanded.

What’s Karma Got To Do With It?

In Faith, Life and Culture on February 6, 2014 at 10:18 am

Fun-Definitions-KarmaKarma

Be careful what you put out in the universe because you don’t want the universe to punch you in the face!  In other words if you do good things, good things will happen to you.  If you do bad things, bad things will happen to you.  Coming out of Buddhism and Hinduism, karma is the principle of retributive justice determining a person’s state of life and the state of his reincarnations as the effect of his past deeds.  Well-meaning, good-intentioned people attribute a lot of what happens to karma.  Maybe they just believe they had it coming.  Funny how when something bad happens we attribute it to karma.  When something good happens we attribute it to luck or hard work.

Grace

Believe in Jesus Christ as the only Son of God who took your deserved punishment in order to satisfy God’s law and set you free from sin’s consequences is grace.  In other words, we deserve separation from God because of our actions.  We deserve Hell, now and for eternity. However, God offers an opportunity of a lifetime.  If we choose to turn over our lives to God, He will erase the history of our lives as far as He is concerned.  You do not get what you deserve.  You get what God provides: grace.

Karma and the Bible

Some would argue that Moses preached a brand of karma in Deuteronomy.  Read an excerpt from Deuteronomy 30:

“Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster.  For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy. “But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy. “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!”

If read flatly and without any surrounding chapters, this might sound like karma.  If you do the right things then you will be blessed.  If you do the wrong things you will be cursed.  Sounds like karma, right? One could read some of the words of Jesus and make an argument.  When he said that he was not here to abolish the Old Testament but to fulfill it, one could make a case.

You would be mistaken.

What’s Behind Door #3?

There is no one standing behind Karma.  Karma is about your actions and consequences without regard to any relationship.  Karma sounds nice because it seems logical.  It is neat and tidy.  Do good come back in a higher life form.  Do evil and come back in a lower life form.  All of this is based on the understanding of attaining the state of Nirvana.  In essence, it is a fatalistic teaching.   Once reached, there is nothing else.

Standing behind Grace is God.  God wants a relationship with you.  Please do not read Deuteronomy without having read Genesis and Exodus.  Humanity broke, because of sin, the perfect relationship with God.  He could have quit, but did not.  He could have annihilated them all but did not.  He ushered them out of Eden so they could have a shot at getting back into a relationship with God.  This is grace.  God could have chosen to eliminate everything during the flood.  Yet he salvaged 8 people in order to provide the opportunity of a relationship.  This is grace. God established a covenant in Exodus that was based on a relationship with Himself and the people of Israel in order to reach the world.  This is grace.  When Moses tells the people about life and death, blessing and cursing, he is not speaking about actions and the universe.  He is speaking from the position of relations with God.

Give Me Grace

Karma deals with the actions of humanity and gives no real hope of relating to the Creator.  Grace deals with the acquittal of humanity in order to relate with the Creator.  Consequences are all that Karma dictates.  Under grace, consequences are the reminder of why we stay in the loving relationship we have with God.  The next time you find yourself in a pinch seek to understand how God might be trying to get your attention.

 

 

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