Tag Archive: consequence

Let me rephrase the question: would you do something if there were no direct punishment for you? (You can extend this to any illegal/immoral activity, whether it’s stealing, harming, raping, etc.).

What deters many people is the resulting punishment/consequences if one of those acts is done by one person against another. Many times, this is how some churches present their understanding of the Christian life i.e. God will punish you if you do that. So, for many, living a moral life is really about punishment-avoidance.

What this question suggests is whether you are changed fundamentally, especially from a Christian faith perspective? Because if you would do it because you can get away with it, what does that speak to who we really are?

John Wooden said, “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” To shift the angle: do I try to stay away from doing bad things (you define what those are) primarily because I’m afraid I’ll get caught or because I believe those acts are fundamentally wrong in and of themselves? After all, in the hypothetical scenario that I wouldn’t be punished for that act, there are still consequences because it impacts the other person negatively. Sometimes, I ask myself that question:

  • Would I steal (embezzle, etc.) just to get what I want?
  • Would I get back at another person through some sort of violence (physical, material, psychological, social) if I felt wronged or because I had contempt?
  • Would I treat women essentially as objects for my own pleasure?

It challenges me to address a deeper issue within me i.e. is God shaping that fundamental desire to seek the betterment of the person around me vs exploiting them for my own selfish desires, which in turn shapes my behaviour? This is beyond punishment-avoidance behaviour modification. This is what the Holy Spirit wants to pursue in my life and everyone else’s.

At times, facing that question forces me to consider where am I at really with God. (To be honest, there are dark spots in my soul I don’t want to acknowledge sometimes.) Yet, it’s God’s desire that the very depths of my soul be transformed so that I might be like Christ. God help me in that process.


Father vs Worker

There is a tug of war within me between the father/husband in me and the worker in me. In the grand scheme, I understand that my role as a husband and father is one of the most vital (second to my identity as a child of God). I’ve even taught on that premise, knowing that all my other roles can be replaced by someone else, but my role as my children’s father is solely mine. Even when I die, there may be step fathers, guardians or other significant male role models, but no one else could ever be their father.

Yet even though I know this, sometimes my other roles, more specifically in my vocation, seems to take precedence. I spend significant amounts of time on my work, sometimes seemingly (and very likely objectively) more time than I do with my family.  Yet what is it within me that drives me to work, sometimes even at the sacrifice of my family?

I think one key perception that my work has a much broader and visible implication than my influence on my family.  ie People are more likely to notice my influence (positive or negative) based from my work into spaces like retreats.  If I fail on my work, it is noticed much more visibly and in a shorter time than if I fail as a father.  However, it may be that the effects of my failure as a father may have deeper, more subtle and longer-lasting consequences that I can imagine. But the short-time sometimes blind my judgement and leads me to conclusions that, in the end, may not be God-honouring or the best in the big picture.

May I keep the big picture in mind, knowing who God has called me to be, and to stay true to that.

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