Bad Choices and Consequences
I’ve written about forgiveness, not punishing others for hurting you, and letting go of the past, but today is about the honest reality of the consequences we face for the bad choices we make.
I’ve been thinking lately about some ways I still feel punished by bad decisions in my past, and I’ve realized something I have let myself forget as a Christian. Just because God forgives us, doesn’t mean man will forgive us. We can repent and be forgiven by God, but that doesn’t mean we won’t still face earthly consequences.
You don’t get to choose what happens to you or if someone forgives you. You can ask forgiveness. You can apologize. You can change your ways. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t still face punishment from the person you hurt. You may repent and still lose that friend, your spouse, or your job.
I can repeat Christian comfort phrases over and over: I’m forgiven. I’m redeemed. I am loved.
Those phrases may be true when it comes to me and God, but that doesn’t make it true for anyone I’ve hurt. Repeating those phrases doesn’t take their pain away. It doesn’t change their thoughts. It doesn’t erase their memories. It doesn’t undo what has been done.
Yes. God forgives. Yes. God can change hearts. Yes. God can bring good from any situation.
I will never stop believing in forgiveness, grace, and redemption. We can hold on to these truths. We can forgive ourselves. We can choose to make peace with our past.
But, let’s not become cavalier with knowing that no matter what we do, God still loves us. God’s grace isn’t a free pass for bad choices. Nor does it entitle us to forgiveness from anyone else. We are not entitled to forgiveness from others, and that’s a hard truth to swallow.
Some people may choose to never forgive you because they’re holding on to their anger or their pain is still too much to let go. That’s their choice to make, not yours.
I’ve come to realize that I may face some earthly consequences for the rest of my life, and that sounds awful. The pain and suffering we face here will all be gone when we get to Heaven though. If that’s the only hope I have right now, may it be enough.
Be mindful of your choices!