Earlier today, I posted my response to the questions posted by Jules in her weekly Devout Devotions post. After a conversation with FirstHusband, I realized I didn’t answer the question:
“Do you think people should have to live with the consequences of their sins?”
In my post, entitled, “reputations and consequences” I said:
“Yes, and that applies to me too, not just “other” people. I’ve seen so many people try the ““Jake” thing from the Blues Brothers. (Go ahead. Click on the link, you’ll see what I’m talking about. It’s 24 seconds.) Seriously. I have no patience for that. Here’s something I’ve been heard to say frequently. “Own it.” And that applies to me, too. An example that immediately comes to my mind happened just over a year ago. I had what I described as one of the most stressful days I had in years. That afternoon, picked the kids up at school and after a few hours in my company, my son said, “Mom? Can I do ANYTHING right today?” ouch. I owned it and apologized big time. I HATE “owning it.” But when I do, I learn so much. Lessons learned to guard against future sins. Hopefully.”
See? I didn’t answer the question. Taking responsibility for sin and suffering the consequences of our sin are two completely different things. My answer focused on taking responsibility for sin. And in that sense, I’m NOT changing my answer. I still believe I should take responsibility for my sin. No excuses.
But do I think people should have to live with the consequences of their sins? No. And I thank God for that. I thank God for boundless grace. The reason Christ came to earth in the first place was to prevent us from facing the consequences of our sin. Why should that be limited to the ultimate consequence?
Admittedly, there are times when facing the consequences of our sin is a means to change our direction when we otherwise wouldn’t. A glaring example would be people who break the law and rightfully suffer the consequences of their actions through our legal system. I believe that any time we face the consequence of our sin, we deserve it. But I pray and thank God for Grace. I pray and thank God for those times when restoration comes without the need to face the consequences of my sin. I welcome His discipline and guidance in any form, but much like my kids, I prefer that teaching and guidance come without pain. And just as I, as their mother, decide whether my kids should receive punishment for bad behavior or receive grace from me, I believe the decision to allow me to suffer the consequences of MY sin or receive Grace should be left to my Heavenly Father.