After our fight the other day, I received a letter via e-mail from my mom. We had, of course, been fighting about my uncle watching pornography in the house, and in my passion against pornography, I had yelled at her and hurt her very badly. In the e-mail, she wrote that for ten years, she had put up with me yelling at her “for looking the wrong way.” She then noted that I hadn’t done that since I had completed Celebrate Recovery—until the other day. I explained to her that the other day, I was yelling passionately out of a righteous anger, versus the angry, tormented yelling I had done pre-Celebrate Recovery. She accepted that, but her statement reminded me that when I was addicted to porn and fantasy, I often would look at the situation and believe that I wasn’t hurting anyone but myself. Once again, I had believed the lying voice of pride about consequences.
The lies pride tells us are never louder than in the area of consequences. Here are three things that pride is constantly telling me about the consequences of my choices:
- That consequences don’t exist. Everyone can have the tendency to believe the voice of pride that tells them that their behavior doesn’t have consequences. This is especially true when it is a sin of convenience. After all, what is a “little white lie” going to hurt, especially if you are making someone feel better about themselves? What will it hurt to take a few pens from work? But the truth is, all of our actions and behavior return a consequence—whether positive or negative. Galatians 6:9 says, “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” You reap what you sow, and there are always consequences for whatever action we choose.
- That if negative consequences exist, I don’t deserve them. For a long time, I felt that I deserved a great godly husband while entertaining lustful thoughts and a porn addiction. I just knew during that time that I didn’t deserve for God to withhold a loving relationship from me. I believed that my sinful thought life didn’t deserve consequences! But I was wrong. As I said before, the Bible notes that what we reap, we will also sow, and that justice comes for those who sin. And as sinners, we all deserve death—a price that Christ paid so that we could have eternal life and grace (Romans 6:23). And while we don’t receive the consequence of death that we deserve, there are always negative consequences for the sins we commit—and we do deserve those.
- That consequences don’t affect anyone but me. This is definitely an addict’s viewpoint—“I am not hurting anyone but myself.” However, as my mother pointed out, my addiction to pornography and fantasy had me believing that people were objects, and I treated them as such. The effects of my addiction on my family and friends was just as devastating as it was to me. I said and did many terrible things that left deep scars in others’ lives. Pride might try to tell me that there are no consequences for my actions, but the Bible tells me that sin is so damaging, it can affect not only me but my family to the third and fourth generation (Number 14:18). As someone whose grandfather, father, and uncle struggled with sexual sin, I can see that truth very plainly in my own life.
As I recently shared with someone, every choice you have made has led you to where you are today. So as you make choices today, keep in mind that your choices have consequences, and that those consequences may affect others. Don’t let that lying pride convince you otherwise!
What are some other things pride has told you about the consequences of your actions?