Tag Archives: consequences

That Lyin’ Pride: What Consequences?

peacocks by tina phillips

image courtesy of Tina Phillips / freedigitalphotos.net

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?

Authentic Responsibilities: Unforeseen Consequences

Authentic Responsibilities #7: As a human being, I will sometimes act in a way that has unforeseen negative consequences for another. I am responsible for my own contributing to those consequences without requiring myself to have had prior knowledge I didn’t have.

worried woman by David Castillo Dominici

image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / freedigitalphotos.net

I went down to visit my friend’s office while at work. We’ve been friends for a while, and she knows just about everything there is to know about me—including my struggles and my past addiction to pornography. As she was taking a phone call, she pulled up a Twitter feed and said, “Look at this!” I glanced but saw nothing out of the ordinary—just a random student’s profile. When I didn’t react, she said, “Did you see this?” As she pointed at the picture at the top of the profile, I again saw nothing. Then she pointed out the extremely pornographic nature of the picture on this teenager’s profile, and finally, it registered with me. I turned my head away as quickly as I could and then asked her, “Knowing what you know about me, is there a reason you felt you should show that to me?” She immediately felt regret and apologized profusely. I was upset initially, but I let it go very quickly—I know she didn’t do it on purpose and would never intentionally harm my recovery in this area! I asked her to consider my past struggles when showing me things in the future.

Authentic responsibility #7 says that sometimes we do things that have unintentional and unknown consequences for another person. Here are a few things to remember about this responsibility:

  • Own it. All actions have consequences. Some consequences are positive, some are negative, some are neutral. We are responsible for owning up to those things that negatively impact others. My friend immediately realized what she had done and apologized. When your actions unintentionally cause someone harm, the first and best thing you can do is to admit your mistake and apologize. You don’t have to post-script it with an, “I didn’t know”—just own your mistake.
  • Drop the guilt. Even if my friend wouldn’t have known about my pornography addiction, she might have felt guilty about her actions. But sometimes we do things and don’t realize the impact they will have on others—because we just don’t know what’s going on in their lives. In either case, part of our responsibility is to let go of the guilt—even if we had prior knowledge—once we have sincerely made amends. Remember to let go of the guilt not only if you are the offender but also the offended.
  • Move forward with knowledge. Unintentional, negative consequences that we cause to others sometimes have a way of propelling us forward. We shouldn’t just go forward blindly, however—we should move forward intentionally, armed with knowledge to help us better interact with others. I believe that my friend now will think twice before showing me anything inappropriate now that she realizes how serious I am about keeping my mind and thoughts pure. I will also continue being open and honest with my friends about my struggles to help them understand my own needs.

Remember that even when you didn’t mean to, you can still, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:23). Own it, drop the guilt, and move forward with knowledge to become a better person in Christ and more authentically responsible.

Have your actions ever caused unforeseen consequences for someone? How did you handle it?