The Bible shows us to think about the cause and effect of all of our actions.
[Gary Petty] A small man was sitting in the corner of a bar. He was disheveled, he was obviously distraught, and he just sat there staring at his drink. A local bully came in, recognized that there was a stranger there. So, he walks over, looks threatening at the man, grabs his drink, takes it down in one gulp, slams it back down, and says, "What are you gonna do about that?" To his surprise, the small man began to weep and sob, and he says, "I'm not gonna do anything. This is the worst day of my life. You know, I got up this morning, I wasn't feeling well. I was sick, but I went to work anyways, but I got there late, and my boss fired me. I came outside to get in my car to go home, and someone backed into my car, and it was all wrecked, and they had to haul it off. So, I got a cab, went home, got out of the cab, walked up to my door, and realized I'd left my wallet in the cab. So, I opened the door, went inside and there was a note from my wife that she was gonna leave me. And then look, my hands are all bandaged, my dog bit me." He said, "Then to make matters worse, I'm sitting here thinking this is the time to end it all and contemplating just ending my life, and you came along and drank my poison."
Unintended consequences. You know, life is full of decisions we make, and there are consequences, good and bad, and we try to consider those decisions we make and the consequences. But you know, there are a lot of unintended consequences. When we look at biblical wisdom, what we're talking about in biblical wisdom is many times the ability to look at an unintended consequence, to realize that our action may affect another person or set in motion a series of things that actually is detrimental. It's interesting here in Proverbs 11:19 Proverbs 11:19As righteousness tends to life: so he that pursues evil pursues it to his own death.
American King James Version×. Here's what Solomon writes, "As righteousness leads to life, so he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death." You know, people who like evil don't go to do evil thinking it's going to kill them. No. If you decide you're going to rob the liquor store, you have no idea. You don't believe he's gonna pull out a shotgun and shoot you, or you wouldn't do it.
The law of unintended consequences. In Proverbs 21:17 Proverbs 21:17He that loves pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loves wine and oil shall not be rich.
American King James Version×, Solomon says, "He who loves pleasure will be a poor man and he who loves wine and oil will not be rich." As a pastor, I've dealt with many people and watched them destroy their lives because of their love of alcohol, or they were addicted to drugs. And no matter what help that was given to them, they could not overcome it. It wasn't their intention to ruin their lives. The unintended consequences are horrible on them and on all the people they love. You would never start abusing alcohol or misusing illegal drugs if you could see the consequences that happen later.
In Proverbs 22:3 Proverbs 22:3A prudent man foresees the evil, and hides himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.
American King James Version×, "A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished." You know, the wise person sees what's going to happen and looks at not only the obvious consequences but the unintended consequences. Now, you can't escape from all unintended consequences because you can't know what other people will do or what happens down the line. But when we make our decisions, if we're gonna have true biblical wisdom, we can't just look at the obvious consequences. Always be aware, always think about, when you're about to make a decision, what are the unintended consequences?
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