Friday, January 7, 2011

Choices and Consequences

Life is all about choices.  We know that.  What we forget, or perhaps in the spirit of this epistle I should rather say, what we ‘choose’ to forget, is that choices have consequences.  In fact, as a society and culture, we often want to extrapolate that oversight to mean ‘I don’t like the consequences of my choices, so I want to change my mind – even if in so doing, the choice hurts someone else who didn’t make the choice I did.
Here is your only warning.  If you don’t like controversial opinions, rather than get mad at me for choosing to express my opinions, you might wish to choose to not read this.
For example, at the tender age of 12, Jesus gave me a choice.  He said that the consequence of continuing to live a sinful life; the consequence of rejecting His free offer of eternal salvation, was eternal separation from God.  The Bible calls this Death.  The Bible says this means eternity separated from God, and spent in the endless suffering of Hell’s eternal fires.
I chose life.  My choice came with a consequence.  Jesus said, among other things, that He had a plan for my life that will probably include persecution along with blessing.  He said unrepented sin will result in correction.  Sometimes, the Bible says, the consequence may be the end my physical life.
I have never regretted my choice to accept God’s salvation.  I have often regretted some the choices and the consequences I have made since.
I choose to share my faith.  Some people are offended by this.  If in the sharing, my faith offends someone, that’s understandable.  Not everyone  will welcome my faith.  On the other hand, if the way I present my faith is offensive, and I catch flack for that, it isn’t persecution.  It’s just me being an idiot and others acknowledging it.
My doctor said I needed to watch my blood pressure.  I was in my thirties at the time.  I laughed it off, made excuses for it, and chose to ignore her advice.  At the age of 51, I suffered a stroke caused by out of control high blood pressure.  Choice and consequence.  Always related, just not always immediate.
Other choices may have more immediate consequences.  If I commit a crime, I may go to prison.  I may even have my life taken, depending on the seriousness of the crime I chose to commit.
Still other choices may have long term consequences.  If I father a child, by my choice of having intercourse, it really doesn’t matter whether I am married to the mother of the child or not.  The consequence is that I have a responsibility to provide for both the mother and the child.
If you’re still reading, you’re probably not going to like this one.  If I am a woman and I choose to have unprotected sex, this is my choice.  I have chosen to use my body for the fulfillment of fleshly pleasure.  There is nothing wrong with that choice, but it is still a choice.  It may result in pregnancy.  If so, that is a consequence of the choice.  It’s still my body, but I made my choice for my body when I chose to have unprotected sex.  It is not my choice to terminate the resulting pregnancy under the guise of ‘choice.’  I already made the choice.  Now there are two other individuals involved who are the consequence of my choice.  The father, and the unborn child.  Mom and Pop had a choice.  The child is the consequence of that choice.  End of ‘free to choose what I want because it’s my body’ argument.  I already chose.  Now don’t come back at me with the ‘rape’ argument.  That’s apples and oranges.
Other choices.  I choose to stop watching certain forms of entertainment because I disagree with their underlying message.  Some of the television we allow into our homes promote lifestyles that I find unacceptable.  Some show adults in general and Fathers in particular as idiots whose belligerent children are smarter than they are.  I won’t watch them.
Some advertising does the same thing.  A recent series of commercials for laundry detergent promoted the idea that it is OK to lie to your children as long as you wash away the evidence of the lie with their product.  Guess which laundry detergent I did NOT purchase when I went shopping earlier this week?  There is a series of automobile commercials in which a child is constantly berating the intelligence of his parents.  I’m not in the car buying market, but if I were, you couldn’t give me their product.
I voted against every school board candidate in the school district where my children attended when they decided that politically correct books that changed history were now required for my children.  Many other voters agreed.  Many did not.
Now along comes Alan Gribben, a literature professor at Auburn Montgomery University in Alabama.  He decided to change Huckleberry Fin and Tom Sawyer to make them more socially acceptable.  What’s next on his list?  Gone with the Wind?  Dickens’ Christmas Carol?  Les Miserables?  Doctor Zhivago?  They all use referential terminology that one might now conclude is socially imprudent.  Shall we likewise voice-over All in the Family and the Jeffersons to make Archie Bunker and George Jefferson politically correct?
Choices.  Consequences.  Like the song says, they go together like a horse and carriage.
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