Consequences are a result or effect of an action or condition. When I hear the word consequence I cringe because I know that there is a price I am about to pay for something that I have done, or something that I have put off doing.
Now there are good consequences and bad consequences, and we all like the good consequences right? But what about the not so good consequences? This is what we want to look at today because there is always a lesson to be learned.
I am not perfect and I have had my share of not so good consequences and some of which I am still facing today. However, the lesson was valuable that I would not repeat it again.
Ask yourself the following questions, better yet write down your answers so you can see it.
What consequences have you faced from a life mistake? Have you paid a costly price for the mistake? Review your answers and reflect. Did you learn the lesson quickly or were you one of the more stubborn students? You know the one that makes the same mistake over and over expecting a different result. By the way you know what that’s called right? Insanity! Well today is the day to press pause and take inventory of your past consequences. Doing this will prevent similar future consequences that delay God’s plan and purpose for your life, and the goals and dreams you have.
Maybe you’ve had to face the consequences of debt, over spending and now your bills are more than your income and if not for the grace of God you are one pay check from being homeless. Maybe it’s broken trust, or a ruined reputation? What about the consequences of bitterness, addiction, lost wages or rumors? Maybe you’ve faced hatred, guilt, shame, regret missed opportunities and lost your joy and faced delays.
The not so good consequences are hard lessons to faced, but more importantly how can you bounce back from the not so good consequences. David was man after God’s own heart but he made some mistakes that caused him great consequences. One of those mistakes, was when David committed adultery with Bathsheba, had her husband killed to cover up his sin and then married Bathsheba. You can read about David and his consequences in 2 Samuel 11. However, there are action steps you can learn from David to bounce back while facing the consequences. Keep in mind that David went on to become a great King although he did not escape the consequences.
First action step is: Own you mistake
Take accountability for what you have done. If you cannot accurately perceive who you are, how you behave, how your behavior or actions affects others then you will always feel like something is happening to you, rather than something you are in control of. In other words, don’t play the if only game. If they didn’t do this then I wouldn’t have said or done that… People who play the if only game, are justifying their actions. The only variable you have control over is you. If you let someone else make you react or feel a certain way, you have stopped being an active agent in your life, and became the victim. David took accountability for his actions when confronted by Nathan the prophet about what he had done. David did not play the blame game he said “I have sinned against the Lord!" In other words, yes I did it. I did this horrible thing.
Second action step is: Apologize to anyone affected
If the apology is to someone then make it a real apology. A real apology inventories the damage done. It’s specific. I am sorry for …. fill in the blank. It identifies what you actually did wrong. A real apology should change you for the better and should not make excuses for your behavior. For example I am sorry, but… adding but to an apology mitigates personal responsibility and ends the discussion. David made a great apology for his sin when he wrote Psalm 51 which was written when Nathan the Prophet confronted him. Here what David said in Vs: 2-4
"Wash away my wrong doing! Cleanse me of my sin! For I am aware of my rebellious acts; I am forever conscious of my sin. Against you – you above all – I have sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. So you are just when you confront me; you are right when you condemn me."
David was specific and made no excuses for what he did.
Third action step is: Address the root cause
If you reflect on past mistakes that caused you some great consequences, you will realize that there were patterns that contributed to these mistakes. People pleasing, neglecting yourself to please others. Forsaking your own safety or happiness. Once patterns are identified, you are on your way to correcting the pattern so that it does not occur again. Reflect on the mistake, what caused it? What did you do to contribute to the mistake?
David addressed his root cause in Psalm 51: 5 as sin.
Fourth action step is: Share what you have learned
You live and you learn. Although you have to face the consequences of your actions, failures are guideposts in learning and growth. Keep in mind that your mistake does not make you uniquely who you are, but it can teach you powerful lessons which can be a learning opportunity for yourself and others. When you are courageous and make your private struggle public it can inspire someone to live differently. Think about this, when a smoker who’s dying of emphysema talks about the value of being smoke-free, we’re apt to listen. The same kind of contribution also occurs when we speak candidly about our mistakes.
David in Psalm 51 vs 13 after asking God to create in him a clean heart and to restore the joy of his salvation, he declares that he will teach transgressors the way so that sinners will turn back to God.
Fifth Action Step is Forgive yourself and move on
Forgiving yourself is essential. There is a tendency in all of us to hold ourselves more accountable than we do others. Life is full of choices and every choice we make will either take us in a positive, life-giving direction or rob us of the opportunity to be a life-giving individual. Forgiving yourselves does not let you off the hook, it does not justify what you have done, and it is not a sign of weakness. Forgiveness is a choice that takes courage and strength, and it gives you the opportunity to become an over-comer rather than remaining a victim. Unpack that bag and move on.
One of the consequences David had to face was the death of the child he had with Bathsheba. On the seventh day the child died and when David realized that the child was dead, David got up from the ground, bathed, put on oil, and changed his clothes. He went to the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then, when he entered his palace, he requested that food be brought to him, and he ate. So what are the takeaways today when we have to face the consequences of our mistakes.
Forgive yourself and move on- Forgiveness is a choice that takes courage and strength, and it gives us the opportunity to become an over-comer rather than remaining a victim.
What other action steps can you add? I don’t want this to be monologue I would love to hear from you. What have you learned from some of the mistakes you have made? Let’s inspire each other. I’m your sister in this journey, I believe in you. Subscribe and join the sisterhood I appreciate you.