Robert Louis Stevenson once said “Sooner or later, everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.”
And this is precisely why it is always so corrosive to a person, to a community, and to a society, to blindly chart a course of actions that ignore the consequences of our choices. Truth be told, the ignoring of consequences or the attempts to avoid or mitigate consequences to “free” myself to do whatever I want without having to “pay the piper,” is the root of most of our human stumbles.
But attempts to avoid consequences is as old as humans. Our first mother and father in the Garden, when confronted with their behavior and their rebellion, immediately started the blame game! But, so we don’t fall into all those old jokes about man blaming the woman and the woman blaming the snake, and the snake not getting the chance to blame anybody; I want you to notice the One Whom Adam and Eve really blame for their troubles. In Genesis 3:12 Adam answers God about his eating of the Tree God had told them not to eat of, and Adam said “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” Genesis 3:12
Adam didn’t so much blame Eve as he blamed God. “The woman YOU GAVE ME…” (emphasis mine). Ultimately, our fallen personalities always run to blame God first for our troubles and our consequences. In our heart of hearts, we must confront this illness of soul with repentance and honest self awareness. We struggle with falling into the trap of the first lie about God’s character whispered into the ear of our first mother Eve: God isn’t truthful; God isn’t trustworthy; God is hiding something from you; God really doesn’t love you!
All our immaturity in honestly dealing with our consequences of our choices flows from that subtle lie.
In today’s Scripture Lesson we get to read from the wise words of Proverbs. Proverbs 1:20-33 gives us a powerful invitation to stop ignoring wisdom and embrace the clear and mature path of life based on honest living and honest dealing with our consequences. The last section of the lesson sums it all up: “For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacence of fools destroys them; but he who listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of evil.” Proverbs 1:32-33.
The ones who are “simple” or willfully uninformed are the ones who “die” because of their chosen ignorance and even those who know better but carelessly ignore the wisdom they already know are destroyed by their carelessness.
No wonder the disciplines of the faith call us to this season of Great Lent where honest confession: “I have sinned, O Lord;” honest repentance: “Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me;” and honest practice: “O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of …” all work together to re-orient my life toward honest repentance AND insight into how to stop making the same mistakes over and over again. The whole purpose of Great Lent is to turn my life toward this mature embrace of responsibility, to pure the lie that God is somehow my enemy, and that my courageous embrace of God’s wisdom will correct the path of my life and lead me to peace.
Today, don’t you want peace in your life? Don’t you want to live wisely and with purpose? Great Lent offers you all you need to actually enter into that kind of life. With courage, enter in!