The many doomsday prophesies of the Bible, I believe, are more warnings of what will happen if people do not change their ways, than pronouncements of God’s punishment.
What we practice in our living, will fashion our lives:
Practice abuse and we will be abused
Practice violence and it will come back to us
Practice manipulation and domination and it will be practiced against us
Practice grace and we will receive grace
Practice forgiveness and we will be forgiven
We need to examine our lives. If our lives are full of resentment, bitterness, anger and un-forgiveness, we are almost certainly unhealthy in some way in body, mind and/or spirit. It is as reasonable an assumption and conclusion as death is from jumping off a high building. We set in motion the life we choose, and the spin offs come one way or another. So it is in our own interests, let alone anyone else’s, to deal with our problems.
Not only do we experience tough consequences for our wrong choices and actions, but we become the people we don’t actually like. To compound our troubles, we then, consciously or unconsciously, attract people of similar dispositions as our companions. If we’re glum and negative, we are probably surround by those that are glum and negative. Of course the opposite is also true – if we are positive and happy, our companions are likely to be positive and happy people. If we are spiritually sensitive to God and those around us, our companions will more than likely also be.
If we think negatively, our lives will reflect negativity. If we think kind, loving, compassionate and understanding thoughts, our lives will reflect beauty.
The same principle is at work in all aspects of our lives. What we think and do will shape who we are. We may fool ourselves and others, but we will become the creatures we practice being. The scriptures say “As a man thinks, so is he”. And that power is ours to use well or to abuse. We draw into our world what we persist in dwelling upon. It’s the law of attraction.
Sometimes to reinforce the significance of our thoughts and deeds, I image that every time I choose to be loving in some way, God’s force of goodness is boosted; every time I barged along offensively in some negative way, ‘Satan’ force of evil is boosted. The depositories of Good and Evil are being filled and like a dam filling with rain water, our thoughts and actions – God’s good or ‘Satan’s’ evil, will overflow into the world and into our lives. Our influence in our private lives, the lives of others and even globally, is extremely significant!
God says we must not worry about getting back at others, and fighting for our rights. We should leave it to him as he is wisest to deal with it. Fighting with each other just perpetuates the negative cycle. Rather, we should seek constructive and life-giving ways to deal with difficult situations and relationships. By choosing to break the cycle in our own lives first, may well lead to destructive cycles being broken down in someone else’s life.
Jesus didn’t fight the domination systems of his day with violence. He chose not to retaliate to the abuse and pain he witnessed in the lives of those around him, but sought rather to find loving and transformative ways to overcome evil with good. Jesus lived out of a loving relationship with God and others, and believed that this was the way to turn the tide and bring grace into our world. Violence begets violence; grace begets grace.
I believe that when we experience the consequences of our thoughts and actions, we should view them as the natural outcome of what we think and do, and not as God’s punishment. Paying attention to the outcomes or consequences that happen in our lives is a great opportunity to change anything that is negative and harmful to us and others.
I believe God is more our counsellor than judge. That despite our rebuttal of God and our rejection of the ways he knows would be best for us, he reaches out to us to help us and encourage us to be all whom he knows we are capable of being, fortified once again by a deeper experience of God’s grace, goodness, kindness and wisdom. God warns us of the consequences of negative and wrong living so that we will come to understand that the way of love, is the true, good and just way to live.