1. All choices have consequences. I throw a rock into a pond and the water ripples. The ripples are the result of me choosing to throw the rock.
2. You cannot have choices without consequences—life doesn’t work that way. If I choose to throw a rock into the pond (unless it is winter and the pond is frozen), it will ripple the water. You can live in denial of this if you so choose—but that doesn’t make it true! There are people today who think the earth is flat, man never went to the moon, and there are no such things as birds—the government destroyed them all and replaced them with drones to spy on us. It’s their “right” to believe these things if they so choose, but that doesn’t somehow magically make them right as many seem to believe. All beliefs are not created equal. Some have no foundation in reality.
3. To pretend choices have no consequences is foolish. Now we’ve entered the domain of Proverbs. “Fool” and “folly” are big words in this book. Combined they are used almost 100 times. The fool is the person who lives oblivious to truth. They “despise wisdom and instruction” (1:7) and “hate knowledge” (1:22). They “find no pleasure in understanding” (18:2) and “trust in themselves” (28:26).
4. It is a mark of maturity to accept the consequences of our choices. Everyone makes mistakes, everyone sins—the real issue is how do we handle it? Do we acknowledge our wrongs or try to rationalize/deny them? Proverbs tells us, “Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright” (14:9). Mature people seek forgiveness, make amends, and move forward.
5. God forgives us when we make foolish choices. “Whoever conceals their sin does not prosper, but the one who confesses them and renounces them finds mercy” (28:13). Our Father delights in showing mercy! (Micah 7:18).
6. God does not remove the consequences of our choices. God forgave David’s adultery with Bathsheba and even his murder of Uriah (2 Samuel 12:13), but the ripple of consequences wasn’t removed (v. 10, 14). Moses was forgiven for his rash words and striking the rock but was not allowed to enter the promised land (Numbers 20:12; Deuteronomy 3:23-26).
7. God does enable us to keep moving forward. With Him there’s always hope. Moses and David found ways to move on from their great disappointments because God helped them. We move on in the same manner.
Think about the apostle Paul. He came to Christ and was forgiven of the horrible things he had done in the past, but not from the consequences. That would include his own knowledge of what he had done (1 Timothy 1:15), interactions with family members and friends of his victims (see Acts 9:26ff), and we can only guess what else. But Paul moved forward. He found the strength to do so in God’s love, grace, and mercy and so can we.