“And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.” (Genesis 4:10–12, ESV)
“Now you are cursed.” Perhaps one of the greatest misunderstandings within some branches of Christianity today is the idea of consequences. While we all hold to the enormous kindness of God’s grace, the application of that gift often gets murky and, well, just plain wrong, many times.
An illustration I often use when speaking of God’s grace goes like this: “Can you get God’s forgiveness if you get drunk?” The answer, of course, is, “Yes!” Then I ask, “Can you get God’s forgiveness if you get drunk and wander out into the street?” And again, the answer is, “Yes, of course!” A final question clarifies the issue we are talking about here when I ask, “Do you get the leg back after the truck runs over you while you were drunk wandering in the street, even though you received His forgiveness?” And the answer to that question is, resoundingly, “No. We don’t.”
Consequences are the things God places in our lives to remind us that His ways are better than ours. With the curse of Cain came three permanent realities: The ground would no longer yield its strength. He would be a fugitive on the earth. And, he would be a wanderer on the earth.
With sin comes change. And those changes are most unpleasant. Grace will not erase what God has decreed and determined. So, if you are in a self-imposed situation because of your sin, the first thing that needs to happen is repentance. Turn around. Look up. Cry out to Jesus. Plead for His mercy. His mercy withholds from us what we do horribly deserve. He will forgive. He will restore you to Himself.
Then, we must change the direction of our lives by choosing God’s ways instead of venting, raging, yelling, and throwing a temper tantrum on others. Turn your pain into gain today. Turn to Jesus.
Turn-Around Tuesdays are designed to bring hope and help, insight and encouragement to those of us who are simply overwhelmed by the flood of problems life throws at us. No one is immune to trials and troubles, but God has a way of lifting us from life’s torrents. Each short thought is written by Dr. Matthew Lee Smith, Executive Director of Eagles In Leadership, and comes from his life-journey with the God who never leaves us or forsakes us. He welcomes your comments below.