Tag Archives: foolishness

FOOLISH CHOICES AND SUFFERING – CAUSES OF SUFFERING #4

Have you ever wondered if your problems, or even your suffering, stem from foolish choices? We’re just coming out of two days of ice pellets and freezing rain. Life ground to a frozen halt. It would have been foolish to venture out and chance getting a broken leg.

Choices are important. I agonize over decisions, especially big decisions like whether to move to another house or what kind of car to buy. That’s not to say that I take long over the choice of what brand of toothpaste or shampoo to buy or whether to plant petunias or pansies in the garden.

But too often I allow price to determine my choices rather than quality. I once bought a pair of attractive loafers because they were half price. They were a bit tight, but so desirable. That purchase doomed me to pinched toes until I gave up. I could give other illustrations but they would be too embarrassing.

Even when I determine to balance quality against price, it’s not always easy to make a good choice in our media-saturated world. One report lists butter as harmful to our arteries. Another labels margarine as a dangerous culprit. Or take coffee, or chocolate. How do we navigate through all the shoals that we’re told can shipwreck our lifeboat?

Doubtless, bad choices can lead to great harm. And some of those bad choices are clear. Smoking. Overeating. Taking addictive drugs. Avoiding exercise. A steady diet of high calorie fast-foods. Too much sugar. Pornography. Sleeping with prostitutes. Drunkenness. The list is long; the effects devastating in terms of ill health, lost jobs and broken relationships.

Many of our bad choices lead to long-term suffering, or at least, suffering that catches up with us as we age. Why do we choose things we know will be harmful? Often, it’s to find immediate pleasure through gratifying a craving. Dare I say it, lust banishes reason? Donuts and cookies and mega-burgers taste so good! Indulge. Enjoy right now. Personally, I don’t think there is anything wrong with an occasional indulgence but the danger occurs when indulgence becomes a habit.

The danger is magnified when the indulgence breaks one of God’s commandments. Outbursts of anger can not only shatter relationships, but, as Jesus said, even lead to murder. One pilfered item from a warehouse or an act of cheating can encourage a lifestyle of dishonesty that ultimately ends in incarceration. Envy or jealousy indulged can foster lifelong discontent. One act of adultery might ruin a marriage or promote a careless approach to marital fidelity or lead to catching a sexually transmitted disease.

So why is there suffering in the world? Much of it is caused by human foolishness, indulgence, sinfulness and ignorance. We would be wise to re-read the book of Proverbs often. “He who speaks rashly will come to ruin. The sluggard craves and gets nothing…Dishonest money dwindles away…”(Prov. 13:3b, 4a, 11a).

Fortunately, God is a forgiving God. There is no sin, no matter how grave, that He will not forgive if one but bows in repentance and faith to Jesus Christ, God’s Son. “His blood can make the foulest clean.” Forgiveness, however, does not necessarily deliver us from the practical consequences of our sins. The forgiven smoker will still have damaged lungs. The forgiven murderer will still have to finish out his jail sentence. The indulgent eater who is forgiven may still have clogged arteries.

Let’s not blame God for the suffering we cause. Instead let’s make wise and godly choices. Let me know what you think about this issue.

(Further articles, books, and stories at: http://www.countrywindow.ca Facebook: Eric E Wright Twitter: @EricEWright1 LinkedIn: Eric Wright )

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Uncommon Sense

Animals often display amazing ingenuity. Industrious ants build their colonies everywhere. They even farm aphids on the tender twigs of our cherry tree—not something I welcome.

 

 Hummingbirds buzz us in the early spring to remind us to put out their feeder. What instinct leads them, and other birds, back to the same territory year after year? And where do they learn to hover like that?

 This spring I admired the craftsmanship that went into the wood duck’s nest under the sheltering branches of the little cedar tree in our woods. And the nest building skill of a pair of blue jays had me going back often to the window to catch up on progress.

 So-called dumb animals fare well in biblical literature. “Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer; coneys are creatures of little power, yet they make their home in the crags; locusts have no king, yet they advance together in ranks” (Prov. 30:25-27).

 By contrast the prophets often fault humans for their foolishness. “Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements of the Lord” (Jer. 8:7).

 Animals instinctively know how important it is to conform their lives to the laws of nature, while humans tend to think they can break God’s moral laws without consequence. No wonder the prophets lament our tendency toward foolishness and rebellion. “The ox knows his master, the donkey his owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand” (Is. 1:3).

 What else but foolishness leads a couple—or a nation—to spend more than they earn? Why else do humans inject and snort and drink poisons that ruin their health and shorten their life? Why do men and women think they can find love by cheating on their covenant partner? After reaping the bitter lessons of untold wars, why do nations continue to settle their disputes on the battlefield? Why do we demand a reduction in our taxes and an increase in services? Examples can be multiplied ad infinitum.

 Wisdom is in short supply while foolishness multiplies. We should heed the advice of the prophet and learn from dumb animals of conform our lives to the moral laws of the God. Foolish, immoral actions have lasting moral consequences.