There Are Worse Things Than Getting Caught
I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked . . . Ecclesiastes 3:17
I clearly remember the first time I engaged in evil behavior to acquire pills. Because it was an appalling line I’d not previously crossed, I was immediately terrified that I’d be caught.
Then . . . nothing. I got what I wanted, and I got away with it. Had I been discovered, it would have arrested the behavior. Getting caught would have been good for me, and avoiding consequence turned out to be disastrous.
Consequence, that is not immediate, is a profound problem for the addict, who is poorly motivated by tomorrow. Tomorrow just doesn’t exist in the equation. The only thing that matters is the immediate. I want what I want, right now. I’ll deal with consequences later. Once he gets away with it, the one enslaved to any destructive behavior begins to live as if his poor choices don’t matter.
King Solomon, in today’s passage, reminds us that everything we do matters and that one day, we will answer for our behavior in this life. This is terrifying to the addict. Enslaved to our toxic appetites, we prefer to believe only in a God of love, mercy and grace. To contemplate a God that will one day demand an answer for our lives, is awful.
I’m forgiven and saved by faith, not by what I do! God can’t judge me for what he’s forgiven, right? Christ himself described a day however, in which a man will be divided, not by what he claims to believe, but by how that belief impacted his actions (Matthew 25:31-46).
When my life is examined, is it obvious that I love and follow God? Or, is it obvious that I love and follow me? Solomon reminds us that we will all stand before God one day to answer this question.
I did eventually find consequence, which was miserable, but if getting caught saved me from standing before God with nothing but a life spent pursuing me, then it was well worth it. When I finally stand before God, I now plan to do it with a life spent in pursuit of him.