The Easy Way Out isn’t So Easy in the End
The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death. Revelation 21:7-8
Early in college, I had no plan to go to medical school. When I thought of how many years of work that would be, I just had no interest. It’s my natural tendency to put in as little effort as possible to get by. Medical school didn’t fit with that. Fortunately, I soon realized halfway that I enjoyed school. What, after all, was my alternative to more education? When I graduated from college, I was going to have to go get a job, which I assumed was going to be hard work. So, I realized, I might as well stay in school as long as I could, even if it was hard work, so that I could enter a career that I truly enjoyed. Looking back, it was hard work, but I’m far more satisfied now than if I’d taken the easy way out at the time. Put in that perspective, the easy way out would have been the more miserable choice in the long run.
It was the same in my addiction. I knew I needed to go to treatment, but that would have been profoundly disruptive to my life. I had a job. I had a family. I couldn’t just go to treatment for a couple months. So, I refused to get help. I did the cowardly thing, staying stuck in my addiction, which eventually tore my life apart in such a manner that I had to go to treatment anyway. Looking back now, I can see that getting sober has been hard work. Remaining in my drug addiction, though it was the easier thing at the time, was a far more miserable path in the end. Yes, recovery is hard and requires ongoing effort, but there’s simply no comparison to how much better a life it is than active addiction.
In today’s passage, John said that we all face a similar choice. Though it may not involve drug use, we all have the option to be cowards or conquerors. The coward follows his natural self-destructive nature, and in the end, follows himself to hell. The conqueror though, doesn’t take the easy way out. Instead, he puts in the daily work of abandoning himself to follow God, thereby inheriting eternal life. It may require more effort now, but the reward, in this life and the next, is far more than worth it. The easy way out isn’t so easy in the end.