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Action, Reaction, Principles, & Math

June 3rd, 2009

Focus Passage: Proverbs 14: 14 (NLT)

 14 Backsliders get what they deserve;
      good people receive their reward. 


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

No one likes to think about it, but it affects us all each and everyday.  The “it” in question?  That would be the direct correlation between our actions and life’s subsequent reactions.  Action and reaction are abundantly found in every aspect of creation and living.

Close your eyes while sprinting through the woods . . . find yourself sitting in the emergency room.  Ignore that pesky fuel light on your dashboard . . . take a walk down the interstate in the rain.  Put money aside every week for thirty years . . . retire a millionaire earlier than you expected.  Ask a police officer to borrow his gun . . . wake up in the county lock-up with a headache and a rap sheet.

It’s truly remarkable how this principle plays out in every aspect of life.  I say “principle” because, as Andy Stanley says, a principle is true whether you realize it or not.  In other words, a host of humanity is seemingly oblivious to the fact that their actions directly cause other actions to be directed back toward them . . . yet the principle continues to occur.

Hey, feed my daughter a full bottle without burping her and then hold her above your head and play the “throw you up in the air” game . . . in this case, the “throw up” will produce “throw up.”  Don’t turn away in reader’s disgust at my use of this illustration; this principle often produces unfortunate results that are altogether repulsive.

The consequences (oooh, I’ve been trying to avoid that word) of our actions will always make their appearance.  Plant tomato seeds; reap tomatoes.  Plant apple seeds; reap apples.  Plant forgiveness; reap forgiveness.  Plant a lack of self-control; reap uncontrollable trouble upon yourself.  Plant the refusal to forgive others; reap a refusal to be forgiven.

Some would just call it simple math.  As a former math teacher, I can attest to the beauty of an algebraic equation.  The beauty comes from the fact that every time a value is correctly plugged into an equation, a predictable solution will emerge.  Sure, there are variables . . . but the standards are what keep everything . . . well, standard.

Consequences are standard too, and not just the negative ones.  Exercise produces better fitness.  Communication produces healthier marriages.  Self-discipline produces fatter wallets and thinner waistlines.

As this passage points out, “Backsliders get what they deserve; good people receive their reward.”  Yikes!  A “not-so-fun” proverbial aphorism at first glance.  However, we mustn’t judge scripture for being judgmental when it simply points out a principle that is played out in seemingly every facet of daily life.  

We shouldn’t get mad; we should get wise!  If we “slide backward” away from what we know to be true, then we leave the positives that were directly in front of us before.  Sliding back moves us away from our previous position . . . rocket science?   Maybe on Planet Moron, but not here on earth.

Similarly, being rewarded for doing good is also a predictable consequence.  You can’t always predict the “when” of this reward, but the “what” is a sure thing.  It’s coming; just keep planting.

Actions.  Reactions.  Principles.  Consequences.  It’s just all simple math . . . spiritually, of course.


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