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    A preacher who lived in the late 1800’s and into the early 1900’s once said:
    “This is the bitterest of all--to know that suffering need not have been; that it has resulted from indiscretion and inconsistency; that it is the harvest of one's own sowing; that the vulture which feeds on the vitals is a nestling of one's own rearing. Ah me! This is pain! There is an inevitable Nemesis in life. The laws of the heart and home, of the soul and human life, cannot be violated with impunity. Sin may be forgiven; the fire of penalty may be changed into the fire of trial: the love of God may seem nearer and dearer than ever and yet there is the awful pressure of pain; the trembling heart; the failing of eyes and pining of soul; the harp on the willows; the refusal of the lip to sing the Lord's song.”

    Sometimes we don’t consider the cost of sin. Sometimes we don’t consider the lasting pain that sin will bring that can linger long after forgiveness is granted. We can be forgiven for losing our temper towards a friend and that friend might forgive us, yet the consequences of that sin might take years to rebuild. We can be forgiven for the sins that our children see us commit, yet the consequences of that might be that our kids follow the same path of sin that they saw us once go down. We can be forgiven for abusing alcohol, yet the consequences we might live with might be health issues that follow us for the rest of our lives.

    Sin can cause great pain and struggles for years after the sin is forgiven. The consequences of sin can sometimes follow us for the rest of our lives. There are some things that we need to take away from this.
    Consequences do not equal condemnation. The sin was wrong and the sin led to consequences. Yet the remaining consequences do not mean that we have not been forgiven of that sin. We can be forgiven of sin and 100% right with God and still have to suffer through the consequences of sins that we have committed.
    Consequences are not God’s fault. Every action we take comes with consequences. Sin often comes with difficult or bad consequences. Often times the struggles that we face in life are there because of actions we have taken. Often our greatest struggles could have been avoided if we had just lived our life the way God commanded to start with.

    Consequences should lead us to consider the sins we are tempted with. We should use those consequences to think through the struggles, the pain, the heartache, and the lasting problems that we will face and avoid the sin. Consequences can be a great motivator to help us flee from the sin that so often tempts us.

    As long as we live on this world, temptations are going to be a struggle. As long as we are trying to do what is right, Satan is going to tempt us to do wrong. Yet we can do right. We can flee the temptations that we struggle with. We can draw nigh to God and be cleansed by Him (James 4:7). Consequences of past sins may still haunt us, but we will know that we are eternally forgiven and the wages of those sins have been lifted.

    James 4:7-8 says, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded."