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Robert Louis Stevenson once said, “Sooner or later, everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.”

And this is precisely why it is always so corrosive to a person, to a community, and to society, to blindly chart a course of actions that ignore the consequences of our choices. Truth be told, the ignoring of consequences or the attempts to avoid or mitigate consequences to “free” me to do whatever I want without having to “pay the piper,” is the root of most of our human stumbles. And the reason we so easily become addicted to our “feelings” and to medicating our pain!

All our immaturity in honestly dealing with the consequences of our choices flows from that subtle lying to ourselves.

Look at our lesson today in Proverbs 1:20-33:

Wisdom cries aloud in the street; in the markets she raises her voice; on the top of the walls she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks: “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?

Give heed to my reproof; behold, I will pour out my thoughts to you; I will make my words known to you.

Because I have called and you refused to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded, and you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when panic strikes you, when panic strikes you like a storm, and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you.

Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me.

Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord, would have none of my counsel, and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way and be sated with their own devices.

For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacence of fools destroys them; but he who listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of evil.”

King Solomon gives us a powerful invitation to stop ignoring wisdom and embrace the clear and mature path of life, based on honest living and honest dealing with our consequences. The last section of the lesson sums it all up: “For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacence of fools destroys them; but he who listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of evil.”

The ones who are “simple” or willfully uninformed are the ones who “die” because of their chosen ignorance and even those who know better but carelessly ignore the wisdom they already know are destroyed by their carelessness and inattentiveness. That’s why wisdom isn’t merely having knowledge of facts. It is the soul formation that allows you the freedom to choose well in any given situation. When you choose based on inattentive selfishness, you always end up destroying rather than building.

No wonder the disciplines of the faith call us to this season of Great Lent where honest confession: “I have sinned, O Lord;” honest repentance: “Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me;” and honest practice: “O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of …” all work together to re-orient my life toward honest repentance AND insight into how to stop making the same mistakes over and over again. The whole purpose of Great Lent is to turn my life toward this mature embrace of responsibility, to purge the lie that God is somehow my enemy, and that my courageous embrace of God’s wisdom will correct the path of my life and lead me to peace. And to finally escape the dead-end of shame that the evil one uses against me to keep me from this sober maturity! If God is not ashamed of me, and if He loves me, then for me to hold onto shame that keeps me enslaved to despondency and addiction is really idolatry – the worship of myself rather than the God Who loves me!

Today, don’t you want peace in your life? Don’t you want to live wisely and with purpose? Great Lent offers you all you need to actually enter into that kind of life. With courage, enter in and be Orthodox on Purpose!

P.S. O Lord and Master of my life! Take from me the spirit of sloth, faint-heartedness, lust of power, and idle talk. (Prostration) But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Your servant. (Prostration) Yes, Lord and King! Grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brother, for You are blessed unto ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)

1 Comment

  • Yvette Cathers
    Posted March 13, 2022 at 5:04 pm

    Very good post. Yes, we’re a few generations into being people who fully expect consequences to get out of our way. Insanity.

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