Reaping What They Sow - The Natural Consequences Of Bad Behavior
REAPING WHAT THEY SOW- THE NATURAL CONSEQUENCES OF BAD BEHAVIOR
By Sister Renee
DO NOT BE DECEIVED. GOD IS NOT MOCKED; FOR WHATEVER A MAN SOWS, THAT HE WILL ALSO REAP.……Galatians 6:7 NKJV
"THE DAY OF THE LORD IS NEAR FOR ALL NATIONS. AS YOU HAVE DONE, IT WILL BE DONE TO YOU; YOUR DEEDS WILL RETURN UPON YOUR OWN HEAD"....Obadiah 15 NIV.
If you should find it necessary to rebuke an abusive family member, or worse, to be put in the very painful position of having to limit or avoid contact with a relative, you are likely to get a strange response from other people. They will say things like, “Oh that’s too bad- now your brother won’t have his family”, “How awful-now your parents won’t get to see their grandchildren (You may hear this even if your parents chose to disown you ! ), or “Awww, now they’ll be alone in their old age.” I am especially puzzled by comments such as, “Oh, that’s sad- now your sister has nobody”, as if providing your sister with people in her life, or making sure she isn’t alone, no matter how she acts, is somehow your responsibility!
I look at such remarks as an opportunity to educate people about NATURAL CONSEQUENCES. A Natural Consequence is something that a normal person could reasonably expect to be the result of a particular action. It is no surprise that abusive, controlling, disloyal, or uncaring people are unpopular. Unpopularity is a natural result of that type of behavior. It is exactly what you would expect. Anything else would be strange and unnatural.
If your brother, for instance, is controlling, manipulative, critical, judgmental, disloyal, selfish, jealous, hostile, or generally unpleasant to be around, chances are he has problems in all his relationships, not just with you. Most relatives will keep him at arm’s length, he’ll be disliked by his co-workers, and people will avoid him in droves. Or if your sister never extends herself to do her share of maintaining close, loving, caring relationships, chances are she won’t have very many close relationships to worry about. She’ll have few, if any, friends, and almost no family members who are willing to assume all of the responsibility for a one-way relationship. These are examples of the NATURAL CONSEQUENCES of your brother’s or sister’s behavior.
God does not expect anyone to continue to allow themselves to be victimized indefinitely. In Matthew 18:15-17, Jesus gives us a model for rebuking a few times, and then shunning an offender who still refuses to change his ways. In Titus 3:10, we are instructed to 'Warn a divisive person once, then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him.'
Conversely, if your sibling is warm, loving, considerate, respectful, thoughtful, and sweet-natured, people will flock to him or her. If he has a good attitude and knows how to listen, empathize with, encourage, and help others, many will enjoy his company and consider him a joy to be around. He will have plenty of friends and people who love him. He would never be lonely or alone. People who do the right thing and carry their share of a friendship have many friendships. The same holds true of family relationships. This, too, is a Natural Consequence- but it is a Natural Consequence of good behavior, a pleasant disposition, positive actions, and loving others.
I was never a psychologist, but, many years ago, I was a dog-trainer. I know that even a dog learns to modify his behavior if it consistently results in undesired consequences for him. If he needs help modifying his behavior, he goes to the trainer! Likewise, if a person needs help modifying his behavior because it consistently results in negative consequences for him, he can choose to go into therapy.
If an offensive person doesn’t take the responsibility for changing his destructive behavior, one can assume that he is perfectly happy with the results, even though he may complain or use a negative consequence to engender sympathy for himself. While he may make a public spectacle of wallowing in self-pity, if an abuser remains unrepentant, the fact is that he just doesn’t consider the Natural Consequences caused by his actions to be all that bad- certainly not bad enough for him to do anything constructive about. When, and if, the Natural Consequences become important enough or damaging enough to him, he will change what he is doing.
When I began taking a stand against my birth-father’s abuse, my mother, who had complained about his abusive behavior toward her all of my life, actually told me that I was the only one who had a problem with him. She had no answer for me, however, when I pointed out to her what I like to call the “Revolving Door of Relationships” which had been the pattern in our family life since my childhood. I reminded her of the parade of friends, neighbors, relatives, business associates, college buddies, etc, both hers and my father’s, all gone over the years. Sometimes there would be a falling out, sometimes the other couple would start being “too busy” to socialize with my parents, sometimes friends would just stop calling or returning calls. As a child, I had a long list of “aunts and uncles” - not blood, but close enough to my parents for me to address them in that way- who all mysteriously evaporated, one-by-one. My parents had only a couple of relatives left who still associated with them- only my father’s sister and her two daughters, who showed approval of my father’s behavior, and stopped speaking to me when I stood up to him. (I chalk those up to “Birds of a feather…”)
My birth-father, like many abusers, could put on a very good front when among strangers. He would act polite, even-tempered, and humorous around new people. He would control himself at first, faking niceness until he began to feel secure in the relationship. But he couldn’t keep it up forever. Eventually his true self would come out, and the relationship would suddenly end.
I was not the “only one who had a problem with him.” I may have been the only one who actually said something instead of just disappearing (although I do have memories of some others saying something as well, before they disappeared).But I was not the only one who objected to his behavior- I was the only one who cared enough to try to remedy the situation before giving up.
If you yell at your boss, you can expect to be fired. If you don’t bother studying for a test, you can expect to fail.. If you have unprotected sex with a variety of partners, you can’t claim to be surprised when you get pregnant or contract a disease. If you walk up to a baby grizzly bear in the woods , most likely the mother will kill you.. If you treat people, even those who love you, with disrespect and contempt, you can expect to drive them away. These are the Natural Consequences of your actions. Acting surprised when a Natural Consequence results from one’s behavior only makes one look ignorant.
Natural Consequences can be a learning experience- but only for those who want to learn. If an abuser chooses to make amends and change his hurtful behavior, he stands a good chance of restoring his relationships. If he chooses to harden his heart and continues treating others poorly and driving them away, it is in the natural order of things that he should spend his life alone. That is justice- and a much better and more righteous solution than his victims having to spend their lives suffering because of him. Natural Consequences are God’s way of leading sinners to repentance, and they are a manifestation of God’s justice for the unrepentant. I THE LORD SEARCH THE HEART AND EXAMINE THE MIND, TO REWARD A MAN ACCORDING TO HIS CONDUCT, ACCORDING TO WHAT HIS DEEDS DESERVE….Jeremiah
For more reading on a related topic, see our article "Should I Let My Estranged Relatives Have Contact WIth My Children?"
The Book of Proverbs, is a treasure-trove of examples of Natural Consequences, both good and bad. It is very short and easy to read. I recommend studying the entire Book of Proverbs to obtain a Biblical understanding of Natural Consequences.
HE WHO BRINGS TROUBLE ON HIS OWN HOUSE WILL INHERIT ONLY THE WIND….Proverbs NKJV
HE WHO SOWS WICKEDNESS REAPS TROUBLE…..Proverbs 22:8 NIV
A HOT TEMPERED MAN MUST PAY THE PENALTY; IF YOU RESCUE HIM, YOU WILL HAVE TO DO IT AGAIN,,,,,. Proverbs NIV
IF A MAN PAYS BACK EVIL FOR GOOD, EVIL WILL NEVER LEAVE HIS HOUSE....Proverbs 17: 13 NIV
BE SURE OF THIS: THE WICKED WILL NOT GO UNPUNISHED, BUT THOSE WHO ARE RIGHTEOUS WILL GO FREE….Proverbs NIV
HOW USELESS TO SPREAD A NET IN FULL VIEW OF ALL THE BIRDS! THESE MEN LIE IN WAIT FOR THEIR OWN BLOOD; THEY WAYLAY ONLY THEMSELVES!.....Proverbs -18 NIV
A MAN’S OWN FOLLY RUINS HIS LIFE, YET HIS HEART RAGES AGAINST THE LORD….Proverbs 19:3NIV
DO NOT MAKE FRIENDS WITH A HOT-TEMPERED MAN, DO NOT ASSOCIATE WITH ONE EASILY ANGERED…Proverbs 22:24NIV
WHOEVER DIGS A PIT, WILL FALL INTO IT; AND HE WHO ROLLS A STONE WILL HAVE IT ROLL BACK ON HIM…. Proverbs 26:27NKJV
THE INTEGRITY OF THE UPRIGHT WILL GUIDE THEM, BUT THE PERVERSITY OF THE UNFAITHFUL WILL DESTROY THEM….Proverbs 11:3 NKJV
HE WHO IS OFTEN REBUKED, AND HARDENS HIS NECK, WILL SUDDENLY BE DESTROYED, AND THAT WITHOUT REMEDY…….Proverbs 29:1 NKJV
AN EVIL MAN IS SNARED BY HIS OWN SIN, BUT A RIGHTEOUS ONE CAN SING AND BE GLAD…..Proverbs 29: 6 NIV
HE WHO PURSUES RIGHTEOUSNESS AND LOVE FINDS LIFE, PROSPERITY, AND HONOR….Proverbs
Our God is righteous and just! His wisdom and judgments are infallible! Give praise to his holy name!
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The Lord specifically called Sister Renee to minister to Adult Children, not their parents, estranged siblings or friends, abusive or abused spouses, or victims of other types of abuse, although what we write here can often be meaningful for those folks as well. Because of this, our ministry and website have a narrow focus which we will not be changing. We simply can't cover everything. In addition, it is not our purpose to help you re-establish contact with someone who felt it was necessary to cut you off for the sake of their own well-being. We do not keep a list of resources for estranged parents or any other type of abuse and suggest if you are sincerely interested in making amends with an estranged relative, you do an internet search for a website or group that will be more relevant to you. If you cannot find a group or site that you can relate to, we suggest you start your own, and bless other people in your position as well as find support for your personal issues.
For Adult Children and others as well, please understand that we cannot give you personal advice concerning your particular family relationships. We are not therapists or lawyers, we usually do not have enough information to form an opinion, and time does not permit us to give enough thought to each person's individual situation to do it justice. If you need personal advice, we urge you to contact the appropriate professional, depending on the problem you have- your minister, therapist, attorney, police department, local domestic violence hotline, etc. In reading this site, you acknowledge that nothing you might read here qualifies as or substitutes for professional advice. Please note we cannot recommend or refer you to a counselor and we do not have a list of therapists or recovery groups in your area. The only Counselor we recommend is the Holy Ghost, and we encourage you to read the Bible and learn for yourself what the Lord says about the issues we write about.
Our articles are strictly our personal opinions and testimonies and are not intended to give or offer any advice. All who access this site do so with the understanding that we are NOT professional counselors and we strongly recommend that you discuss your individual situation with your pastor or therapist and pray for the Lord's guidance before acting on anything we write on this site. Unfortunately, the abuse we discuss is all too common, inflicted on countless victims by countless perpetrators. All names and identifying details in our articles have been changed to protect the innocent as well as the guilty. Any resemblance to a real person or persons whom you might know is strictly coincidental.