Consequences Matter

Recently, as one of our grandsons played with a water gun while taking a bath, he sprayed the bathroom wall as well as the floor. Our daughter warned that if he did it again, she would take the water gun away from him. When he didn’t stop, she followed through, taking the water gun. The resulting tears were coupled with a pronouncement, “Mommy, you are definitely fired!”

While we laughed at his reaction, in a world where actions often do not have consequences, or the consequences are not restrictive enough to matter, I’m glad our daughter is teaching her son that pushing the limits produces a negative result.

Following are reasons consequences matter:

Establishing Boundaries

In Robert Frost’s poem, “Mending Wall,” the phrase “fences make good neighbors” appears twice. On the surface, the idea of marking a boundary line between neighbors seems somewhat cold, offensive, and unfriendly, but the gist of the poem is respect for each other’s property.

Many people view boundaries as restrictive and strive to press beyond them. However, without boundaries, we flounder, get ourselves into trouble, or allow others to use and abuse us. Establishing boundaries provides safety, especially for children and pre-adults.

Maintaining boundaries in relationships signals respect. Those who push boundaries early in life will likely continue to do so. With that lifestyle of overstepping come consequences that potentially ruin relationships and result in ongoing turmoil.

Consequences Teach

Consequences are the result of ill-thought-out choices and disobedience. God instituted ramifications for disobedience in Genesis and we still experience them today. If poor choices have no consequences, we continue to choose unwisely.

It’s expected that it takes repeated consequences for children to realize the rewards of obedience, but what of adults? Sometimes, we wear blinders to the unwelcome outcomes our decisions produce. Lack of discipline in multiple areas brings consequences, yet we often deny that our actions are responsible. Honest self-evaluation and a willingness to alter actions are the keys to learning from consequences.

Your Actions Affect Others

Several times a month, I see someone walking the streets, living “rough,” who grew up in our neighborhood. It saddens me and tears at my heart because this person is a slave to addiction. I think of the family, all they did to help overcome, and the anguish they must experience. The consequences of actions reach beyond the individual, wound others, and halt forward motion.

Often, those who do not experience consequences become self-focused. They care nothing for the undeserved results their actions inflict on others. But the choices we make impact others.

Rewards Come with Self-Control

Anyone who has attempted weight loss knows self-control isn’t easy or fun. Self-control requires self-discipline and the ability to push beyond right now in favor of future rewards.

Self-control is an unpopular concept. Our self-nature predisposes us toward the desire to do what we want, when we want. Selfishness says, “my way,” but relationships, thoughtfulness, and potential consequences are reminders that it’s not all about you.

Conversely, self-control involves wisdom, forethought, and a forward-looking perspective. How will my actions affect not only me, but others?

Consequences teach, if we are willing to learn. Self-control rewards us with peace and purpose.

“It is never fun to be corrected. In fact, at the time it is always painful. But if we learn to obey by being corrected, we will do right and live at peace” (Hebrews 12:11 CEV).


Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving through, and beyond, difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including:,,,,, Focus on the Family,,, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well (Bold Vision Books), When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).

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