If a petulant child throws a fit and disrupts the big family dinner, kicking and screaming, breaking dishes and so forth… and the parents pull him aside to discipline him… would you say that the parents are dividing the family? Or would you say it's actually in the best interest of the family to stop the bad behavior from continuing?
Consequences are a necessary part of distinguishing what is acceptable from what is not. They are the natural results of one’s behavior — sometimes good, sometimes bad.
The ramifications of negative actions have the capability to teach us, and those around us, lessons we might not learn quite as well otherwise. And if we have any potential for wisdom, we’ll take whatever nugget of grace may be offered in such situations to grow, to take responsibility for our deeds, and to do better going forward.
As we move through this process, ultimately living our amends with sincerity, we have a chance of reuniting with those we have hurt. The petulant child gets to return to the table after he demonstrates he can behave properly at dinnertime.
When I hear elected officials declare that consequences aren’t necessary after a serious wrong has been done, I am dismayed. When I hear them say consequences will only divide our country more, I am baffled. It seems so obvious and simple to me that real unification is only attainable through accountability, reparation, and restoration.
While we cannot force anyone to deal with their consequences in a healthy way, we can take this time to recommit to our own awareness of such things. We can mature in our understanding of the ripple affect of each individual life. We can be quicker to clean up our own messes when we make them, seeking forgiveness and, if we are fortunate, the amazing gift of real reconciliation.
May you be inspired!