I was sitting in a local hospital waiting room--well, waiting. I saw some folders labeled “Chaplain’s Message” and picked one up. The article inside was written by “Author Unknown.” He writes lots of things, you know.
The article was entitled “That’s Going to Leave a Mark.” The first paragraph is as follows.
One of the things that I heard often when growing up was this: “That’s going to leave a mark.” I tripped and scraped my knee ... “That’s going to leave a mark.” I ran into the barbed-wire fence ... “That’s going to leave a mark.” I fell from the top of a tree I was climbing ... “That’s going to leave a mark.” And those situations did, in fact, leave their marks.
I didn’t write those words, but I could have. I still bear the marks from falling out of a tree I had been told to stay out of, trying to cut a piece of wood with one of my mother’s butcher knives, throwing a claw hammer into the air and catching it with my face, and various other foolish and childish decisions.
As we journey through life, we all have scars from accidents and bad decisions. We all have done--and continue to do--things that leave their marks on ourselves and others.
Sometimes these marks are only in our bodies, but sometimes they are in our hearts and minds. Often, they affect us physically, but sometimes they also affect us mentally and even spiritually.
An important part of maturing is the ability to consider the consequences of what we do. I no longer try to juggle a claw hammer. I learned my lesson, and I still have the mark (a scar in this case) to remind me.
There are always consequences attached to actions. We are free to choose our course of action, but we are not free from what that action may bring. The Bible puts it this way. “Do not be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7).
The article I referred to earlier continued: I think of parents who fail to guide and guard their children with a clear biblical focus ... “That’s going to leave a mark.” Or, people steadily pursuing habits that distance them from an intimate walk with God ... “That’s going to leave a mark.” Or, when anger, or gossip, or bitterness arises and governs behavior, sullies life, or destroys a relationship ... “That’s going to leave a mark.”
Friends, we all have marks and we all leave marks on others. Let’s be sure to consider the consequences of what we do, say, and think before we do, say, or think it. That’s a characteristic of wisdom and maturity.