Something engrained into our minds growing up was the fact that all actions, especially sin, have consequences. Sadly, we can’t pick and choose the effects of our moves or I would have received chocolate cake every time I argued with my mother instead of groundings. After an inspired lesson in my institute class, I wanted to detail some of the most commonly experienced consequences we suffer through our sins, and touch on how we can fix them.
This is typically the first consequence most of us think of when we consider acting in sinful ways. While guilt is usually assigned a negative connotation due to the anxiety and heavy feelings it brings, it is truly a gift of the Spirit. When we feel guilt, we essentially are feeling the Spirit or Light of Christ rebelling against our action. If we are discerning the feelings we have, we can feel guilt and use it to correct our actions. Guilt always points us toward repentance and the atonement of Christ. Though we usually don’t enjoy this feeling, it’s a very affective litmus test for our lives.
COMPANIONSHIP OF THE SPIRIT
When we sin, the Holy Ghost is unable to abide with us or act as a guiding influence. We lose the ability to gain personal revelation, use our specific spiritual gifts, or feel its comforting influence. Some sins and transgressions are more offensive to the Spirit than others. These sins will require more work during the repentance process before having the Spirit again. The goal of the repentance process is to bring the sinner back in line with the will of God. In doing so, the repentant soul opens themselves back up to the wonderful influence of the Holy Spirit.
Yeah, so who would have thought a consequence of sin would be actual consequences. Crazy, I know. Usually our sins come with strings attached. These strings are the temporal or spiritual consequences assigned to them. If you steal a pair of pajama jeans and Air Jordans, you will likely feel the results of a lack of spirit and some guilt. If you get caught you will also face the consequences of the law regarding stealing. If you abuse drugs, your personal health will be affected. If you abuse pornography, you run the chance of ruining relationships and becoming addicted. All of these consequences are attached to our sins. A question I hadn’t thought of until recently was how the atonement and consequences meshed. I guess many of us assume when we experience negative outcomes it is a result of not being forgiven by Heavenly Father. It is good to remember that the redeeming power of the atonement stands separate from earthly consequences. A meth head may face longterm health problems, even after fully repenting and being cleansed by the blood of Christ. The pajama jean and Air Jordan loving thief may still face jail time even after skipping the sacrament with a repentant heart. Sadly, these consequences are generally the ones that last the longest.
WITHDRAWAL OF BLESSINGS
Blessings are predicated on the Law of Obedience. When we are disobeying the commandments or breaking covenants, God is no longer bound to the contract of granting blessings. Many people who sin report a loss of certain blessings that are typically present when while living righteously. Obviously we have a loving Heavenly Father who will bless us even if we are sinners, but when we sin we lose the promise of blessings. Acting on righteousness, even when one feels like a sinner, is a great way to feel the the windows of heaven open again as they pour out blessings.
LACK OF PROGRESS
Every time we sin, we stunt or stop our spiritual growth. The severity and duration of our sins can determine the length of our detour. When we sin we lose light and knowledge, which are obviously necessary for progression. Severe sins and consequences can have lasting effects on the sinner and their family. A family member of mine was excommunicated long ago. When that person finally made their way back, they were astonished to realize how much light and knowledge they had lost in that span of time. Their progression had stopped and receded. Feasting on the Words of Christ and avoiding sin is the only sure way to maintain progress we make on Earth.
Sin is honestly like the worst thing in the world. I hate it, but I know I am going to do it again. When we acknowledge the consequences of sin, we become more aware of the effects our choices truly have on us. Pairing this enlightenment with the counsel of our prophets and apostles, and scripture study and prayer, we can make good choices whose consequences come in the form of blessings being showered on us from heaven.