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UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES 

The heavens belong to God and the earth is entrusted to the ways of human beings - Psalm 115.         

The words may be poetic, but the meaning transcends the words. The ways of human beings are, by definition, chaotic, haphazard and filled with surprise. People's actions surprise us every day. But in addition to our actions there is also something called unintended consequences. It is a law of the universe that actions have reactions and reactions have additional reactions. What we say and do unleashes a series of consequences that we cannot always foresee.          

True story. In Georgia a man was hunting an armadillo. Why was he hunting an armadillo? It is a mystery of the universe. But the cold hard reality remains - he was hot on the trail of an armadillo. When the hunter finally caught up with his prey, he took aim and squeezed the trigger. The bullet ricocheted off the animal's armor like hide and hit a fence. The bullet pierced the fence as well as the back door of someone's trailer. In what seems to be a twilight zone episode, the bullet found the trailer that belonged to the shooter's mother in law! The bullet pierced the wall of the trailer and hit the arm of a rocking chair.          

Guess who was seated in the rocking chair and minding her own business? Yes it was the mother in law herself! This Superman like bullet wasn't finished. It not only pierced the wall of the trailer and hit the arm of the rocking chair, but that bullet also made its way through the rocking chair arm and into the back of the mother in law.

And now comes the million dollar question.   How would you like to have been that son-in-law? I suppose this poor son in law can now claim that he shot his own mother in law and got away with it! By the way, the mother in law did recover. It's just that shooting her in the back may not have been the best way to her heart. But that's why we call them, "unintended consequences."          

Unintended consequences happen not only when you hunt armadillos.

Unintended consequences are facts of life. All we can do is think before we speak and do and react to the unintended consequences in a calm and thoughtful fashion. So think about the last time you said and did something that triggered something you could not possibly have foreseen.

"The heavens belong to God and the earth is entrusted to the ways of human beings." Translation - the ways of human beings are filled with the chaotic reality of unintended consequences. You cannot avoid unintended consequences.  All you can do is think carefully before you speak and act and even then unintended consequences may come your way. When those moments unfold before you, trust your instincts, trust your judgment, trust your faith and leave the rest in God's hands. "The heavens belong to God and the earth is entrusted to the ways of human beings."