I think it’s safe to say that, in most instances, a person who sins isn’t thinking about the long term repercussions of that evil action. In spite of this, sins, as well as good deeds, can have far reaching effects on who we are.
When I was in high school, my youth minister, Steve, and I paid a visit to the local bagel shop. The girl behind the counter took our order and stepped away to get it started. It was while she was away that the man in front of us turned around and, referring to the waitress, made one of the most profane, sexual remarks I have ever heard. I was so disgusted that I didn’t even want to eat my delicious-looking bagel. It is doubtful that a man without a history of sexual purity problems would make such an overtly vulgar remark. The question is, when he began his sexual sin, did he think he would end up thinking of people this way? or even making remarks like this to complete strangers?
A friend of mine visited family in Cuba. A friend of the family’s was a prison manager and took my friend and his dad for a tour of the facility. They came to a walkway that overlooked an inmate, curled up on a table in obviously terrible discomfort. It was explained to my friend that the man was addicted to cocaine and suffered severe withdrawals, making him willing to do anything for more. The prison employee shouted down to the man that if he ate a few handfuls of the dirt and filth off the floor, he would be provided with a small amount of cocaine. The prisoner ravaged the floor immediately while my friend looked on in speechless astonishment. The prison employee laughed and walked away, leading the tour elsewhere. During the first occasion of taking drugs, did this prisoner think that he would end up eating filth for the mere promise of another hit?
We often do not consider how our actions, good or bad, will affect who we are and the people we will eventually become. I used to hold rather tightly to the idea that habits of prayer or sinfulness I performed would bear good or bad fruit in two weeks. While that short time later was when the effects of my actions became evident, the seeds were always planted that would sway the growth of the person I was to eventually become. It is important to see ourselves, not only for who we are at the present moment, but also for who we will be in the time to come.