Four questions that need to be answered

There are four questions that every person ought to ask themselves before engaging in any activity or behavior, but so often don’t. If one takes enough time to stop and think before doing anything, these four questions might stop a lot of heartache before it ever starts.
1. Is it beneficial?
2. Is it addictive?
3. Does it harm others or myself?
4. Does it glorify God?

1. Is it beneficial?
It seems like astrange question to ask in this “if it feels good, do it”-culture, but to look at the benefits of an activity or behavior and weigh it in the scales of risk/reward truly has benefits. The government requires tobacco and alcohol marketers to place warnings on their products, but so many of the activities which can do the most harm, those which are deeply personal just have no way of sticking those labels. They seem harmless, but the most harmless looking thing can be the most dangerous.

2. Is it addictive?
Any behavior can become addictive, and most people just don’t realize it. When something begins to occupy our thoughts or our finances, that is the tip-off, but even the most innocent activity can become addictive, destructively addictive. Again it is the matter of taking careful examination of the facts at hand to measure the outcomes.

3. Does it harm others or myself?
Probably one of the most common arguments supporting most types of questionable behavior is “who am I hurting?” For some reason, that I have yet to fathom, most likely human short-sightedness, people often overlook themselves as the person who is getting hurt. This is most likely because humans are bent toward self-destruction. We love to talk about the human tendency toward self-preservation, but we overlook the fact that humans are, in fact, more prone to destroy themselves. So the answer to that question, in light of the facts of readily available research, when it is asked, is that “you are hurting yourself.”

4. Does it glorify God?
Now, someone is probably asking, “now why did you have to go and interject religion into this?” Most people will get to that point, throw their hands up and discount everything else said. But stay with me for a second. If there is a God, and this God was interested enough to start the process that eventually brought you into fruition, and this God has established certain limits to guarantee that your life and mine would be, if we stay in those lines, happy, free, and safe, is that not a proper question to ask? If God’s ultimate glory is in our response to every thing that he has done for our benefit, our response to that ought to be to not act in a reckless manner with our life. Even if you don’t believe that there is a God, even in the face of the good arguments for His existence, to not live recklessly should be good advice.

I just want to mention something, something I’ve been noticing. Most people seem to turn to reckless pleasure-seeking in order to avoid pain, but wind up encountering it anyway. There’s a funny thing about pain, something that I’ve noticed over the years, especially having lived with tremendous physical pain: pain eventually subsides, you find that eventually it becomes numb, your body learns to overlook pain. The same is true with emotional pain, if you deal with it up front, the pain becomes less noticeable if you deal with it. The main problem that I have seen in having dealt with friends and family who suffer with any number of addictions and issues is that they refuse to deal with the problems. They would rather retreat, withdraw into themselves, rather than look into the matter and wrestle with it. Even if it leaves you crippled in some manner, it is always better to deal with the problem than avoid it.

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