Universal Pattern: 3 C’s: Commandments, Choice, Consequences
In the Garden of Eden, God revealed a universal pattern to Adam and Eve.
“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat;
“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat of it: [nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee; but remember that I forbid it] for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. . . . “(See: Moses: 3: 16-18; Gen. 2: 16-17;)
Notice the universal three-part pattern. First, God gives us commandments. Second, God gives us choice. Third, God imposes consequences.
I call these the three “C’s.” They are “commandments,” followed by “choice,” followed by “consequences.”
The Law of Consequences
When I served as Bishop, young adult members of my ward sometimes responded to me, saying, “But I have my free will.” “I have free agency.” “It’s my choice.”
I replied, “Yes, you are free to choose. But whatever choice you make, the consequences will follow.”
“Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember, that ye are free to act for yourselves — to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life. Wherefore . . . reconcile yourselves to the will of God and not to the will of the devil and the flesh.” (2 Ne. 10: 23-24)
Many people want choices without the consequences. Many people want actions without accountability. This is impossible. There are always consequences. “The consequences WILL follow.”
Consequences: Spiritual, Legal, Natural
I have spent my adult life imposing legal consequences, as a criminal prosecutor and criminal law judge.
Frequently, the natural consequences of a criminal’s actions are far worse than the legal consequences.
One of my responsibilities as a judge has been to dismiss criminal cases when the defendant is deceased. First, I review the death certificate to make sure it matches the case. Second, I look at the cause of death. Third, I look at the criminal charges.
Often there is a direct connection between the criminal charges and the cause of death. Here are some examples:
- -Cause of death – auto accident; criminal case – driving under the influence.
- -Cause of death – liver failure; criminal case – public intoxication.
- -Cause of death – drug overdose; criminal cases – possession of narcotics.
- -Cause of death – complications of AIDS; criminal case – solicitation of prostitution.
- -Cause of death – gunshot wound; criminal case – assault and battery.
You will never, ever, find peace, happiness, success, and joy by doing what’s wrong. It is contrary to the laws of God and nature.
“[Y]e have sought all the days of your lives for that which ye could not obtain; and ye have sought for happiness in doing iniquity, which thing is contrary to the nature of that righteousness which is in our great and Eternal Head.” (Hel. 13:38) “Wicked never was happiness.” (Al. 41:10)
Repentance and Forgiveness with not Erase All the Consequences
There are always consequences. When you repent, you are completely forgiven, but the natural consequences may still follow. That is one reason why “obedience is better than repentance.”
- For example, you can repent and be completely forgiven for killing someone in an automobile accident where you were speeding, driving recklessly, or driving under the influence, but that will not bring the person back to life.
- You can repent and be completely forgiven for violating the laws of chastity, but that will not cure the sexually transmitted disease or eliminate the pregnancy.
- You can repent of alcohol and drug abuse and be completely forgiven, but that will not cure the damage you may have caused to your brain cells and organs.
- You can repent and be completely forgiven for choosing not to serve a mission, but that will not replace the two years of scriptures mastery, spiritual experiences, personal revelation, and blessings.
Indeed, God gives you choices. You have “free will,” “free agency,” “moral agency,” “agency.” But with every choice you make, there will be consequences.
Whether you do what’s right, or whether you do what’s wrong, the consequence will follow.
Therefore, “do what is right, let the consequence follow.” Therefore, “choose the right when a choice is placed before you.”