No we didn’t get a dog, and no, I haven’t lost bladder control…not yet anyway. My wife brought home these little gems because well, we’re potty training another child. And there was much rejoicing.
You see, these days I frequently arrive home from work, meetings, or simply going downstairs to learn that my typically delightful 4-year-old had decided that interrupting playtime with frivolous trips to the potty was simply not worth it. True, tackling Hulk or playing Gaga-ball is pretty awesome, but continence turns out to be a more necessary life skill, and he is certainly old enough and experienced enough to know better by now. Especially after he wakes up from naps, when he’d rather consciously wee than walk out the door and use the facilities.
We needed an appropriate motivator to quell his damp deeds, so we decided on this “punishment”: have him live with the outcome of his decision. If he wants to stay in his bed and pee, then he will enjoy the water wonderland he creates…without the laundry we hate! We’re hoping rolling around in urine is less desirable than conveniently absorbing it in pull-ups! The penalty is fair, fits the crime, and we hope it will work well as a deterrent. Comedian Jeff Foxworthy once joked that the best way to keep his kid from sticking his finger in an electric outlet was to actually let him do it once (imagine Jeff’s voice): “Hurt like hell, didn’t it? You won’t do that again!” The just punishment equaled the natural and logical consequence of his decision, nothing more.
Obviously, Jeff was exaggerating, but I mention his colorful language because this relationship between consequence and punishment is perhaps most applicable to a much more serious topic: hell. So many of us understand hell as merely a punishment, which raises lots of really difficult and legitimate questions about the goodness, justice, and sensibility of God. But if we understand hell as more a natural and logical consequence of our own decisions, then any punishment associated with it becomes no more than the just and reasonable granting of our desires. Wait, hell is something people truly choose, you might wonder? Well, surprisingly, God’s explanation of hell is in many ways quite different than the cave-like demon pitch-forking experience you might have a medieval image of in your head (Click to tweet). A fate worse than laundry yes, but one that makes a lot more sense than you might think possible.
To learn how the Bible uses its perception of hell to clear up so many troublesome questions about this place, check out Healing Hereafter. You can download it for FREE here! Oh, and may your continence never end. 🙂