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Just this once

“Can’t we do it just this once President?”

Sound familiar?

Small choices, big consequences!

The question reminded me of this piece from a long time ago by Richard L. Evans.

“There is in our language a dangerously disarming phrase by which people often persuade other people to compromise principles.

It is the phrase “𝐉𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐨𝐧𝐜𝐞.”

“Just this once” has a siren-like lure.

It is the forerunner of the phrase “Just once more.”

It is the beckoning voice of a false friend that leads us from safety to a false position, first “Just this once,” and then “Just once more.”

“Just once more won’t matter.”

“Just once more, and then I’ll quit.”

And so, we sometimes move from one false step to another, often deluding ourselves into thinking that this is the last time.

In some social and personal matters, many of us live somewhat this way.

Tomorrow

We may know, for example, that we are living our lives at a pace we cannot keep up, but we hate to refuse a friend. Thus, we are led from obligation to obligation, and each time we say “yes,” we tell ourselves that we are saying it “Just this once” and that tomorrow will be better.

But tomorrow is seldom better except as we have the backbone to make it better.

In matters of eating and appetite, people often go from one indulgence to another, always saying to themselves, “Just this once, Tomorrow I begin to diet.” “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.”

“Just this once” becomes especially serious when people persuade other people that a principle is a matter of frequency rather than a clear-cut matter of right or wrong.

It is true that a onetime offender is looked upon with more leniency than a frequent offender. But stealing “Just this once,” lying “Just this once,” deceiving “Just this once,” or any other act of immorality urged upon anyone “Just this once” is a dangerous doctrine.

“Just this once” is a long step, but “Just once more” is an easier step, and so men often forget their own fetters from link to link.

If it isn’t right, let it alone. Don’t do “Just this once” what shouldn’t be done at all.”

Listen out for the phrase in your own life – you may be surprised how often it occurs.

Consider your actions carefully, and the consequences that may occur.

How will you respond next time?

A big stick!

You’re safe, I’m not going to hit you with this big stick!

Do you remember the Stephen Covey quote “When you pick up one end of the stick, you pick up the other.”

Many years ago, whilst walking home with our golden Labrador Shane, he found a big stick and was determined to carry it all the way home.  A fence with a narrow opening became a massive problem for Shane.  Carrying the stick, no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t get through, as the stick was longer than the narrow opening in the fence.  Several attempts at manoeuvring his head and his body in different directions, proved unsuccessful – he couldn’t do it.  Eventually, I took the stick from his mouth, carried it through the fence and gave it back to him on the other side.

I have never forgotten that experience with Shane.  I remember watching him try over and over again.  It was only when I intervened, was the obstacle overcome.

So it is with all of our choices in life.

We are free to choose our actions – “you pick up one end of the stick” but if we think that those choices are simply isolated to us alone – we are mistaken “you [also] pick up the other [end of the stick]”.

Both ends of the stick came with Shane that day.  The consequences quickly followed.

What are the consequences of whatever “stick” you choose to action and pick up today?