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When should we seek to escape punishment?

This essay is on the question in the title. When, if ever, should we seek to escape punishment? I will attempt to answer this question by asking a series of questions, intended to determine the circumstances in which we could seek to escape punishment. I will do this in the light of scripture, making sure that the answer aligns with God’s word. As always, feel free to comment and give me your honest opinion. I would like to know if I missed anything.

First, are we receiving too much punishment? If we are, we should peacefully attempt to lessen the amount of punishment we are receiving. We should never attempt anything by force.

Next, we should consider whether anybody will be harmed by our escaping our punishment. Take, for example, the case of Paul and Silas (Acts 16). We usually pay attention to the fact that they were still worshipping God in prison, and while that is a good thing, we also should look at the fact that they remained in prison even after the earthquake which made a way out for them. They did this because the jailer would have been killed had they been found missing.

Last, and most important, we should remember that when God or one of his angels explicitly tell us to go, we should go. Take the example of Peter in Jerusalem (Acts 6). The angel came to him and freed him, so of course he took it as a sign from God that he should leave. We should remember to follow God’s desire in all circumstances. If the circumstance arises that you have the oppurtunity to be freed, you should consider the effect on your witness.

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4 thoughts on “When should we seek to escape punishment?

  1. Glenda on said:

    We also have problems with accepting punishment when we feel we have done nothing wrong. Our witness can even be made stronger if we handle the situation as you said in the first part. When we seek a peaceable solution not only can our situation be possibly corrected, but others can see God in us, just as Paul and Silas were able to do.

  2. There is one time when no doubt we should seek to escape punishment and that is when we come to the realization that we are sinners and that we must turn to God in order to escape an eternity in hell. That being said, as Christians I think that a lot of times we think we’re being punished when in reality we are being blessed. God is our heavenly Father. He always looks out for our best interests although it may not seem that way to us at the time. As far as should we seek to escape punishment…I don’t think so. The key word being “seek”. That’s the easy way out. It is from our mistakes and the “punishments” or “consequences” that go with them that we learn our greatest lessons. If we have sinned we deserve the punishment. God may extend his grace, mercy and forgiveness and lighten the punishment or even take it away. The bigger question might be…are we willing to extend grace, mercy and forgiveness to someone who has wronged us and we feel deserves to be punished?

    • learning2serv on said:

      “There is one time when no doubt we should seek to escape punishment and that is when we come to the realization that we are sinners and that we must turn to God in order to escape an eternity in hell.”

      I like that!

  3. learning2serv on said:

    Like your third train of thought, “We should remember to follow God’s desire in all circumstances.” I’ve come to find out that punishment is sort of like beauty: it’s in the eye of the beholder. I remember when I was in the Army that I had to clean toilets and office areas while in Afghanistan. It was a punishment for something I did wrong. I just made the best of it; I tried to keep my attitude positive and focused on God. It really COULD have been worse? Someone has to clean the toilets? After awhile it just became a job that had to be done.

    Maybe someone liked my attitude because shortly thereafter I found myself working for our company’s leadership (remember I was doing this because I was “in trouble”). It was sort of a “Joseph” experience.

    I think God used that experience to remind me of the need to remember the necessity for judgment (but to avoid having a judgmental attitude) and be as graceful (and as grace-filled) as I can in all circumstances.

    Thanks for the post. You shared some great thoughts!

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