The Law of Pain
July 25, 2006 • By Ed Wrather
For the wages of sin is death. - Romans 6:23a.
Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, "Because I bore him in pain.” And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, "Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested. - 1 Chronicles 4:9-10.
There are many natural laws including the Law of Gravity. Gravity is defined as "a fundamental physical force that is responsible for interactions which occur because of mass between particles, between aggregations of matter (as stars and planets), and between particles (as photons) and aggregations of matter…." A practical definition for us who live on planet Earth could be, "What goes up must come down." If you throw something up in the air here on Earth, it is going to come back down. Even a bullet shot into the air is going to come down somewhere. Step off a roof or a cliff and it will hurt when you hit the ground because gravity forces you to go down and not up. We may not like the law of gravity but gravity does not operate in accord with our personal preferences.
There is a spiritual law which operates whether we like it or not and that is the Law of Pain. Whenever we sin - whether in our eyes, it is large or small, it results in pain. Sometimes the pain is very obvious and immediate. Other times, the pain is not so obvious and may be delayed or spread out over time. The Bible is clear that sin results in death (Romans 6:23a). Jabez was aware of this Law and prayed, "…and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!"
When Adam and Eve sinned (Genesis 3), it caused great pain for them and all of us. God described the pain that was to come upon them and us to Adam and Eve in this way: (To the woman He said) "I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." (Then to Adam He said) "Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return."
When Cain killed his brother Abel it caused immediate pain for Abel and delayed, but continuing life long pain for Cain. God said to Cain, "So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth (Genesis 4:11-12)."
Throughout the Bible when someone sinned or committed an evil act, it caused pain for them and for others. Yes, we can be forgiven. David was forgiven but there were long-term consequences and pain that resulted from his sin with Bathsheba and the killing of her husband. In the New Testament, Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, lied about their gift (Acts 5). The immediate pain that resulted was both of them being struck dead by God.
We can rejoice that we have forgiveness for our sins through Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23b; 1 John 1:9). However, we should always remember and take into consideration that when we sin we will cause pain. That pain will affect us personally and it will affect those around us. We should make the prayer of Jabez the cry of our heart for every day, "…that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!"