It is human to have bad habits. From running late all the time to impulse buying to smoking and drinking, bad habits run the gamut from being minorly inconvenient to downright self-destructive. Yet most people don’t give much thought to their habits until something negative directly affects them. Missing one too many deadlines can cause someone to be passed over for a promotion. Impulse buying can lead to financial insolvency. Smoking and drinking can have adverse health outcomes. Only when one’s life is directly affected will that person think about changing his or her ways.
This attitude toward bad habits is common, and it allows damage caused by them to fester freely for many years. One area that may see a particularly significant amount of damage is a person’s relationship with God. Though the harm can occur in a variety of ways, most adverse outcomes do one of four things.
While most bad habits aren’t necessarily immoral in and of themselves, they can easily lead a person down an immoral path. For instance, a person who is notoriously late may lie to friends, family and coworkers in an attempt to make excuses for tardiness. Someone who has a tendency to squalor the family funds on unnecessary purchases may hide the receipts from loved ones. Though neither running late nor spending money is immoral, they can both cause a person to partake in more corrupt behaviors.
Many bad habits serve as a distraction from the more important things in life, including God. Excessive cell phone use can cause a person to ignore life that’s happening all around, including church services. It can also interfere with a person’s relationship with others, as friends and family may grow tired of trying to hold a conversation with someone who is constantly checking a phone.
In addition to causing immediate distractions, bad habits can cause a person to stray from God over time. For instance, spending hours playing video games each night may provide temporary fun and stress relief, but it squanders time you could put toward talking to God or studying the Bible.
Bad habits, when allowed to spiral out of control, can cause other problems to build up. For instance, after spending all day watching YouTube videos, you may feel stressed and unproductive when, at the end of the day, you discover there is still a whole list of chores you need to complete. If you are constantly late, you may find that people stop inviting you places. Instead of fixing the root of the problem — the habit — you may become angry with yourself or others. You may grow dissatisfied with life and find it difficult to see the good all around. This creates a distinct lack of gratitude for life, and may even cause you to blame and abandon God.
Bad habits do not just affect the person who possesses them. In fact, more often than not, others feel the consequences of one’s bad habit before the holder of the habit does. Gossip is just one example of how a bad habit can harm others. When the subject of the gossip catches wind of the harmful words — as he or she is apt to do — it can cause hurt feelings and lower self-esteem.
Excessive drinking is another example of a bad habit that has the potential to destroy relationships. Excessive drinking can cause a person to ignore the things in life that truly matter, such as family and work. When a person chooses the bottle over more important things, he or she doesn’t just turn away from life — but also turns away from God.
Bad habits, though human, can be destructive. If you want to improve your life and relationship with God, take steps to break them today.