“Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” Ecclesiastes 8:11
There are many areas where delay and procrastination are costly. This is one of them. The Bible says that when “sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily,” it encourages people to increase in their evil ventures. Failure to judge sin or respond to error only emboldens the heart to continue to do evil. One area we have seen the fulfillment of this principle is in the judicial system of our nation. It is not uncommon in our country for the legal process to take years to try and convict a criminal. It takes much longer when you consider the appellate proceedings. One deterrent to crime would be swift and severe penalties for the guilty.
We have often heard the complaint that it seems the greatest consideration in the judicial system is for the perpetrator rather than the victim. On a more personal level, we see other applications of the principle of speedy execution of justice. One example would have to do with delay in dealing with our personal sin. The tendency not to act promptly when we know we are guilty of some area of disobedience or compromise is not uncommon. Such postponement only serves to make further rebellion come easier.
According to our text, if we do not act decisively when God shows us we are at fault, the result will usually be to become more permissive and lenient toward our sin. We need to judge our sin and do so quickly. When the Word of God points out our sin, when the Holy Spirit deals with our heart, when God uses the preacher to expose our error, we should respond promptly by properly dealing with our sin.
We can also see how this principle is vital in the discipline and training of children in the home or church. One of the most important aspects of correcting children is consistency. When rules and discipline are always changing, it is confusing to children. It is equally true that when disobedience is not reproved, their hearts are only conditioned to continue in breaking the rules. To fail in correcting and enforcing proper, loving discipline will teach the child that there are not consistent consequences for misbehaving. For all of us to take correction seriously, punishment should be administered swiftly and appropriately.