Our Choices Affect Everyone Around Us

Dear Friends,

One of the common excuses I hear from someone that is doing something that he/she knows he/she should not be doing is, “Why not? It’s not hurting anybody else”… “It’s my body” or “my computer” or “my choice” or “my opinion”, etc. The problem with these kinds or arguments is that they go totally contrary to the Christian understanding of community, accountability, and obedience to God. Yes, we are all free to make our own choices, but God (or the laws of physics!) are not required to humor us by ignoring the consequences of our dumb choices. For example, I am free to jump off a building — it’s my right to do so if I want! But I cannot call the laws of physics unfair or cruel and expect to escape gravity! I will fall and be the subject of a 911 call.

But as a child of God what concerns me more than my own stupid choices is how innocent people are sometimes obliged to endure the consequences of my lunacy and foolishness. None of us are islands — we are all connected regardless of our preferences to the contrary. I simply cannot be deliberately disobedient to Him and not expect for others to suffer for my hardheadedness. Others do reap what I sow.

Today I read about the most awful King to ever rule of Israel — King Ahab. Several times he is mentioned as the worst King ever. In fact, “wicked” is the term the author uses. The prophet Elijah warned Ahab that because of his evil, he and his family, friends, relatives and associates would suffer. And that’s exactly what happened. Shortly after Ahab’s death, his wife was murdered, all 70 sons we beheaded, his friends, his private “priest”, his associates, his relatives, and all that were close to him were slaughtered. I don’t make this stuff up — it’s recorded in the Word of God. But for what reason was it recorded? To show how vengeful our God is, or to display the ruthlessness of the rivals to the king’s throne? No, this is about how one man’s disobedience polluted and corrupted an entire family, a clan, and a nation. Ahab’s entire family line was wiped out. Our actions echo and reverberate — they are not sequestered, spiritually speaking.

One very good reason to be obedient and humble to God is because of the blessing that also reverberates within my family, friends, church and community! We’re connected for good purposes, but if our eyes are not upon Him, our actions might hurt the same ones we’re connected to. Just ask Ahab.

Dean Barley

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