May 31, 2005

Ripple Affects

Reading this article I found much that I could identify with, while many details differed in my life – I learned many of the same lessons. One of these lessons was that my actions don’t just affect me. In our world of self-centered egotism, we often fail to remember, let alone teach our children, that the decisions we make do in fact have impact upon others, whether or not we like it. And that this must be taken into consideration when making even seemingly private decisions. I’m going to use his example, as it was so well written:

“There was little crime on base, only in part because the fence kept strangers out. Time and again, my father sat my brothers and me down and explained that we had to obey all the rules on base. If we were ever picked up by the Air Police, it would go into his permanent file. He could get passed over for promotion for something we did. When I was ten, this outraged my emerging sense of selfhood. “Why? Why should you be punished for something I do? That doesn’t make any sense.”

“At promotion meetings, they’ll say, ‘If he can’t even control his own family, how in the world is he going to lead men into combat?’ That makes a lot of sense to me.” It did to me too, as I thought about it, and I moved through my childhood with a fearsome sense that my actions were not just mine, that they affected my father and, through him, my entire family. Though I was already a timid child, this sense of caution and responsibility made me even more cautious. Even a speeding ticket was literally a federal crime, and if, when I was old enough to drive, I were clocked going 30 in a 25-mile-an-hour zone, I’d have to go to federal court and pay a whopping fine. And a record of my transgression would be added to my father’s file.”

This is the same thing that happens in our world today, outside the military with respect to our heavenly Father. Everything we as, His children, do goes on God’s “permanent record” that the world around us is keeping. While Christ forgives, the world is not so forgiving – not does it forget easily. When we act and live our lives out of line with scripture we reflect poorly to those around us, who Christ is, who God is. So often I have to remind myself that just because the people around me – even the churched people – are doing something, doesn’t mean it is okay. We must live our lives for the glory and fame of the name of God and each choice and decision we as believers make may have a huge impact on how the world around us views Christ.

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