The boys didn’t intend for it to happen. They just wanted to joy ride for a while. After all, their dad hadn’t forbidden them to take the car out. No matter that they were underage and didn’t have driver’s licenses. Thirty, 40, 50 mph. They chose back roads. Not much traffic. Less chance for getting caught. Fifty-five, 65, 75 mph.
The couple and their 11 year old son headed to celebrate the results of the test. After chemotherapy and radiation, the breast cancer was in remission. A pleasant dinner out was in store. Eighty, 85, 90 mph.
The boys laughing at their speed missed the stop sign. Their dad’s car had airbags which enabled them to walk away unharmed when they crashed into the side of the family’s car. The mother was killed instantly. The son was is intensive care for days and the hospital for weeks.
A sad story? Of course. Unfortunately, a true one that happened to a woman I knew. The boys’ choice to sin rippled in the effect it had on others. Just like the ripples caused when a stone in throne into the water sin has consequences that spread out to impact others in unforeseen ways. Maybe a better analogy is that sin is like an earthquake that occurs under the ocean causing a tsunami which surges out in all directions impacting land and lives miles away.
All choices have consequences which ripple through the lives of those we touch, on to touch those whom we do not know. The ripples can be devastating, or they can be profoundly profitable.
The woman was a fervent believer in Christ. She raised her children in the Lord, teaching them His Word. One of her daughters had a son whom she also raised in the Lord. A sickly child who grew to be a sickly adult. He became a pastor. Although his church has no longer exists the ripples of his, his grandmother’s and his mother’s faith are still evident on the pond of human experience. Do you remember Lois, Eunice and Timothy?
The ripple effect. We may not commit sins that take life or cause great bodily injury. We may not work for the Lord as pastors or in any way that the world, or even other Christians, see as great or effective. Each choice we make, whether in word or deed, ripples through the lives of others. We may never see or know whether our ripples gently rock another toward Christ or savagely crash their life away from Christ, but we do have the choice of remembering that we cause the ripples or tsunamis that travel out away from us in all directions.