Monday, October 25, 2010

The ripple effect: for good and evil

We are not islands. Our actions, both individual and collective, both positive and negative, have consequences for others, often far beyond those expected.  Most actions are not private, even if they should be or we wish they were.

I have been noticing this lately.

An alcoholic father not only ruins his own life. His children are deeply affected, especially in their tendency to addictions, and their ability to maintain stable relationships. Tragically, the damage is passed on to the children's children.

Greedy bankers lend too much money for dodgy mortgages. Banks fail. Stock market plummets. People loose their jobs. Tax revenues drop. Schools and hosptitals are closed....
Welcome to the Global Financial Crisis.

A football coach drinks too much, then drives, is arrested, and then fired. Lawsuits follow, players leave, and team perform plummets. Fans are disappointed and the club loses copius amounts of money.

A politician has an affair.  Tabloids get wind of it and government grinds to a halt as it is consumed  with dealing with the ensuing scandal and media circus.

"How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fie, a world of unrighteousness. ..., setting on fire the entire course of life..."
James 3:5,6

This is depressing but sobering. Our failings can effect so many.

On the positive side. Small acts of kindness, courage, grace, and obedience can multiply in great blessings for others.

One African-American lady refuses to give up her seat on the bus to whites.

One Chinese man stands in the path of a tank...

An affluent western family sponsors a child in the developing world...

The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed.

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