Sunday, August 18, 2013

Innocent Bystanders

Innocent Bystanders
August 19, 2013
2 Samuel 11:24  "Then the archers shot arrows at your servants from the wall, and some of the king's men died.  Moreover, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead."

Everyone knows of King David's story of adultery with Bathsheba.  It really isn't a story about just adultery, though; it is a complete tale of how one man's sins affect the lives of so many others.  If you recall the drama found in 2 Samuel 11, you'll see that the prophet Nathan called out David's sin through a parable.  He likened David's actions to a rich man with many flocks stealing the lone family pet-lamb of a peasant.  Nathan invoked feeling in David by telling him the pet-lamb had emotional attachments to the peasant and his children; it wasn't just property.  Nathan was telling David that his sin reached far beyond just stealing something; it affected the hearts and lives of others.

You can further see this point when re-reading the full account.  Bathsheba was called someone's daughter and someone's wife.  In fact, the Bible refers to Bathsheba as the wife of Uriah even after his death, even after she married David, and even after she bore David's son.  When David had Uriah killed, there were innocent soldiers killed along with him, innocent bystanders to David's sin.  Those soldiers had mothers, fathers, wives, and children.  They mourned for their loved ones along with Bathsheba when Uriah and the other soldiers died.  Later in life, as a result of David's actions, his own sons committed rape, murder, and adultery all as a direct result's David's same sins.  Innocent lives were affected many years after the fact.

No man is an island and his sins do not JUST affect himself or his relationship with the Lord.  If you ask any therapist, he or she might tell you that the greatest impact of alcoholism is on the close loved ones of the addicted, similarly with any drug abuse.  How you respond to life, its temptations and stresses, has a direct impact on those around you, the innocent bystanders.  They become collateral damage, secondary to your own actions---even if you did not intend it.  When you commit sin, seldom are you thinking of others, only yourself.  And even if you aren't directly sinning, how you respond to situations in life will still affect those closest around you.  There are many consequences to your actions, lives that are being touched and impacted as a direct result of the choices you make every day.

This creates an opportunity to think of others before you think of yourself.  While you cannot foresee the direct impact your choices will have on others, you can surely bet that if it is sin, it will spill over in a negative fashion into the lives closest to you no matter how hard you try to conceal it.  The Bible says you should consider others more highly than yourself and consider their feelings and regard above your own.  This means realizing that what you are doing today should impact them positively, propelling them forward in life instead of leading them on a harmful path.  Your road rage or anger problem is directly impacting them.  Your closet drinking or hidden gambling is changing the course of their lives forever.  Your selfishness is possibly leading others on a slow road of destruction; you are just too consumed with yourself to see it.

You may be a deacon in the church, volunteer at the homeless shelter, give to missions work, but still have a struggling sin present in your life.  That one sin is still having a negative impact on the world of those around you, even if you are not willing to admit it.  There are innocent bystanders affected by your actions and it is time to take responsibility for it, altering the course of their life and yours forever.  Do not be fooled into thinking you are not harming anyone.  The reaches of sin go far beyond what is inside your own head.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  2 Sam 11, Matthew 7:12, Gal 6:7-10, Phil 2:3

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