Posted by: everynation | August 20, 2011

The Relational Ripple Effect of Sin

by Ron Miller

MANY PEOPLE THINK that an activity should not be considered sin based upon two sets of criteria. First, an activity is not sin if it does not hurt another person. Second, an activity is not sin if people willingly participate in it.

These same people use these suppositions to justify behavior that is contrary to ethical standards for living defined in the Holy Bible. For example, people engage in sexually immoral behavior, which is any sexual activity outside the parameters of a marriage between a husband and wife, thinking it is not wrong because there is mutual consent and no one is getting hurt.

However, these people are deceived because someone always gets hurt when they participate in activities that God defines as sin. 

In the movie, “No Strings Attached” (I don’t recommend the movie), two characters played by Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman enter into a sexual relationship with “no strings attached”. At the beginning of the movie the two characters seem to be enjoying their relationship without commitment. By the end of the movie, both characters have hurt each other, and are deeply confused about their relationship, and feelings for one another. The movie ends with them deciding to make a commitment to one another that does not allow them to be sexually involved with anyone else.

God knows sex without commitment will eventually hurt someone. It took these two characters a whole movie to figure this fact out. They should have read the Bible, and discovered God designated sex as a wonderful and enjoyable covenant activity exclusively for marriage.

Tiger Woods is playing in his first golf tournament in twelve years without his caddie Steve Williams (Editor’s Note: Ron Miller wrote this blog last August 6). The two of them had developed a close friendship while working together on the golf course. Woods and Williams’ relationship extended beyond the golf course, as Woods attended Williams’ wedding in New Zealand in 2005. However, Woods fired Williams right after the British Open. Williams said he was shocked because he had remained so faithful to Tiger even when news of Wood’s adulterous affairs went public.

I don’t know the real reason Tiger fired his friend and caddy Steve Williams. He claims it was “time for a change”. I think that is the “sound good” reason instead of the real reason. I think the real reason is that Tiger and Steve have too many of the same friends and close relationships. When Tiger got divorced it forced those friends to choose sides between him and his ex-wife. In other words, it put a strain of the relationships.

Tiger and the women he had sex with mutually chose to participate in activity the Bible calls adultery. According to God, adultery is sin and sin always hurts people. Even though their sin felt good for a moment, there was a relational ripple effect from their adulterous behavior. The women Tiger had sex with got hurt. Tiger’s wife got hurt. Tiger got hurt. Tiger’s family and friends got hurt. He ex-wife’s family and friends got hurt. Tiger’s caddie got hurt and got fired. What a ripple effect!

Exodus 20:5 teaches us that there is a relational ripple effect for our sins that can extend all the way to our fourth generation. It says,“You shall not bow down to them or worship them (other gods or idols); for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.” 

What a ripple effect! The next generation reaps the consequences of the decisions we make today. So much for the thought that if people mutually participate in sin, and don’t hurt each other in the process, it should be okay.

Well what do you know? It turns out the Bible, Hollywood and Tiger Woods all have something in common. Who would have thought it? They are proof that there is a relational ripple effect that hurts people, even to the fourth generation, when people participate in sin.

Ron Miller, Jr. is one of the pastors at Every Nation Tallahassee. He’s a sports enthusiast and was the Associate Director of a fitness center in his hometown in Florida. In 2001, Ron left his job to take over the Senior Pastor responsibilities of Every Nation Tallahassee Church.  He is married to Cindy and parent three incredible boys named Josiah, Ethan, and Noah.  Ron’s greatest joy in life is loving and serving his wife, and fathering his sons.
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