How does it feel when someone you love makes a decision that goes against everything the Bible says? How does it feel to someone else when you make a decision that goes against everything the Bible says?
How does God feel in either of those situations?
The decisions we make, the decisions others make, have a ripple effect on the people who love us/them, the people who know us/them, and most importantly, the one who sent His only Son to die for us/them. That ripple affect can either be a positive thing or a negative thing.
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God at the very beginning of creation, they made a decision that still affects us today. Their decision created a huge ripple effect. Consequences followed their disobedience- consequences follow our disobedience. In Romans 6:23 we read that “the wage of sin is death.” We also read of sins in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and Galatians 5:21 that will cause us not to inherit the kingdom of God, which is a huge consequence!
Over the past year, I have had friends deliberately walk in a different direction than the truth (Hebrews 10:26). They took a different route in their Christianity and chose to choose sin over God. Seeing those friends be "won over" by Satan has been extremely hard, and I have watched the consequences of their disobedience spill out over their family and over those who love them – including me.
When they selfishly chose sin, they chose consequences. When they thought they were choosing happiness for themselves, they were actually simultaneously choosing sadness, doubt, and darkness for those who love them. We do the same thing when we chose sin.
When sin is chosen, our "light" is turned off. In Matthew 5:16, we are told to let our lights shine so that others can see God through us. When we choose to walk in darkness, our light is no longer able to shine bright. When we choose to turn our light off, we are ignoring God's directions. We are missing opportunities to be a light in a dark world. Instead, we are adding darkness to a dark world, which is the exact opposite of what we are called to do as Christians.
When sin is chosen, we also become a discouragement to others instead of an encouragement. In Hebrews 3:13, the writer says to encourage one another daily so that we won't be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. When we choose sin, or when others choose sin, it makes it easy for those around to question God and to be discouraged.
Lastly, when sin is chosen, we can become a stumbling block to others. As we read in Matthew 16:23, Peter became a stumbling block to Christ because he did not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns. Our chosen sin can also create a ripple effect on the generations to come, just like Adam and Eve's sin did and just like sin does when parents divorce, when gay marriage is legalized, and when sexual immorality is promoted all over the big screen. When children grow up seeing our chosen sin, we put a stumbling block in their path as well. Mark 9:42 shows us how big of a deal that is to Jesus. He says that it would be better for us if a millstone were hung around our neck and we were thrown into the sea then for us to cause a child to stumble.
With every decision we make, something follows. The awesome part of that is that we already know what that something will be. If we choose sin, consequences will follow. If we choose God, we choose eternal life. Both decisions will never solely affect us. Every decision we make will spill over to somebody else. Every decision can either influence or affect others for good or for bad.
With a single decision we have the potential to help others see God and reach Heaven or we have the potential to discourage others, cause them to stumble, and make them doubt God.
The next time you make a decision, choose life (Romans 6:23), choose encouragement (Hebrews 3:13), choose not to be a stumbling block (Romans. 14:13) and choose to be a LIGHT (Matthew 5:16). Because after all, the decisions you make don't only affect you.
Anna Doyle graduated from Freed-Hardeman University in May 2010. She is currently the Jackson Christian School middle school girls basketball coach in Jackson, TN. She was married June 18, 2011 and enjoys playing sports, creating art, and helping others. Mother Teresa is one of her biggest role models and she believes that God is good all the time and all the time God is good.