He was crumpled in a large brown heap, a lifeless mass of fur in the middle of the road.
My heart dropped when I realized it was a dead dog.
“I think it’s worse when it’s a dog hit versus a wild animal along the roadside,” my son commented.
“It’s because there’s a human connection. That’s why it’s so hard. It’s probably someone’s pet.” I blurted. I wasn’t sure where the words came from, but they flowed easily. I’d like to think they were God-given.
The van grew quiet.
We have human connections, too.
And sin, like the dog’s death, doesn’t fly solo. It impacts others.
But how much more God’s love soars when we build those human connections.
Sin doesn't fly solo. It impacts others. But how much more God's love soars. Click To Tweet
Our decisions and what happens to us isn’t simply about us.
Our own sins – gossip, lies, angry outbursts, fornication, gluttony, hatred, even discord – don’t fly solo.
And sometimes their mangling impact will turn another’s world upside down.
I think of a friend – a man my husband was stationed with and we’ve known for well over 20 years. He’s a believer. He’s a police officer. And his world was turned upside down last week.
Our friend – I’ll call him “Jose” – was shot. You probably know his story. It’s Dallas.
Shots rang. Jose landed in the hospital. But, unlike 5 other officers, he survived.
I can’t imagine. What did Jose think? And his wife and children – where were their thoughts?
Sin didn’t fly solo. It took Jose and his family with it. Many others of us as well. But there’s hurt splattered all over the US – black, white, you name it. It’s not just in Jose’s world. Worlds are upside down all around.
Sin’s impact is flying high.
So what do we do with this impact, when life goes upside down?
We can lash in retaliation, sowing discord. That’s simple, isn’t it?
If I hate a man because he shot a friend, then I’m returning sin with a sin, exchanging one hate for another.
My kids see it. They cling to it in one form or another. Then hate multiplies. A lot of eternal good that does, eh?
We can sit and simply do nothing.
We don’t know them.
It seemingly doesn’t impact us.
Or, we can reach out and build those human connections to help change our world.
My husband and I chose the last route. Oh, we’re not perfect. You know that well. But why fight evil with evil?
We tossed that impact into serving at The Salvation Army. My family and I met eyes with over 200 beautiful faces, housed by bodies of white, black, Native American, Asian, and more.
Our youngest son commented his biggest takeaway was being exposed to a different type of community, to different people, and a different style of living.
I like that.
All the kids loved the experience. I love that even more.
(The boys and my hubby had gone a few times before, but this was a first for my daughter and me.)
But there are many ways to handle an upside down world. You don’t have to go to The Salvation Army. Just connect with others. And even better? Connect with those outside your daily path. Maybe, just maybe that’ll help us understand one another better.
Here are 15 avenues for connecting and changing your world:
Look a person in the eye and offer, “Have a blessed day.”
Smile and nod, even compliment, versus staring at a phone.
Listen to listen, not respond.
Pray behind the scenes or offer a prayer right then and there.
Skip over to the new neighbor and introduce yourself – invite them to dinner.
Hug that widow, bring her a meal or visit regularly.
Head down to the soup kitchen and serve the homeless.
Volunteer at an abused women’s shelter or a nursing home.
Become a foster parent or child’s mentor.
Simply care about and for your neighbor, refusing hatred and discord due to skin color, political views, etc.
Allow someone to care for, assist, or bless us.
Offer a hug.
Use manners, regardless of appearance or experience.
Ask forgiveness for our own sins clutched tightly.
Submit to love and forgiveness, proceeding in His righteousness.
We can offer glory to the name of Jesus by offering our own heart for reaction, not wild emotions bent for discord and retaliation.
Because sin doesn’t ride solo. It’s impact is far-reaching.
But further-reaching is a heart offered to God, one connecting with humans for the sake of Jesus. Just watch His love soar!
Be encouraged to walk in righteousness, my friend. Because in the end? Love wins.
Linking with Purposeful Faith, Testimony Tuesday, 3-D Lessons for Life, and Suzie Eller.
Have You Heard?
LifeLetter Cafe and I have connected for Kingdom purposes. You’ll find my writings, some old and some brand new, on their site. BUT, you won’t find only mine. You’ll find other encouraging writers there as well. It’s a LIBRARY full of Jesus goodness and well-worth the stop to encourage your faith. Make sure to go over there and poke around a bit, okay?