Guilty By Association? (ATP)
Can your sins bring direct hurt to others? For example if someone in a family won’t do right or listen to God or that prick in their Spirit can that bring harm not just to that person but those close to them? Maybe God removes protection in an area of life because that persons not doing right by God but it’s hurtful to their family too?
This is a great question, one that I have had to learn as a pastor. The short answer to this is yes. Someone else’s sin can and will affect those around them. Take for instance a drunk driver. If they got into an accident and someone was killed, that would be a very obvious example. Or let’s think about the parents of a child who abused drugs. They will also be greatly affected.
People so often forget that the things they do have a lasting effect, often times on those closest to us. When we sin, we open a doorway that allows the devil access to our lives and thus the lives of those closest to us. We live in a natural world with natural consequences. Take for another example a husband who is unfaithful. Let’s say this unfaithful husband gets another woman pregnant. He can be forgiven by his wife and by God but that doesn’t change the fact that a baby has been created. Is this some kind of punishment by God? Well, the answer to that would be, no. However, the birth of this child just created a whole new effect emotionally, financially, and perhaps otherwise that forgiveness isn’t just going to erase.
You could maybe come up with a million scenarios on this subject if you get a little creative. I’ve seen this pastoring too many times. Someone in the family doesn’t control the sin in their lives, and a family goes through hell, sometimes for years. There is some thinking surrounding this question, and it’s a real common thought process that we need to examine and correct. That is, does God remove protection, or will He punish all for one person’s sin. We need to stop seeing God in this light because it is plain wrong.
God is love. I want to show you a scripture we can take a lot away from concerning Him. 1 John 4:16 says, “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” This scripture reveals to us some often overlooked truths. First, God is love. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us all about love and what it looks like according to His standard. If this is God’s standard of love then He himself must also abide by it. Love, the Bible tells us always looks out for another person’s interests and yields to them. God sent us Jesus because of this love (John 3:16). We know that to access what Jesus did for us, WE MUST receive it. WE MUST choose to walk in it. WE MUST have faith in it. Notice all the we musts! It’s up to us to have what God has given. This brings me to the second part. The Bible says, he who abides. To abide is to choose to live, in this case to choose to live under God’s love which is also His protection. God does not just pull His protection out from under us, but when we live absent from it, we remove ourselves from it. We choose to abide somewhere else.
Where the parents choose to live absolutely affects the children. Where your spouse chooses to live will absolutely affect you. It isn’t if God’s doing, He’s given you the truth. This is why when one person in a relationship makes really bad decisions, the other spouse is forced to make a choice. If I continue with them, I abide out of God’s blessing. If I separate, then I can be saved. That is a hard decision, never to be taken lightly. That said, sometimes it is a necessary one to make.
Why is this? Well, 2 Corinthians 6:14 warns us, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” Remember that you choose who you are yoked to in most situations. Light and darkness cannot coexist. If you choose darkness, light by default will flee. Look at 1 John 1:5, “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” What we choose determines our outcome, not God.
The failure of Christians to embrace the truth of his has been the destruction of many people and many families. I’ve seen it. The fact remains though, that is not God’s doing. God’s sovereignty is not displayed on the earth, the earth is man’s realm. There will be a day when God says enough and takes it all back, and in that day our choices will all be finalized. So what does one do in this kind of situation? That’s the question you wanted to ask. The answer to that is going to be situation specific. The idea of making marriage vows that say, “for better or worse” are referring to things such as this. But what about children or other innocent bystanders. Children unfortunately, live the effects of the lives of their parents. Not because God doesn’t love them, but because they are under their jurisdiction.
To wrap this up, and surely this all will bring about more questions, I want to say that the Bible tells us the prayers of the righteous have great affect. God hears you. If you are in a situation that you did not create, His Spirit will give you the answer you need for your life. You have to be open to His direction because He will always lead us to victory. We have to be willing to follow, no matter where it takes us to, or at times who it takes us from.