While it is usually associated with the military, collateral damage refers to any incidental damage caused by an activity.
I often read about the struggles caused by divorce and a broken relationship in this way. When two people separate, there will be an impact on children, friends, jobs, and all overlapping connections. There is relationship collateral damage. It is frequently used in the business setting as well. A company is bought and sold, and the workers can find their job leaving as a part of the collateral damage.
What I want to suggest to you today is that there is collateral damage in faith too. Whenever someone falls to sin and gives into temptation, it impacts more than just the person involved. Our sins, mistakes, failures, trespasses, and ungodly behavior ripple out into every corner of our life. One major blunder can change the course of your life, and also your children’s lives, your friends, the class you teach, and the ministry you lead. Unfortunately, one conversation I repeatedly have is with a young person who is disillusioned by a believing adult’s choices. Every time we step out of God’s will, it sends out a wave that will ripple over the lives of others, especially young people.
So the next time you are tempted to disobey God, one question to ask yourself is, “how will my choice impact others?” Sometimes that one extra question will give you the strength to say no and move away from that sin that is so enticing.
Each life is the result of the positive influences of others through Jesus. It can also be damaged by the negative actions of others when they don’t follow Jesus. One failure can change a person’s life in ways you never imagined; keep that in mind the next time evil whispers in your ear, “No one is going to get hurt.”