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Chapter 9
Collateral Damage

There is the wife who loves him, the children who call him their dad, and the parents who raised
him in a loving Christian home. There are others,
also, such as grandchildren, brothers, sisters, in-laws,
friends. All of these people are affected by the terrible
sin he committed. They are victims, too. Their lives
have been drastically altered as well. They feel the
pain of what he has done and they must deal with the
embarrassment, the shame and even the guilt that arise from his despicable actions. 
These are they who suffer the collateral damage from the fall of that one who did something so horrible and fell from favor to disgrace. Society has
condemned him. His sins have dethroned him.
Opportunities are forever shut to him. Sin’s end has
come and the destination is far worse than he or they could have ever imagined.

It is at this moment that grace has the
opportunity to shine its glorious light for all to see.
However, this is not an argument for the offender. Nor
is it the moment to address the offended. May I instead direct your attention to those who are
suffering from the collateral damage?
Before we hurl the stones of slander, raise our
voices with vicious venom, and pronounce the
condemnation in judgment, could we consider these
innocent ones? Could we, perhaps, be more
considerate of the wife who did not commit or
condone the horrible act of sin her loved one
performed? She is at this moment caught between
the emotions of anger and hurt and the vows she
made many years ago. She loves him in spite of his
horrible deeds.
Does he deserve her love? Do any of us really
deserve to be loved? She wants to slap him and kiss
him all at the same moment. She wants to cry out
against his actions yet fall into his arms and hold him.
She wants everything to go back to the way it was
before. She carries his guilt and shame and feels she
will never be able to face people again.

Does she not deserve the dignity of our
restraint in condemnation? He is and will continue to
pay the price without our making her life more difficult
to live. Does she really deserve to spend the rest of
her life hiding from the public outcry that we help to
fuel? She goes to bed at night weeping and
wondering why everyone hates her husband so. She
knows the wrong that he has done and yet she cannot
understand how people, even “Christians”, can be so
cruel, so filled with hatred.

Then there are the kids. Others may deem
their father as evil, but he is still their daddy. They are
hurting on levels that are impossible for most people
to understand. They remember him as the one who
tucked them into bed at night and they dreamed of the
days when their children could come to know him as they did. Now that has all been taken away, lost for a
long time to come. To some, their daddy
will forever be a monster who has no right to be
treated with kindness, love or grace. They are paying
the price along with him, so why do people want to
make it worse? Why do they want him to suffer longer
and more severely?
Even people who were not hurt by him cry the
loudest for the harshest of pain to be inflicted on him.
And with every lash they seek to inflict upon him, they
inflict it on his children as well. They can accept the
justice for his deeds, but they cringe at the abuse
from others vengeful hatred.

When did mankind become so cruel? When did
we lose our mercy? When did we want sinners to
suffer more rather than wish for them the chance at
redemption? When did we forget the grace of God
and excuse our forgetfulness on what we think
another deserves? Why not let the judge make his
decision? Why do we need to pile on? Why can we
not feel their pain and their sorrow and cease
demonizing that one who sinned?

They suffer with every word we speak. They
cringe at every article calling for him to suffer more.
They feel reproached by every condemnation made
by another towards their beloved one.

Ah, but there is one other we have not yet
mentioned who suffers the collateral damage, not only
for the sin of the offender but for the hatred and
condemnation of those who self righteously seek to
add to his misery. It is that One in Philippians 2:6-8.

6 “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not
robbery to be equal with God: 7But made himself of
no reputation, and took upon him the form of a
 servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8And
being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself,
and became obedient unto death, even the death of
the cross.”

Yes, it is the collateral damage we bring upon
our Lord Jesus Christ. He sits at the throne of His
Father not accusing but interceding, not condemning
but pleading on behalf of. He looks with grief at the
way other sinners condemn this sinner and call for
judgment rather than mercy. He knows the crime
must be punished, but He also knows the He has
already been punished for the sin. He sees a world
that hates Him being allowed to freely condemn one
of His Own by those who are also His Own. His heart
grieves as He hears our callous and careless words
of condemnation, even as He does not condemn, for
He was condemned that we all might be forgiven.

Yes, collateral damage is a terrible thing. It is
terrible when our sins create collateral damage upon
the ones we love. It is equally terrible when we pour
fuel on the fire and make the damage even worse
with our words, both spoken and written. It seems to
me that we ought to be comforting those who have
been afflicted, restoring the one who has fallen, and
rather than pointing to the sins of the offender, we
should be shining the spotlight upon the marvelous
grace of our Lord.

If we did that, perhaps the collateral damage
could be turned into a wonderful testimony of what
God can do when we all let God be God and we his
humble servants.
30 “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God,
whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.31Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and
clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you,
with all malice: 32And be ye kind one to another,
tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for
Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
-Ephesians 4:30-32 

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