Life is full of cause and effect relationships. It is almost too easy to be caught off guarded. The outcome, “not more than three hours later, [when] his wife, knowing nothing of what had happened, came in” (Acts 5.7) should have been anticipated, but it was not. She was not the first. It is a repeating pattern in my life, often far more frequently than I will admit or acknowledge.
Arrogance tells me that I have a firm grasp on the links across my life. Pride tells me that I will be able to identify connections when they touched me. Ignorance encourages me to ignore what I cannot see and understand. Knowing this can drive one to paranoia, yet there is an easy way to avoid the chain of disaster that can come with knowing the cause and effect of a question, story, or event.
First, always assume this is a linkage between your life and what is beyond your vision. Walk knowing you cannot see everything. Listen intently, knowing you are not getting the whole story. Watch and never assume that your eyes are telling you the truth. Regardless of our senses and their knowledge, there is always more to the story.
Second, respond to any question with sincerity and compassion. This is not a na?ve demand for walking without clothes or armor. It is a call to treat others, even those that would harm or hurt, with respect and love. At times, one will need to compassionately say know or end a relationship. At times, love extracts a painful price.
Third, always embrace truth and travel together. Truth is always faithful. Truth is reliable and just. Truth will always keep us close to God.
In the clarity of a new dawn, life seems rather simple. In the chaos and complexity that always seems to come, it is helpful to remind the self that life pivots in a single moment. Each is a complex or simple as we make it. It is linked to the past and the future. It is also here, right now.
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