I was thinking of Jonah this afternoon. Jonah was a prophet of God. God told him he ought to go and preach to Ninevah. Jonah was not a big fan of the Ninevahites, and he didn't really like that idea. He boarded a ship that was headed in the completely different direction. When they reach the middle of the sea, a large storm came up and threatened to sink the ship. All of the sailors were praying to their pagan idols for deliverance. They found Jonah asleep in the ship. They had already started to pitch their cargo to lighten the load, and perhaps save the ship. They sought out Jonah and asked him to pray to his God. Jonah knew what the deal was. He already knew why they were all in danger. He told them to throw him overboard. When they did the storm subsided.
I am going to stop the story there. I wanted to point out all the people put in danger by Jonah's disobedience. The sailors face certain death because of Jonah's disobedience. They had no part in his sin, but were fully exposed to the danger of it. When we turn away from God, many times we expose the people we care about to danger. When we disobey him, there are other people that can often be caught in as collateral damage. Jonah was so absorbed in his disobedience, that he never even heard the frantic prayers of the men facing their doom. Have you ever seen someone so consumed in their own disobedience that they don't see all the people around them that they are destroying? I have. It is the most horrible thing you can ever witness. They drive forward in their disobedience. Unaware of the disaster that is stirred up behind them. They will eventually they will see all that they have done, but by then will the ship have been sunk? I wish there were an easy answer to a situation like this. I only know that God is good and God is faithful. You have to do your best to bind the wounds of the ones left in the wreckage, and to keep lifting that person up in prayer. You will never be able to reason them out of their sin. You have to step back and let the Holy Spirit do the work. He is so much better at it than you ever will be.