Collateral Damage

While sitting in a grocery store parking lot, talking to a friend on the phone, an interesting scenario unfolded before my very eyes. I watched in shock with wide eyes and open mouth, marveling at the nerve of some people.

After loading her groceries into her car, lady number 1 parked her shopping cart in front of her car but very close to the person’s car who was parked in front of me, lady number 2. She then got into her car, backed out and drove away.

The lady to my left, lady number 3, who was waiting for lady number 1 to get out of her way, pulled forward running the shopping cart into and dragging it along lady number 2’s car. Wow!

Unbeknownst to lady number 2, while she was blissfully getting her grocery shopping done, she had also managed to become the collateral damage of two people that were determined to get their way despite the harm that might cause someone else, an innocent target.

Then I thought to myself, how often, in my rush to have my way or say, do I create collateral damage? Am I leaving scars on other’s hearts, emotions, minds or spirits with my thoughtless words, attitudes or actions? Am I so focused on me and my schedule that I’m neglecting the hurting and needy around me? In my right to freedom, am I recklessly causing division? Are you?

I’m reminded of an incident in the Bible where King David observed Bathsheba bathing on her rooftop one night. He thought she was very beautiful and decided that he had to have her. He found out that she was married to Uriah, one of his soldiers, but he was so focused on what he wanted, that that important little detail didn’t phase him.

He had Bathsheba brought to him, they spent the night together, and soon after, she finds out she is pregnant. Oh oh! Her husband is away at war, fighting for David by the way, so David has to come up with a plan to cover up his adulterous sin.

He has Uriah brought home from the war, in hopes that he would go to his house and sleep with his wife and therefore be assumed the father of Bathsheba’s child. Well, Uriah did not go to his house and therefore did not sleep with his wife.

David then goes to plan B which is to have Uriah killed in battle. His plan was successful and now King David was free to marry Bathsheba and none were the wiser of his little scheme.

Except David forgot one little detail, God sees all and knows all. He hadn’t gotten away with anything. As punishment for his sin of adultery and murder, his and Bathsheba’s baby died and there would be discord and calamity in David’s household for the rest of his life [2 Samuel 11-12].

In David’s rush to get his way, who were his collateral damage or innocent targets? Uriah, the other men that died in battle with Uriah, Bathsheba (now a widow), David and Bathsheba’s baby, and David’s other children. All because David wanted what he wanted and didn’t think about the damage it might cause to others.

Of course, no one died in the parking lot that day, due to the shopping cart incident, but the fact still remains that an innocent target suffered damages due to other’s selfishness.

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.

Jesus said in Matthew 7:12 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” And in Matthew 22:39 He said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Let’s avoid creating collateral damage today. Let’s be more focused on those around us and less focused on ourselves, schedules, and to-do lists. Let’s choose our words more carefully and therefore causing less division and pain.

Let’s go out into the world and treat others the way we would like to be treated. Let’s love others as we love ourselves.

Wow! What a wonderful world it would be!

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.














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