Here's what my airline ticket said - Friday afternoon Ron will fly from Newark to Houston - and then an hour later, he will take a connecting flight from Houston to Guadalajara, Mexico. So much for what the ticket said. I was on my way to be with the Director of our radio outreach to Latin American young people. But little did any of us know that my flight would be delayed for a last-minute repair. A lot of passengers were concerned because many of us had connecting flights in Houston - many of us to various destinations in Mexico. Well, the good news was they finished that repair in enough time for most of us to still have a shot at making our connections. That was the good news. That's when the pilot said, "But we do have another problem - the copilot's seat just broke." Yeah - right! Now listen, I have flown a lot, but I have never heard of the pilot's seat breaking. Now apparently they don't have a spare copilot's seat at the gate, just in case - it took quite a while to get another one. I got off to make a phone call - and, sure enough, there was a dead seat, lying face down in the jetway. Oh well.
By the time we finally took off, all of us connecting passengers knew we were doomed. When we finally arrived in Houston, we were greeted with a piece of paper that told us where we would be spending the night. And on the back was a list, showing everyone with a missed connection what flight they would be on the next day. There was a list of 28 flights that had been affected by that one broken seat - and who knows how many people!
Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You about "A Single Break...A lot Of Ripples."
It's amazing how one broken thing can produce so many ripples! Especially when what's broken is a relationship. If we could see the list of people who are affected when one relationship is breaking or broken, we would be stunned at the extent of the damage.
A struggling couple who is thinking about divorce is probably not beginning to estimate the collateral damage from that choice. Children, friends, fellow believers, others with marital struggles - even future generations will feel the effects of one canceled marriage. Or church members, allowing issues that seem so important to divide them - they have no idea of what they're doing to children who are watching, young people who are watching, relatives, leaders. If they could see a list of the people who are being scarred and confused and spiritually disillusioned, I wonder if winning the issue would seem worth all that damage.
That long night on an airplane, I knew I was being affected by one thing broken - and the people who were to meet me on the other end were too. But I could never have dreamed of how many passengers and loved ones and meetings and commitments would be affected - until I saw that list of disruptions.
It is because relationships are so fragile, because they do so much damage when they're broken, that God gives us this relationship insurance "word for today." From the Word of God, Ephesians 4:26 - "In your anger, do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. And do not give the devil a foothold." God says, "If there's a problem between you, fix it fast. When you don't, you've just given the devil a place to get in." See, relationships don't have to become broken - if we will just get to that person quickly and do whatever it takes to deal with the problem. Today it's small. By tomorrow, it the break will bigger and the feelings will be harder.
So whether it's a relationship in your family, or your church, or in a romance, maybe between friends, at work - wherever there's a break, don't let it go any longer or grow any bigger. You're only giving Satan himself a weapon with which to wound you and more people than you could ever imagine.
That night at the airport, I saw the long list of what got messed up because of one broken thing. Please don't let a list like that start to grow because you didn't sacrifice to fix one broken relationship. You can't see it from where you're sitting right now, but the damage from that break could reach so far and hurt so many.