In “Mere Christianity“, C. S. Lewis describes the commonplace idea that our actions do not effect each other. He puts it this way: if we are all ships as part of an envoy, then we have three main objectives:
- Don’t run into each other
- Don’t sink or turn astray
- Don’t neglect the ship that was lent to you
We seem to understand the first rule and socially frown upon those that interfere with the lives of others. But we seem to think that it’s perfectly fine if we behave wrongly, “because it only effects me.” That would be great if it were true.
But our actions and decisions don’t just effect us. The selfishness of suicide or the addiction to pornography… these violations of the rule of mankind are not secret and not secluded. Every decision we make has an effect on our own lives and those around us.
To think that our actions do not have consequence and that those consequences do not effect others is absurd. This thinking also ignores the third objective — this life we live and the body we possess is not our own. We cannot add one hair to our head or one day to our lives.
But we’ll answer to the One who can.
As you navigate the waters of right and wrong, choose obedience, not obstinance. Your life matters and, if surrendered to the Creator, has magnificent purpose. Just choose to submit to the author and designer of your ship and this world — He is both the shipwright and the cartographer — He knows best.