Collateral Damage

When my daughter was about five, we passed a street evangelist in downtown Portland screaming about the fires of hell. He scared my little girl, and she began to cry. I was angered that a man trying to tell people about Jesus was having this effect on her. Jesus had welcomed, not frightened away children.

I walked up to him and told him that he was frightening my daughter. He was startled, telling me that was not his intention. I suggested that despite his intention, that was his effect. Perhaps, I offered, he might be gentler in his approach and convey more of the good news to passers-by.

In this current atmosphere of inflammatory rhetoric, it is too easy to loudly attack one another. I hope that we might be aware that though we may intend to counter lies we are hearing, it may be having a different effect. Perhaps we are only increasing the tension, adding our own collateral damage.


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