The other day when OJ was busted in Vegas, he uttered the pithy maxim “….I thought what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” Of course he was wrong. Breaking and entering, gun brandishing and threatening, apparently don’t ‘stay’ in Vegas.
But that is an interesting concept: what happens here, stays here. No one else is affected, right? But do we live in a vacuum? Do we sin in a vacuum? Aren’t our lives more relationally connected than this? Even the movie Crash depicts that. Even more than that, our most personal and private sins actually influence our present relationships.
For instance, if I look lustfully upon another woman, then I’m devaluing, and not being captured by the beauty of my wife. She will inevitably receive less of my love and attention when I’m at home.
If I harbor anger in my heart against another, I may be unable to listen attentively to another. I’ve had this happen plenty of times. If I’m regularly deceitful to another (as you see in the Vegas commercials), I will begin to deceive others and be more prone to deceive those I love.
Even if the smell of smoke, Herpes, or a huge gambling debt doesn’t follow you back from Vegas, what happens there certainly doesn’t stay there. In the same way, our ‘personal’ or ‘private’ sins never stay that ‘personal’ or ‘private.’ They actually have big relational and communal ramifications.