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A couple weeks ago, I mentioned a time when I felt I was collateral damage, a victim of the sins of others.

Since then, I’ve been thinking about all the hurting hearts God has brought across my path the past few years.

Men whose wives have chosen another.

Women forsaken by the one they desperately love.

Young people abandoned by their biological parents.

Children whose parents are unable to break the chains of substance abuse in order to care for them.

So many hurting hearts.

And I realized they all had one thing in common.

In each case, the hurting heart was caused by the sins of another.

Perhaps you are in this place today?

A place you did not choose to be, but a place you find yourself because of someone else’s choice.

It’s a painful place to be. A place where the tears fall and the heart breaks.

A place filled with agonizing “whys” and “what-ifs.”

A place that can lead to despair.

A place where I lived a few years ago.

I don’t have all the answers to why God allows us to be damaged by the sins of others. But I’d like to share something that helped strengthen my faith when the storms of doubt threatened to overwhelm me.

I had been reading the story of Job, and how Satan challenged God. Satan told God the only reason Job served Him was because God protected and blessed him.

“But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.” (Job 1:11)

We know the rest of the story. God allowed Satan to destroy Job’s life. His wealth was gone in an instant. His children were killed. His body was ravaged by disease.

And yet, Job refused to curse God. Though his life was completely destroyed, he would not give up his faith in God.

And then it struck me.

What if this isn’t just about the people who chose to hurt me?

What if it’s also about me, about the trying of my faith?

What if, in the spiritual realm I couldn’t see, there were forces of evil challenging God?

“You see your daughter down there? Sure, she says she loves you. She says she will always trust you. But watch what happens if you let someone hurt her. See what happens if her world falls apart. She will never trust you again. She will never serve you again. She will turn her back on you forever.”

At that moment, I determined those forces of evil were not going to win. I would not allow the sins of others to keep me from believing in a good and loving God. And I would not stop trusting God.

Looking back now, I’m so thankful for this choice. I know if I would have let bitterness consume me, my children would not be where they are today, active in church and loving God. I know those I taught would have faltered in the faith. I know I would have missed opportunities to lead souls to Jesus.

If you have been hurt by the choices of others, I’m so very sorry for the pain that bears down upon you. I’m sorry we live in a fallen world where people are so easily blinded. I’m sorry for your tears and your broken heart.

Please don’t give up your faith. Keep trusting God.

You never know what great things God has planned for you, if only you will keep the faith.

All of heaven may be watching, hoping, praying that you refuse to lie down in defeat.

“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” (Luke 22:31-32)

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)