The Butterfly Effect : How Thoughts Today Change Tomorrow

Can my simple wandering of the mind lead to destructive sin passed down to my daughters, and their kids, and their kid’s kids?

Seriously, my evil thoughts could change history?

Am I over thinking this? I don’t think so. 


You’ve heard of the “butterfly effect,” right? 

The butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions. The name butterfly effect comes from the theory that a butterfly who flaps her wings here in the United States could, in essence, trigger a hurricane on the other side of the world. That one small nuance and history can be drastically changed forever. You’ve seen It’s A Wonderful Life where George Bailey is able to see what life would look like had he never been born. Yup, the butterfly effect. 


And look at King Saul in 1 Samuel 22. He goes from being God’s annointed and chosen king to an all-encompassing obsession with David. Saul grows increasingly more paranoid that David has convinced random people (the priests) to plot against him. So Saul has them murdered for no reason (THE INNOCENT PRIESTS AND THEIR FAMILIES)!! This slippery slope is described by Meyer, from Enduring Word, like this:


What a warning is here that we should not yield to the first intrusion of evil, lest the thought should lead to the act, and repeated acts to the habit, and habits congeal to character, and character become set in destiny!


Sounds like the butterfly effect. 


James warns us of this “thought-to-sin” cycle when he says,


Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. (James 1:14, 15 NLT)


Exactly what happened to Saul. Exactly what will happen to me if I don’t guard my heart. The butterfly effect. 


So my ponderings on this chapter of 1 Samuel today make me see what an unguarded heart can lead to..a destiny of death and a poor infrastructure to build on for my lineage. I MUST not let my thoughts wander..for the sake of my grandkid’s kids. 


Guard your heart above all else,

for it determines the course of your life. (Proverbs 4:23 NLT)


Have you witnessed the butterfly effect in your life? 

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  • Cassie

    I have definitely seen the butterfly effect in my life. There are SEVERAL things that have happened in my life that I feel have been carried down from generation to generation. One being that my grandmother, mother, and myself have all had eating disorders touch our lives in some way or fashion. I went through this time in my life over 14 years ago. I knew of my mothers battle with an eating disorder in her early twenties, as she shared it with me during this time. Only a few years ago did I find out my grandmothers battle with an eating disorder as well. I think it is no coinsidence that this has been passed down from generation to generation. I have worked and continue to work very hard to not pass this down to my two girls.
    On my phone I have always had the verse “Above all else guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.” Proverbs 4:23
    I am reminded every day to protect my heart by staying in God’s word and having an ongoing relationship with the Lord. It is the only way!

    • Thanks Cassie for sharing..your walk is an inspiration to me. Keep on truckin’! (I think that’s my new 70s fun phrase.)

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