The Domino Effect

Back before the swill and slop of Late Night shows such as Stephen Colbert and Noah Trevor, there were some good Late Night shows–Johnny Carson being one of them. I remember one of his guests was this person who had built an enormous display of falling dominoes. I couldn’t find it on YouTube, but the above video shows what I’m talking about. This incredible demonstration all began by knocking over one domino. All the others fell because of that one, single domino.

The Domino Effect doesn’t happen with only dominoes. One single event creates a cascade of effects beyond the initial event. Here’s a modern day example. President Biden orders the halting of the Keystone XL pipeline. This in turn created an instantaneous hike in the prices for fuel. This increase in fuel costs caused the agricultural industry to spend more to gather and process their products leading to an increase in food prices. It now costs more for shipping companies to get the goods to our stores. The retailer in turn has to charge more otherwise they go bankrupt. It costs us consumers more to go to the stores. Rising costs of fuel and staple items cost families and individuals more–leaving them with less disposable income. The same amount of income buys less since prices have risen and continue to rise. This is just one example of how one decision has an effect on so many other things.

And it’s not only in the arena of economics. One decision, one choice on our part has an impact–sometimes immediately–but always inevitably. The decision to be angry at someone or some event leads to frustration. That frustration creates anxiety. That anxiety fuels distrust. The distrust leads to doubt. The doubt leads to the loss of peace. The loss of peace leads to despair. The despair leads to that dark place where we either become bitter–or worse–we become apathetic.

The power of one decision goes way beyond the moment. As Serious Followers Of Jesus, as Citizens of the Kingdom of God, cannot afford to be involved in this downward spiral. And our world cannot afford it. There have been periods in the history of humanity, where one decision led to the collapse of friendships, families, communities, nations, and empires. And in those same times, the One Choice by a follower of Jesus became that First Domino that created opportunities for the transforming power of God’s grace to produce a different outcome. Think about this Domino Effect:

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Romans 5:3-5 (NLT)