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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Los Animas River Gold King Mine

Unfortunately for folks in southwestern Colorado and several surrounding states, it's more than a
matter of staying out of the Los Animas River.  Due to a mishap by some federally-supervised workers
in which there was a blowout in the Gold King Mine in the mountains above Silverton, millions of
gallons of toxins that include mercury and arsenic are in downstream water supplies. It has
contaminated domestic wells and endangered fish and livestock. It has negatively impacted tourist
industries that rely on customers who raft, canoe, and fish in the river.  It has impacted
irrigation and city water intake facilities.  All from a single incident in a mine hundreds of miles
away from some of the affected areas (information via Denver Post online, 8/10/15).

Who knows how this will ultimately be resolved, but a lot of people and money will be thrown at the
matter until it is finally resolved.  A problem that started in a relatively small, remote area has
finally become a national story.  As the river continues to flow, the troubles continue to compound.

Have you considered the power of your influence?  A single conversation, an impulsive act in a
moment's time, or a thought unchecked and fed all can lead to outcomes that spill into a lot of
lives and potentially do damage that could not be anticipated.  David learned this (2 Sam. 11:1-2). 
The young lads from Bethel learned this (2 Ki. 2:23-24).  Judas learned this (Mat. 26:15).  So many
others in Scripture, from thoughts to words to deeds, learned of the destructive power of negative
spiritual influence.  It can cause spiritual babes to stumble (Mat. 18:6), the offender to stumble
(Mat. 18:8), the world to blaspheme (2 Sam. 12:14), and so much more.  No amount of remorse, regret,
and retreat can undo the toxic damage it does.

If you find yourself in the "clean up" stage, realize that with time and effort you can work to
counteract the impact of poor influence.  There may be lingering consequences, but you can mitigate
that through genuine repentance.  It doesn't have to end catastrophically, as it did for Judas.  It
can end triumphantly, as it did for Peter.

Keep in mind, too, that positive influence works the same way (Mat. 13:33).  A kind, righteous
thought, word, or deed can trigger a powerful effect that leads the lost to be saved and those on
the broad way to turn onto the narrow way.  You may never know it in this life or see the end result
of it in your lifetime.  May the great power of our influence drive us to our knees and fill our
thoughts with how we may use our lives to bless and help the lives of others, knowing that, for good
or bad, our lives touch way more lives than we think.

Neal Pollard

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