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Proximate Cause

Published on:

20 November 2023

I recently completed the Property and Casualty Insurance licensing course. One of the important principles that I learnt was the processes of chain events that lead to losing precious properties known as proximate cause. Proximate cause in insurance is defined as “an active, direct, and efficient cause of loss that sets in motion an unbroken chain of events which bring about damage, destruction, or injury without the intervention of a new and independent force.”

California wildfire is more or less becoming an unfortunate annual event. In 2016 alone, many communities experienced fire disasters in the state. About eight fatalities were reported in the year and many acres of lands were burned and destroyed. About a thousand homes were lost in so many fire incidents in the state. Many assumed that the prolonged drought in the state was the cause of the wildfire. Although the drought might have contributed to it in a way because the woodlands were dried up, it will be erroneous to think that drought was the proximate cause. Drought does not produce fire on its own. It is the unbroken chain of events of an individual’s activities in the dried woodlands that leads to the uncontrollable hostile fire. Perhaps this individual made a campfire in the woodlands in the night and slept off. In the process, the wind blew the active hostile fire to light up the already dried woodland. Or perhaps the person carelessly and negligently tossed the unquenched burning cigarette butt upon the dry litter in the wood and the little fire began the catastrophic wildfire. In no time, the wind helped to spread the fire in the wood.

An example of a little fire that caused a catastrophic destruction is the story of the terrible incident that happened in the household of King David. “But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother: and Jonadab was a very subtle man. And he said unto him, Why art thou, being the king’s son, lean from day to day? wilt thou not tell me? And Amnon said unto him, I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister. And Jonadab said unto him, Lay thee down on thy bed, and make thyself sick: and when thy father cometh to see thee, say unto him, I pray thee, let my sister Tamar come, and give me meat, and dress the meat in my sight, that I may see it, and eat it at her hand.” (2 Samuel 13:3-5)

The unbroken chain of events began when Amnon took the evil counsel of Jonadab. He deceived his unsuspecting father to permit Tamar, Amnon’s half-sister to come and feed him. Tamar unwittingly accepted to be a good sister to render a kind and tender loving care to her brother. She did not have any clue of the evil plot that Amnon, her blood related brother, was about to rape her. Amnon took advantage of the kindness of her sister. Amnon did not consider the pleadings of his kind sister that was pleading and begging him not to dip his hands into abomination. Amnon persisted in his evil quest; he did a despicable act of incestuous defilement in the palace of King David, the servant of God. King David, their father, was very furious when the evil report in the family came to his knowledge. The wicked act of Amnon further triggered off unprecedented hatred between Amnon and Tamar’s brother, Absalom. With hatred deep in the mind of Absalom, he invited Amnon his brother, to a get together party where he ambushed Amnon and killed him in revenge for defiling his sister.

The proximate cause of the sinful acts of the children of David and the revengeful death of Amnon was as a result of the ungodly evil counsel of Jonadab, the friend of Amnon. This sounds familiar. The three way attack strategy of Satan is to steal, to kill and to destroy. “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy …” (John 10:10) Satan was the proximate cause of the sinful disaster that wrecked the beautiful relationship that Adam and Eve had with the Creator in Eden at the beginning. The Devil made unsolicited entrance into the garden and lured the first family to fall into sin. The mission of Jonadab, the agent of destruction in the household of David, was similar. Jonadab had the grace of offering a good advice to Amnon, but he chose to be the Devil’s Advocate. Amnon could have had control over the situation by refusing the evil advice of Jonadab, but he swallowed the bait: hook, line and sinker. As a result, the domino effect of the evil counsel led to a catastrophic situation in the family, even to his own death.

Can you recollect the proximate cause of the events that has brought untold sorrow and harrowing disaster into your life?  Is there a Jonadab, an unholy friend in your life, the agent of disaster that you need to beware of and part way with?  Is the love of money the proximate cause of the problem in your life? For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (1 Timothy 6:10)  Are the inordinate characters and cravings the proximate cause of the problem you are facing? “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5) Is reckless running of your mouth in pride, arrogance and stubbornness the bane of your life? “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.” (James 3:5-6) Are you exploring the world of occultism, ignorantly seeking for illicit power, but not realizing that power belongs to God? “God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God.” (Psalm 62:11) Engaging in consumption of recreational drugs and alcohol may be the way the worldly people are defining enjoyment, but this has been the proximate cause of the destruction for so many lives.

Beloved of the Lord, the counsel of the righteous has come to you this day, that you may curtail both your physical and spiritual losses by yielding to the precepts of righteousness. With prayer unto God for courage to overcome perennial evil thought, you can choose to save your life and the lives of the generation you belong by living in the counsel of the enriching word of God. Apply the Godly righteousness to turn off the proximate cause of disaster and sorrow in your community. “Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.” (1 Peter 3:11-12 NLT)

Prayer:  Oh Heavenly Father, guide me in the journey of my life. Give me the courage to operate in your righteousness to prevent me from becoming part of unbroken evil chain events that will bring sorrow and disaster unto mankind in Jesus name, Amen


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