Over the course of my life I have been around so many different people. There have been narcissists, to genuine people. When I was younger I was more willing to be influenced by the people I surrounded myself with because I was willing to believe that if they were doing whatever they were doing it must be ok. I mean why would I hang out with them if they weren’t the true deal? As I matured and got some life experiences under my belt I learned that in most situations people will do what is best for them. They will believe and act it a way that will benefit them. If by chance others benefit from what they have done, that’s great, but this is so backwards from the way we should be.
I often refer to the fact that we should be influenced and should follow along with the greatest teacher/leader there ever was. Christ Jesus influenced people. He did it not for His benefit but for theirs. He loved the unlovable and took people society would call outcasts and made them into people that society held with respect. These outcasts were no different than you or I. They would do things to benefit themselves and even their families. They would use their power (if they had it ex: King David) to further their cause. They would offer their help in return for shelter from the authorities in their town (Hagar). One woman even complained to Jesus about having to do all of the household chores while her sister chose to sit and listen to His teachings.
We have “influencers” today as you know . We all have seen one or two of them as they show us how to dress better, cook better, dog train better, whatever it is we sit for hours watching their little reels/posts. Our kids run to us asking yet again if they can show us this “funny” video. I can tell you I have watched so many videos on how to apply my make up like a professional, which is silly since I where so little make up you might as well say I don’t wear any at all. I watch parents and their kids dance to some popular song just so I can wish to dance like they do. I allow these “influencers” into my free space for the sole purpose of killing time. When I could be influencing my kids, myself, my family to do something better for the greater good.
The people I have around me influence me. I am older and wiser in knowing that I don’t have to believe in or do whatever it is they do, but ultimately little bits here and there get processed and stored in the back of my brain. The same goes for what I do and say around them. So as a Christian do I force my thoughts and religion onto those I am around? Of course not, but I also stand my ground when I don’t feel comfortable about something said or a situation in which what I believe is being made fun of. I would rather influence in the way Christ did, with compassion, and grace. He loved but didn’t accept wrongdoings. He would teach in a way that made the student think and come to their own conclusions. He would guide and be patient. There was no competition on who was more popular, who was more “right”, on who was “better for the part”. He was who He was without explaining Himself, without forcing.
When we chose to open our mouths in anger or in love we need to think about how this will affect the person receiving what we are dishing out. Sometimes they need to hear what is being said or see what is being “acted out” but in other situations they don’t. We are responsible for our words and actions. We are responsible for how we want to influence people, though we are not responsible for how they ultimately get influenced. Each and every day, hour, minute we make choices that can harm or help. Think about the best people you know. Why are they the best in your eyes? I can almost bet it’s because of the way they treated you, or the way they treated or talked to others. I can bet it’s not because of how nasty or mean they were. Think about that the next time you feel you need to make your presence known. Until next time:
Chase goals, not people
Celebrate your small wins
Take a break if you need it
Do something that makes you feel good
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