Saturday, June 3, 2017

What Kind of Influence Are You Having on Other People's Lives?

Rembrant's Artist in his Studio
(If the canvas is your life, and you're the artist,
what kind of picture is going to come out?
(And others will see it, even if you don't want them to.))
The other day, I was catching up with a friend, and I asked what I can pray for him about. It's not a usual question I ask him or others in general.

So his response was: "Why?"

I said, "Because I want to."

"But why?"

"Well, this week, I was catching up with another university friend. And he says, 'Less talk; more pray.' So, we prayed together, and it helped."

Then I said to him, I think we need people like him in our lives. And my friend agreed.

The conversation had me thinking a lot.

What kind of influence am I being on others? What kind of influences do you have on others? From your heart, are you passing on good or evil with your actions, words, attitude, and thoughts?

I can't always say I've been the best influence on others. In fact, I can remember the harm I caused in certain relationships, and can only say that I regret some of those moments.

It's no wonder though that Scripture commands us to be salt and light. In fact, Jesus says:

“You are like salt for the whole human race. But if salt loses its saltiness, there is no way to make it salty again. It has become worthless, so it is thrown out and people trample on it.

"You are like light for the whole world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl; instead it is put on the lampstand, where it gives light for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine before people, so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven."

There are a number of important points about the passage, but the one that stand out to me is this. Both salt and light, in the message, are meant for a greater community. This version says we're salt for the whole human race. It says we're light for the entire world. That means we're commanded to be good for the benefit of those around us.

I think it's also important to remember that salt and light are great disinfectants, meaning that they have the properties to destroy evil. Take mold and throw it in sunlight, or drop it in a high concentration of saltwater, and it'll die.

Similarly, being good isn't about being quiet and not causing trouble. Part of the definition means we have to take an active stance against social harms and evils that we see. Evil and darkness can't exist where the salt and light are.

Finally, with reference to light, the light brings the lost back home. And that's what we're supposed to do.

So, that's the take away point for me this week: Be salt and light.

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