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Better Influence: Christian Perspective

I remember a "Peanuts" strip in which Marcia telephones Charlie Brown:

"Guess what, Chuck...the first day of school, and I got sent to the principal's office. It was your fault, Chuck."
"My fault?" Charlie Brown replies. "How could it be MY fault?  Why do you always say everything is MY fault!"
"You're my friend, aren't you, Chuck? You should have been a better influence on me!"

Oscar Pistorius

I’m thinking today of those folk whom we have held up as heroes to the point of celebrity.  Then there is a shocking revelation that undoes them:  plagiarism, unethical behaviour, ill-violence. Their reputation is ruined, we question every good thing they have ever done.

We need stronger influences for good in the lives of young people.  As a secular community, there is often a void in ethical preparation of our young.

What are good influences?

Are you a good influence?

People of faith have stories, teachings, that set them on the path of influencing others well.  But we all face temptation.

For Christians it is reassuring that Jesus was tempted.  The story is told that he fasted for forty days in the wilderness and then was tempted to use his own power for his personal gain.  This happened at the beginning of his ministry, and it sets him on the course which will lead to his death.

Philip DeFranco you tube sensation

And that course includes so many teachings that, as we hear them through our childhoods, provide a foundation for making good decisions throughout life.  I often say, ‘Even if I were an atheist, I would bring my children to this church.’  Because the foundation is laid for life in a way many other activities do not.

What are these teachings?  Too many to list here, but they will be familiar to people of faith. St. Paul summed them up in this list:  love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, , gentleness, self-control and faithfulness.

When faced with a decision that will affect you or others, do you automatically ask yourself,

  • Is my choice loving?

  • Will it produce joy in others?

  • Will it create peace?

  • Does it reflect patience?

  • Will it show tolerance of others?

  • Is it kind? good? gentle?

  • Am I showing self-control?

  • Is it faithful?

If you automatically ask yourself that, you will be on the path to stay out of trouble yourself, live a spiritual life, and be a better influence on others.

It’s not the whole story, but it’s a start.