Sometimes you can see similar character traits within those of the same family. Common verbal phrases, food preferences, mannerisms, dressing styles, etc., enable people to quickly point out what family they are from. Values and motives of the parents can often be seen in the children, so we often hear the expression, “He’s just like his father.” Common ways of dealing with struggles and challenges can also be transmitted from the parent to the child. If the parents have uncontrolled anger, consume alcohol or use other substances to escape problems, if faults are covered over through lying, if emotionally charged words are used to manipulate the response of the children, then these too are modeled and transmitted to the heart and nature of the children.
It is not just the parents that influence the children, we become like the people that we spend time with. This is why the scriptures exhort us to remember that bad company corrupts good habits, 1 Cor. 15:33. We could continue to talk about parenting and being good role models for those around us, but on a more personal question we need to ask ourselves, “Who do we reflect?” When people look at our lives, who do they see in us?
I was recently in a conversation where another Christian was attacking my character, my lifestyle and my faith. I realize that my life is not above criticism or correction, but as this Christian sharply criticized me I couldn’t help thinking that, “I don’t think that Jesus would say this.” I realize that at times Jesus was very sharp and direct with His words, but this was only when addressing the rebellious and those unwilling to change their ways, He never spoke that ways to those who were eagerly wanting to walk in His truth. The negative statements that this Christian expressed were never spoken or even implied by Jesus when talking to one who loved God and was trying to honestly walk in the ways of the kingdom. I kept thinking after the end of the conversation, “this is not how Jesus would have spoken!”
It is easy to criticize that “other person”, but the challenge is, what mannerisms of Jesus do people see in me, and what mannerisms of others do people see in me? Do people see mostly the actions, values and words of Jesus in me, or do my actions reflect the influence of others? In Acts 4, when Peter and John were speaking, the rulers and elders marveled and realized that these men had been with Jesus, vs 13. Something about Jesus was so evident upon these disciples that others could clearly sense that they had been with Jesus.
Lord Jesus, I want Your nature to be reflecting through me in all that I do. Help me to show more of You to the world around me.
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