I had the flu a couple of weeks back. It was bad. Everything ached. My hair hurt. Boxloads of Kleenex and gallons of Nyquil. You know what I’m talking about. Your head aches so bad, you’d swear there’s little guys up there with jack hammers.
Anyway, I’m better now, even though congestion persists and the energy isn’t quite back to normal. I’m sure I passed the stuff along to some poor soul who is now coughing and hacking like I was a few days ago. I really didn’t mean to pass it along. I’m sure whoever I got it from didn’t want to pass it to me either. Someone coughs in an elevator or sneezes in a hallway and the flu is transferred. Influenza is influential.
It reminds me of something Erwin Raphael McManus said in his book, Chasing Daylight.
” Have you ever looked at the middle of the word influence? What do you see? It’s hidden right there, F-L-U. That’s right, the flu. People who are influential pass on what they have like the flu. If you don’t want what they’ve got, stay away from them because they’ll sneeze all over you. “
I think Erwin has something there. You see, there’s no way to keep from exerting influence on those around us. Just as unintentional as passing the flu to someone, is the certainty of influencing others by who we are, what we say, what we do.
Children are perhaps the most outstanding example. They notice how adults around them act and they mimic what they see. A child who is exposed to prejudice and hate will find it hard to resist repeating those behaviors themselves.
Thankfully, there is a positive side to influence. We can expose those around us with kindness and longsuffering and peace…. You get the idea, the fruit of the Spirit stuff. See Galatians 5:22ff Go ahead, get your Bible and read the whole list. The Bible is loaded with such exhortations to live healthy, wholesome lives. Go on a quest and you’ll find countless other passages that say similar things. The Bible tells us we will influence those around us and it exhorts us to make it wholesome, healthy and holy while we are at it.
Living as a Christian is, by nature, intentional and infectious.
We are influencing people even when we don’t realize it.
Someone’s watching us, observing and catching what we have.
Let’s make sure we are passing along things which are wholesome, healthy and holy.