Who Follows You?

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives ,when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 1 Peter 3:1-2

Maybe you think you are not a leader.  You are not usually the one in charge of a project;  you have never been the president of an organization;  you prefer to work behind the scenes.  However, according to the Via de Cristo talk on leaders, we are all leaders because we all influence somebody.  The people we influence most are those within our own family.

The verses above, from 1 Peter, give us a picture of how this might be done.  It sounds contradictory, doesn’t it?  Lead by submission?  How could that work?  I like to think of the Biblical concept of “submission” as putting another person first. Submission isn’t being a door mat, accepting abuse, or losing every disagreement.  It is about caring for someone deeply enough to put their needs ahead of your own.  The Bible actually tells us to do this, not just with our spouse, but with others in our family, our congregation and even the world. This kind of behavior often makes people sit up and take notice.  It earns their trust.  It makes them willing to listen to what you have to say.  It can make them want to emulate you out of gratitude and respect.

Did you know what the biggest factor in determining whether a child continues to attend to church when they grow up is?   It’s whether their father attended church.  Do you know the most frequently cited influence on a person’s faith life?  The answer is “my mother.”  Do you know why most people attend a church for the first time?  Because a friend invited them. Make no mistake, people are watching you every day–the people at work, your spouse, your children, your friends, your neighbors, even the cashier at the grocery store.  Do you use your influence for good?  Do they see a life of “purity and reverence?”  You are somebody’s leader;  think about that responsibility and take it seriously.

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Who’s watching?

That is a more loaded question than I’d like to admit. And it leads to other questions. Like why and with what motives would a person be observing anyone else’s behavior? I mean, are they looking to catch you in the act of doing something wrong because you’re not well liked? Or are they looking to catch you in the act of doing something right? Because, well I don’t know why. Of course, this line of questioning comes from an admitted self-proclaimed observer.

As a parent I am all too aware that my children, at least, are watching me most, if not All, of the time. I was probably more aware of it when they were smaller, when they repeat not only what is said, but what is done. No cursing without thinking, no being a little to obnoxious or rude. And heaven forbid you roll your eyes. Cuz, it’s not so cute when they roll their eyes back at you.  Cause and effect. And the cause and effect of that . . . is that one watches one’s behavior much closer. It part because now you’re aware, and in part because you want to do and be better. For their sake’s. Of course failure is indeed an option, that will occur on regular basis at various levels.

Then the funniest thing happens, you end up watching them. As a parent we fall in love with our children from the moment they are in idea put in our brains. And as women we get the special privilege of falling in love with every bump, squirm and wiggle that we are fortunate enough to feel while pregnant. Then BAM! Before you know it, they’ve arrived in this world and the watching takes on a whole new level. We watch them yawn, move, sleep, and grow as if they’ve been injected with miracle grow from the start. We watch them learn, laugh, cry and get angry. We see how they play and imagine, most of the time with the box that the expensive toy you just bought them came in.

So, really who’s watching who? Both I’d say, yet, as human beings grow older we realize more, see more, understand more . . . hopefully. And if that is the case, then wouldn’t it stand to reason, that as adults, we can glean a wealth of information from the children God blesses us with? What could we learn from the way they love us when we sometimes don’t deserve it. Or from the way they seem to bounce back from sickness, eager to play again. Or even from the way they imitate behaviors of our own and others that we wish they wouldn’t.

Society might benefit greatly from talking less and looking more. Society would certainly also benefit from pausing on occasion and paying closer attention to their surroundings. To take a break and watch is a fruitful endeavor in it’s own way. Really watching is another word for learning. And in it’s biblical use watching is also about record keeping, we are tasked with paying attention and truthfully re-telling what is seen. There’s real importance in that.