All of us influence others whether we realize it or not, even when we’re not trying to and, as Christians, we’re called to be God’s imitators, examples of Christ, setting a positive example in our speech, conduct, love and faith.
“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”
– 1 Timothy 4:12
Every single one of us sets some kind of example. We may not realize it. We may not be trying to. But we do.
Why does each one of us set an example? It’s because other people observe us. And that’s beyond our control. People are going to look at the things we do and say and draw a conclusion about them. They may view us positively or negatively. Either way, they’re going to have an opinion.
There’s an old cliché about a mother telling her kid: “Just because everyone else is going to go jump off a bridge – it doesn’t mean you should do it.”
But the problem is, that’s exactly why some people do the things they do. A lot of people tend to imitate other people. It may be peer pressure, “monkey see/monkey do” or idolizing someone else, or admiring the things they do, thinking their every action is cool.
People may choose to imitate things others do that are actually harmful. This is why things like racism, hate speech and discriminatory actions persist generation after generation.
We have to be conscious of the fact that people are always watching us and may make decisions to imitate the things we say or do. They may also choose to discard them. But the most dangerous thing of all is that, some people may view the negative things we do in a positive way.
Therefore, knowing that all our actions make an impression on someone else – shouldn’t we consciously try to think about and control the impressions we make? If at all possible, shouldn’t we try to set a good example and be a positive influence on others?
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.”
– Ephesians 5:1
Positivity starts with eliminating all negativity from your mind. You need to adopt a new mindset. What the Bible calls “the new self,” clothing your mind and heart with the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Lord God our Creator.
To do this, we need to look to God as our influence and imitate His example of holy thought, words and behavior
“and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”
– Colossians 3:10
Positivity is a byproduct of a loving mind. The Bible gives us instruction after instruction to help develop a loving mindset.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
– Colossians 3:12
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”
– Philippians 4:8
The Bible shows us how to remove negativity from our thinking. When we focus on ourselves instead of others, we can become selfish, prideful and egotistical.
“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.”
– 1 Peter 3:8
When we don’t consider forgiving others for their mistakes, we can become angry, bitter and resentful.
“Be kind and tenderhearted to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Eliminate revengeful and hateful thinking from your mind. Such thoughts only continue to perpetuate evil. Instead, pray for others to turn from evil and to turn to God for the renewal of their hearts and minds.
“Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.”
– 1 Peter 3:9