It was a simple but profound question: “Why would I let his attitude dictate my attitude?” When I read those words in my daily devotional, I said out loud, “Wow … why would I?”
Unfortunately, it would be impossible to count the number of times I’ve done just that. Attitudes are contagious—both good and bad. It’s easy to pick up someone’s offense and become angry because, well … just because they are, especially when you care about that person. Being around someone who is critical, judgmental, and loves to gossip is like getting too close to a flytrap. It’s hard to avoid getting stuck in the gooey mess. Even associating with someone who is constantly negative can steal our joy and rob us of our peace. Before we know it, we’re commiserating with them and spouting off those same negative words.
The fruit of the Spirit is … self-control. And self-control is an art, practiced and perfected over time. It begins with a choice and becomes easier as we learn to restrain our impulses and emotions, refusing to let others dictate our thoughts, words, attitudes, and behavior. In other words, we become responsible for our own actions. Proverbs tells us that a person without self-control is like a house with its doors and windows knocked out (THE MESSAGE). Ouch!
I can’t help but wonder how many times my own bad attitude has rubbed off on others. Early in my marriage, I would get upset when my husband didn’t jump onto my emotional roller coaster. Whenever I was angry and wanted to argue, he would just grin and walk away. He refused to let my attitude affect him. Trust me … I have learned much from him over the years.
The good news is we can also be contagious with our smiles, laughter, encouragement, and positive attitudes. We all have someone in our life who makes us feel better just by being around them. We always leave their presence better than we were before. Jesus said, Let your light so shine before men. Why? So that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Shine the light today and be contagious with the love of God. Others will be drawn to that light and your Father in heaven will be glorified.
(Photo courtesy of morguefile and pippalou.)
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