By Randy Yerby

“…no so you better keep your act straight.”

“…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

One of the older gentlemen that I visit with at the gym was telling me how he unknowingly inspired a man to lose weight and get healthier a few years back. Bob (name changed), a 77-year-old man, still runs regularly and often enters local running events. It was at such an event that a spectator saw him run and thought, “I’d like to be able to do that” and started making changes little by little that eventually ended up with him running several marathons a year. All of these events were chronicled in the local newspaper, which is where Bob learned he had been this man’s inspiration after reading the article. He commented this morning, “I walk around thinking I’m invisible and was surprised when I learned that I’m not.” He went on to say, “People are watching, so you better keep your act straight.”

It’s impossible for us to completely comprehend the boundaries of our circle of influence. Whether for good or for bad, daily we touch the lives of all we come in contact with. Not only are those with whom we directly interact affected by our moods, our attitudes, and our prejudices; but so are the ones around us who observe our conduct. Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching.”

So much of human behavior is learned by observation, in fact, one researcher (Albert Bandura) suggests that “most human behavior is learned observationally…” The apostle Paul recognized this truth when he said, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). Peter said, “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives…”(1 Peter 3:1). Nowhere is this truth seen more clearly than in the family, where children model the behavior they see in their parents. This reality ought to give us pause to consider how we act, or react to the situations of life. In a somewhat different context, Peter asks, “What manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness?” (2 Peter 3:11)

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” (John Wooden)

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