“The other day,” Stan mentioned one morning, “I admitted to you about my unpleasant tendency to whine and complain.” [Note to reader: See the posting for January 7, 2022, “Some Cheese might go nicely with that Whine”.]
“You did,” I responded. “About that being your native language if you’re not careful.”
“Exactly,” Stan said. “And there’s another part of that story about Paul and Silas I would like to mention this morning.”
“You’ll remember,” Stan replied, “that Paul and Silas were in prison in some dire circumstances.”
“But rather than whining and complaining,” I said, “they were praying and singing hymns of praise to God.”
“That’s it,” Stan said, “and you know who was listening?”
“Most certainly,” Stan replied, “but also the other prisoners. And that’s an important lesson for me in my faith walk.”
“Seems to me,” Stan said, “it’s pretty much a given that what the other prisoners heard had a positive impact on them. Here were two prisoners, Paul and Silas, locked in stocks in a dark dingy prison, and they were giving praise to God.”
Continuing, he added, “I think it’s equally true that if Paul and Silas had been whining and complaining about their circumstances, the other prisoners would have been impacted negatively, thinking that they were just like any other whiner or complainer.”
“And how does that impact your faith walk?” I asked.
“Knowing that how I respond to circumstances can and probably will have an impact on others. Will my response be as a Spirit-filled Christian, or no different from the response of anyone else?”
“You’re right,” I responded. “We never know for certain who’s listening. If I’m complaining and whining, that doesn’t present a very good picture of who I claim to be as a Christian.”
“Yes,” Stan said, “and in the opposite way, if I am praising God in difficult circumstances, it may make a difference in other people’s perspective on what being a Christian is all about.”
“And,” I added, “possibly encourage them to want to find out more.”
“Bingo and Amen,” Stan responded with a smile.
Bible verses to consider:
But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Acts of the Apostles 16:25.
. . . be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord. Ephesians 5:18-19.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you bring me into circumstances and give me the opportunity to represent you well by praising you. You know how often I fail to praise you because of what is going on in my life. Please forgive all of my failures to represent you well, to have missed the opportunity to make a difference in another person’s perspective of what it means to be a Christian. You know how much help I need with this, and I ask you for all you can provide. Please help me in following every step of your lead in praising you regardless of what’s going on, knowing and accepting the truth of the “all things” of Romans 8:28. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: People watch what we do and they listen to what we say. What they see and hear can have an impact on how they view Christians and Christianity. Do you agree with that? Why or why not? Have you ever responded to a circumstance in a way that you wished you hadn’t because it did not reflect well on who you are as a Christian? If so, what was that all about? On the other hand, has there been the opposite, where your response did have a positive impact on someone else? If so, reflect on that and see how that can be made a part of your life on a consistent basis.