Business bullied my heart this week and pressing responsibility squeezed tight. The littlest one bore the brunt of it. She usually does. As I felt the crush of expectation, mostly my own; and drive to accomplish, my words turned sour and sharp. How could I think about, write about, celebrate mercy, and yet so shamefully neglect to give it?
I'm reminded once again that I am sorrowfully broken, so easily misguided. Even the best of my intentions, without God breath, are a puff of dust leaving a dry taste in the mouth.
Perhaps that easy distraction, a slipping into the love of boxes and rules instead of truth, isn't so new a problem. In Acts Paul mentions a group of women, devout, God fearing women, who were easily stirred up to love their own way more than the truth.
And so the Word of the Lord [concerning eternal salvation through Christ] scattered and spread throughout the whole region. But the Jews stirred up the devout women of high rank and the outstanding men of the town, and instigated persecution against Paul and Barnabas and drove them out of their boundaries. Acts 13:49-50The truth of Christ is always met with opposition. What is scary is that it can be met with opposition even in the most devout. Truth always requires a response, a bending with or standing opposed. It strikes me in this passage that the women mentioned had the opportunity to affect the whole community, for good or bad, with their actions and words.
Do I realize, do you realize, the power our words and attitudes, actions and choices have on those around us? Our children are watching, our husbands listening, the young women we teach, the facebook community we interact with, the women we have coffee with, they are all influenced by us.
Women are influencers with the power to "instigate". Sometimes it's hard to look in the mirror, but I think this question bears attention. How are we influencing? Are our words negative, biting into the heart of those listening, leaving behind a trail of doubt and cynicism; are they self exalting; are they colored with rigid religion, fear, or pride?
Or do our words wash others with an outpouring of hope, fresh as rain, quenching parched hearts. Do we speak of mercy, forgiveness, trust? Do we confess our fears and weaknesses, doubts and lack of understanding in humility? Do we celebrate the spread of Christ's eternal salvation, for all people?
Our influence as women in our communities is powerful and not to be taken lightly. I'm convicted regularly how short I've fallen, how careless I've been with such a sacred trust.
I'd love to hear from you. How do you guard your influence? Do you have women in your life who hold you accountable?
You can leave a comment here or head over to the Allied Women website and join in the conversation in the Mentoring forum. We would love to have you!