We get to influence each of our relationships. And in some relationships we have a clear responsibility to use our influence to care for and guide others – to wisely lead them. And in these relationships in particular we must regularly step back and discern the fruit of our influence.
When we care for others we naturally take seriously our responsibility to provide them with God’s best. We don’t want them to fall short of all God has for them and so we do all we can to motivate changes in their life.
But in our zeal to help we can actually bring harm to the very ones we’re called to serve. We become so blinded in our eagerness to promote right living that we miss how our actions are causing bitterness to take root in their heart.
How are the hearts of those under our influence?
Are they thriving?
Or, are they suffocating under the weight of our demands and expectations?
Certainly we shouldn’t water down God’s truth for our lives simply to make others comfortable.
At the same time, we do well to regularly and humbly consider our approach.
Is it possible our influence needs to be seasoned with more grace, understanding, and gentleness?
Is this not how we’ve learned Christ who is able to understand our weaknesses without compromising God’s standards?
Pride is likely the culprit when others don’t follow right living as we think they should and our desire to bring them good turns into contempt.
We must discern the fruit on all fronts.
Does the weight of our influence bring out a prideful intolerance in us that blinds us from other points of view? And does our influence cause others to despair and become resentful?
On either front, something in our approach needs to change whenever this is the case.
What is the impact of your influence? Is it producing the fruit of deep love, joy, and peace?