Practice Being a Positive Influence
We’ve all spent time with our friends, judging that girl’s outfit or the way she looks or how she talks. We’ve said unkind things about people who are different from us or hard to get along with. We’ve also been on the other side of things; we’ve felt the stare of people as we walked by or heard someone whisper our names and giggle. This is totally not cool, and it hurts!
Paul in the Bible understood this, and he instructed the church to be different, to be better than that. He wrote in a letter to the Colossians, “Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone” (Col. 4:5–6 NLT). This advice has such wisdom and will never go out of style. Kindness is always in! However, it’s not easy.
Just like any habit, it takes practice, and practice isn’t easy. Practice is time we put in to better ourselves and accept failure as growth. In any sport, you have to fail a hundred times before you reach that goal, score that point, or win that game.
The same goes with kindness, or as Paul put it, “attractive conversation.” Think about that: Not only is it good and kind conversation, but attractive. This means it literally draws people in. People are so accustomed to hearing put-downs and negative comments that when they hear something kind and good, they are naturally drawn to it. We have the power to draw people to us just by our attitudes and what we say by always having attractive conversation.
The second part of that verse falls right into place along with that. When you practice gracious and attractive conversation, you naturally say the right responses to people. This is all part of actively choosing to be different. People are naturally sinful and judgmental, and there’s too much of that. Being different seems so hard and can be tiring. But it is so worth it! You can affect so many people, more than you realize. You can be a light to everyone around you and then some! With social media, we can reach anyone in the world. However, it’s just as difficult—if not more so—to be different on social media because people will say anything! But there’s a verse for that too! James tells us to “consider it all joy when we encounter various trials” (James 1:2), meaning when you post a positive comment or message on social media that people try to tear down or call crazy, you should be happy about it. That sounds totally backward, but that verse goes on to say that “the testing of your faith produces endurance” (James 1:3).
Choosing happiness when people try to tear you down only makes you stronger. So, share that post, make that comment, be a positive influence however you can! Use that as a tool to share Jesus and start some attractive conversation. Social media posts are full of put-downs, and they all blend together so much that good and attractive comments stand out. People need positivity and something to be drawn to. We have the power to bring that to the table. I know from experience it’s hard to always be kind. If it was easy, everyone would do it! Kindness is a choice, just like all the fruits of the Spirit. You have to wake up and choose to have that attractive conversation that draws people in. Then it will just come naturally. But we first have to take that step to choose to lift people up and encourage them for Jesus.
Kayla Moore is a 2021 National Acteens Panelist from Lewiston, Missouri.