Lately I’ve been reflecting on the effects that our lives can have on others. I’m struck by the people who have touched me and how different my life would be like without some of those people, good and bad. I think about my friend who first invited me to youth group and how that changed my life forever, how it brought me back to the faith, allowed me to let Jesus love me, led me to major in theology – all because one person invited me to youth group.
I think about people who have changed my life in other ways. I think about a guy I dated who showed me that love is real, that a real man will pursue me, will honor and cherish my heart, body, soul and mind. He gave me hope that real men still exist; real, honest, godly men are out there.
I think about people who have told me that I’m not worth it, that I’m not lovable. I think about people who allowed me to believe those lies, the people I partied with in college who told me that “everyone does it” and that getting drunk was normal and fun, so keep doing it. I think about how those people changed my life…and they did, but not necessarily in good ways.
You see, we all have the ability to change someone’s life. It could be in a simple invitation to youth group, or it could be an invitation to have just one more drink, then another, and another. Every moment of every day we have the choice, we choose our words, our actions and we choose to affect others by the words and actions we choose for ourselves.
By our very lives we can change so many others, we can show them Jesus in our words and in our deeds. Or, we can show them the absence of His light, we can usher in doubt, confusion, frustration and disappointment in others. We can create ripples of love. If that one person hadn’t invited me to youth group, I may have never really fallen in love with Jesus, I may have never majored in theology and become a youth minister and had the opportunity to witness to teens across the country (and hopefully changed their lives in someway). All of that because one person invited me.
Or, we can create waves of uneasiness. That one person in college invited me to have a drink, then have another and another until the road I was traveling on became very dark and very lonely, despite the promise of new friends. I drank and had “friends” and suddenly there were guys that wanted to hang out with me. I could have (and thanks be to God I didn’t) continued down that path to my spiritual, and perhaps even my phsyical death. All of that because one person invited me.
So what are you going to do with your life? What are you doing with it right now? Are you inviting people to know Jesus? Are you creating waves of uneasiness for others, or ripples of love?
Let us love.