When I see someone (whom I’m close to and very open with) doing something wrong, I’m quick—too quick—to tell them exactly what they’re doing wrong. I don’t always say it in the kindest way possible, and it comes across more like throwing stones than kind reprimands. So, it usually leads to an argument, in which I keep shoving down their throat how wrong their actions were.
It’s clearly not the best way to affect change.
I know that when I’m in the midst of an argument and someone angrily lashes out at me to tell me something that I’m doing wrong, no matter how true their words may be, I’m far less likely to take it to heart than if they chosen a different time or method to instruct me.
Now, that’s not to say that we should use our anger as an excuse to ignore friends and family trying to point us in the right direction when we’re doing wrong. But it does give us insight into how we can better point others towards Christ.
Recently, someone complimented me on a good fruit she saw in me. She said seeing that fruit in my actions encouraged her to start striving to be more like that.
That wasn’t the result of me pointing my finger at her and telling her exactly what she was doing wrong and how she should fix that.
Rather, she saw the example Christ created in me, and that was what encouraged her.
I know just as much as the next girl that leading by example is hard. For starters, it means that we have to actually lead by example. That means fully surrendering all our actions to Christ and letting Him guide us. Tough, right?
Even beyond that, though, it’s difficult because many times, it can seem fruitless. It can seem like our example isn’t actually doing anything to point others towards Christ, and if we could just tell them what they’re doing wrong, we’d have much greater of an effect.
And sometimes, especially when it comes to our fellow believers, kindly and gently informing them of their sinful behavior is good. In fact, the Bible tells us to do just that, in Matthew 18:15-17. However, we need to be careful that we’re doing so from a place of love, not out of anger.
With that being said, let us not diminish the effect a good example can have on others, especially on non-believers.
They need Christians who are accurately portraying Christ in their lives, especially in our world today.
We have far too many people touting Christ’s name but not being true representatives of Him. They are putting their own wicked schemes above Christ’s righteous plans, making it all the more important that non-believers have a chance to see through us what Jesus Christ really is like.
It can be difficult. It can seem fruitless, especially when it seems those false representatives have much more influence than we do. But that’s where faith comes in.
When we are leading by example for Christ, we aren’t relying on ourselves to effect change. We are relying on Christ to change us, and in turn, to draw others towards Him. We are simply vessels for Christ to use.
Therefore, we need not lose hope. We simply need to lean back and surrender ourselves to Jesus, and trust in Him to use us as He sees fit.