The Way

Who determines what direction our life takes? The media? The president? In the same vein of the post from yesterday, the greatest influence in our lives usually comes from the people closest to us.

Have you ever watched how children respond to mice/snakes/insects? Or respond to jokes, affection, or fear?

They inevitably react in a learned fashion.* I'm not a father yet, but when I am, a relish the ability to teach my children how to respond to presents at Christmas time. I look forward to teaching them not to put that cigarette butt from the ditch in their mouth. Or on a more serious note, I hope to teach an attitude towards other humans that is respectful. I hope that I can teach my kids that when someone hits you, you don't hit back - there is more power (or rather, the denial of power) in active non-violence than getting in a punching contest.

Anyway, as I was saying, we often learn our best responses to stimuli from those closest to us. Crazy as it is, I learned how to sneeze from my Dad. We have this cough/sneeze thing that can pierce your ear drums at close range. That can't be genetic, can it?

Those closest to us teach us simply through doing life that we rarely think about the drama, our reactions, or

Its just who we are, right?

wrong.

We have been lied to. Well, maybe that is harsh... let me try again - we have learned incorrect ways of responding. Whether it is a crisis, a funny joke, or what to do when you are bored, (and occasionally, unintentionally) we don't respond in the best way. From the most important responses to the smallest and least important reactions, it has become who we are.

I can't remember the quote, or who said it, but its not what a person does when others are watching that defines them, but who they are when no one is watching.

The cool thing to me about Christianity is that it promises (and here is the truth) that the way we live our lives can be changed. You can learn to respond well to life.

How do we do that? Draw closer to someone who knows how to respond to everything. We have well-meaning and often wonderful people in our lives that matter the most to us. But they aren't perfect, and the best ones will admit it. In that admittance is not just a, "hey, deal with it, you aren't perfect either," but instead a challenge to seek out one who is perfect and learn from that one instead.

Rather than drawing a line in the sand with those who respond like we do, lets step back, look around, and find someone who has it all together. And by all together, I mean unwavering faith, steadfast love, and a disarming clarity.

This is the way of Christ. Like children, we can learn to respond like Christ to all things in life. Its not impossible. Its tough, for sure, but you can do it because Christ pulled it off. Of course, I'm not talking about altering your revulsion for spiders but instead the way we treat other people.

How you react to life shows not only what you are made of but who is closest to you. Lets show just how important Jesus is to us (if you call yourself a Christian). And if Jesus isn't important to you, you probably don't have to look too hard to find someone who at least occasionally embodies the same spirit, to which I'd say, draw closer! You'll find Jesus is more important to you than you thought.

*I'm not oblivious to the fact that some things are instinctual. People jump at a loud bang, are repulsed by the smell of poo, and smile at people. These things are universal. But those things that aren't, are called mores.