Our theme for this month: “Character and integrity”
Our Bible verse for today: “For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done for you.” John 13:15 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Attitudes are caught rather than taught”
The disciples were inspired by Jesus. Oh, they learned from Him too – in that they listened to His words, memorized the lessons, and took them to heart. They also observed His conduct and modeled their own on His. So there was learning taking place for sure. But more than being taught by Jesus they were being inspired by Jesus. They wanted to be like Him and so they made an effort to follow His example. His passion for honoring the Father, His commitment to blessing others, His love for people, His willingness to sacrifice for the sake of others, all inspired the disciples to copy His behavior.
We read a similar account in Philippians 3:17 where the Apostle Paul urges his readers to consider his example of passion, faithfulness, and service, and to then follow it. Those that did accept Paul’s teaching and follow the example he set for them did so not so much because they were taught to, but because they were inspired to.
You’ve probably heard it said that racism is a learned behavior. It’s true. Babies aren’t born hating other babies because their skin is a different color. Children learn racist beliefs and behaviors from the adults in their lives whom they look up to and admire. Children are inspired towards racist attitudes because the people they are closest to, those they look up to and are most influenced by, are racist.
It’s really true that attitudes are caught rather than taught. That’s especially true when it comes to children learning from and being inspired by the adults in their lives, but it’s also true adult-to-adult. I’m sixty-five years old but I’m still surrounded by people I admire and whose examples inspire me to want to be a better man.
What attitudes are others in your life “catching” from you with respect to character and integrity? There are people close to you – children, teens, and other adults, who admire you and who are influenced by your attitudes and behaviors. How do they see you acting? What do they hear you saying? Are you a man or woman of character and integrity who others might want to be more like?
Attitudes are caught much more than they are taught. I encourage each of us to give careful thought to who we are, what we are like, and what it is other people see as they observe us and listen to us.