Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Contagious People by Kevin Sluder

Have you ever been feeling kind of low, and then you run into one of those people that are always smiling? Their words of encouragement and their actions always seem to build you up. When you say goodbye you are almost floating on sunshine. Even when you know they are personally struggling with something, they find a silver lining. This is a contagious person.

…And then there is the other end of the contagious scale. You know, the person you do your best to avoid. They are critical and degrading in almost everything they say. Even the good things around them have a gray lining. The cloud of despair is so thick you feel like you’ve been through a downpour when you finally escape.

Contagious people. Understand, all of us are contagious, but most of us are somewhere in the middle between the two extremes. We should make ourselves more aware of the power of our words. We can’t always count on there being a Susie Sunshine around to brighten things up. We should be prepared to offer a kind word, a bit of encouragement, or just a shoulder when needed to counter the gloomy Gus' of the world.

This should be especially true of Christians. So why does it seem too many of us are walking around with grumpy frowns? When we realize our sin is forgiven and our place in Heaven has been reserved and assured, shouldn’t we be smiling?

I am not talking about putting on a fake church face like we all do from time to time. I know life can be very painful and circumstances can be so difficult you may find yourself struggling just to put one foot in front of the other. I am talking about having an inner joy unspeakable even in the struggle that comes from knowing the Savior and knowing these burdens are temporary.

Jesus was contagious. He drew people to himself with his compassion and his love. Think about this - Jesus was homeless and he carried the fate of the entire human race on his shoulders. Sure he was the son of God but he was also fully human. How did he do it? He did not concentrate on the hardships of the day (or the past). He looked beyond the cross to the promise of eternity.

The next time you are tempted to cut loose some words of gloom and doom, instead dwell on the eternal and spread a little Sonshine. While you are at it give Gloomy Gus a hug. I’m not promising rainbows but it will brighten his day, and yours.

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