Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- July 17, 2011
“Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.” 1 Corinthians 10:6
Bad examples can be effective teachers. You may have been exposed to poor parenting as a child. Let this be a lesson on how not to parent. Do not default to the bad habits of your mom and dad. They did what they could, but now you know better. Do not stay mad at them for their poor example. Rather, learn from them. Display the opposite of their attitudes and behaviors that were counterproductive and relationally destructive.
Your supervisor at work may not be the best in the world. In fact, he may be a jerk. Humility and patience are the only things keeping you from lowering yourself to his volatile temper and demanding spirit. One day you will be the boss, and because you have been a victim of the wrath of an insecure leader, you will not do the same. You do not wish their dysfunctional management on another. You are learning from this leader, who is a bad example. Do not stay angry with them, but thank God instead, that by His grace you will not be the same. Instead, you will be a loving and loyal leader.
Or, maybe your lessons from a bad example stem from a friend or colleague. You have witnessed the pain and the sad consequences of their poor choices. Their example of bad decision-making is loud and clear. Their impulsiveness and inability to receive advice is literally destroying everything and everyone around them. Others have chosen to worship the gods of this world. Sexual immorality, money, ingratitude and busyness have all eroded their ability to enjoy God, enjoy people and enjoy life. You can learn from their mistakes. Use this time to take notes of what not to do. Whatever someone of ill repute does, simply do the opposite. Over time your good example will shine as a light of hope to those who walk in the darkness of their bad example.
There may come a time when you seem to be the only hope for those who have stumbled around in their bad choices. Be there for them. Your current ability to refrain from caustic criticism will earn you the right to help them when they finally turn from living badly. You are no better than them, just better off. Do not let your good example in many areas go to your head. It is only by the grace of God that you are not a poster child for behaving badly. Your good example is an asset that God has blessed you with, and as such it is not to be taken for granted. Also, do not let your good standing become a pulpit to preach down to those who are poor examples. Your life already speaks louder than your words. In a good way you are providing hope for those around that seem hopeless.
Bad examples do not need a lecture over the plight of their errors. They already feel the hollowness of self-absorbed living. What they need is someone who will accept them but not their lifestyle. Bad examples are really searching for good examples. You have been blessed with the moral authority to help. Bad examples need help badly. Do not do what they do or say. Do the opposite. Learn from their failures and mistakes. Be there for them as a good example. Bad examples can be good teachers. Therefore, go to school and learn from them!
Taken from Dose 59 in the 90-day devotional book, Infusion.
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