1 Corinthians 4:16 (New International Version)
16Therefore I urge you to imitate me.
1 Corinthians 11:1 (New International Version)
1Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
I felt like a bottle of soda pop that someone had given a good shake as the anger sparked by the actions of another, boiled up within me. I had a sack full of emotion and I didn't know what to do with it. These emotions take up residence within us--that's the problem. You can't just put them on a shelf and come back and think about them later--at least I can't. We carry them around with us wherever we go, and like corrosive stomach acid, they burn a hole in us unless we do something with them.
Of one thing I was sure, I wanted to honour God in my response and so I asked him to help me. I've lived long enough to have had plenty of practice at doing things my way, in other words, the wrong way. Anger is such a dangerous thing, but it isn't a wrong thing. It just needs handling carefully and God's way.
I love the way it is put in these verses from Ephesians:
Ephesians 4:26 (The Message)
26-27 Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don't use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don't stay angry. Don't go to bed angry. Don't give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.
So I prayed and God answered. I saw a way to deal productively with the situation that had bothered me so much, with a calm spirt and no judgement.
What I hadn't thought of was the power of that example for good. Being older in years, we don't often think about the fact that younger people are watching us. They see the gap between what we say we believe and what we do if there is one. The only way to get it right is to: "Follow the example of Christ."
I found this poem about the power of example. It's about a child watching the adults in their lives, and it makes the point perfectly.
The Power of Example
(Through the Eyes of a Child)
What Children Can Learn - Just by Watching
When You Thought I Wasn't Looking
-- by a Child
A message every parent should read, because your children are watching you and doing as you do, not as you say...
"When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator, and I immediately wanted to paint another one.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you feed a stray cat, and I learned that it was good to be kind to animals.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you make my favorite cake for me and I learned that little things can be the special things in life.
When you thought I wasn't looking I heard you say a prayer, and I knew there is a God I could always talk to and I learned to trust in Him there.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you make a meal and take it to a friend who was sick, and I learned that we all have to help take care of each other.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you give of your time and money to help people who had nothing and I learned that those who have something should give to those who don't.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I felt you kiss me good night and I felt loved and safe.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you take care of our house and everyone in it and I learned we have to take care of what we are given.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw how you handled your responsibilities, even when you didn't feel good and I learned that I would have to be responsible when I grow up.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw tears come from your eyes and I learned that sometimes things hurt, but it's all right to cry.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw that you cared and I wanted to be everything that I could be.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I learned most of life's lessons that I need to know to be a good and productive person when I grow up.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I looked at you and wanted to say, 'Thanks' for all the things I saw when you thought I wasn't looking."
Each of us, parent, grandparent or
friend, influences the life of a child.
What are YOU doing when you
think your child isn't looking?
About the Author:
Mary Rita Schilke Korzan, author of When You Thought I Wasn't Looking wrote this poem as a tribute to her mother. It was first published anonymously in A Fourth Course of Chicken Soup for the Soul and has since traveled around the world, touching the lives of countless grateful parents. To find out more about Rita and her latest book, When You Thought I Wasn't Looking: A Book of Thanks for Mom, visit her website: