When we think of influence it's usually in a positive light. But what about influence that's down right destructive?
A lot of leadership advice emphasizes the power and value of influence, as well it should. Leaders do have influence upon those they lead.
What happens when leaders, at any level, including parents and siblings, exhibit a bad example and have undue influence on others? Their influence is still felt, but in a negative way.
This week's study in Proverbs features only a few verses, but they have a strong message. It could well be called, "How Not to Influence People."
There are six things that the Lord hates, even seven that are disgusting to him:
arrogant eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill innocent people, a mind devising wicked plans, feet that are quick to do wrong, a dishonest witness spitting out lies, and a person who spreads conflict among relatives. (Proverbs 6:16-19 GW)
[Context– Proverbs Chap 6:1-19]
six things... the Lord hates... seven are disgusting to him
- What stands out to you about these seven things the Lord hates and is disgusted by? Why do you think it's stated as six things, then seven? How would that help people remember these?
- Which of these seven things seem similar? Do some of these traits seem to connect together in some way? If so, which ones?
- Is there an overall element or theme that seems to connect all seven of these hated things? Why do you think the Lord especially hates these seven things?
- How do you see the seventh one related to the other six? How common is this last one, and why do you think this is so?
Make it personal...
Which of these seven things do you see in yourself at times?
Which one of these bothers you the most wherever you see them?
What are ways you can keep yourself from these things?
How can you protect yourself from this kind of influence from others?
What are keys to dealing with attitudes of the heart that result in arrogance, deception, evil acts, and spreading discord?
We all have influence in someone's life. Most of us have more influence than we realize in other people's lives. Think about people you interact with in any way, especially in more public settings. Think of your interaction with people who serve you in restaurants, or other service businesses, including customer service calls. What kind of example are you in other people's lives?
Are you known for humility and honesty? How about kindness and integrity? Do people trust who you are and what you say?
How about people who are closest to you, are you an encourager or someone who sees the best in everyone? Or, are you more of a complainer and see the cup half-empty in most situations?
Our influence can have a good or not so good effect. When God is the Lord of our lives, our influence on others should reflect His influence in us.