It can be easy to fall into this trap, but the short answer is NO! You can influence someone, but you cannot force a person’s decisions.
Because of how God has created us, we have free will to make any decision that we want. However, as a Christian it is our responsibility to make sure that we don’t do anything that would cause others to stumble.
Romans 14:13-23 teaches us that while we are not directly responsible for the decisions of others, we must make sure that our action does not lead someone to stumble and fall. For example, if I know my sister or brother have a problem with high blood pressure, I would not invite them to dinner and feed them food that’s high in sodium. My responsibility would be not to put my brother or sister in a position that I know would cause them pain, regret or to stumble.
Being a person of influence is critical! You don’t have to be well known to influence someone. What about the people we come into contact with daily? Let’s turn our daily encounters into an opportunity to sow positive seeds of time, talent, resources, kindness and encouragement.
A great way to positively influence someone is to start when they are young. Spending time with your nieces, nephews and also kids without a father or mother is an opportunity to sow seeds that take root and will blossom years later as adults.
Think of a happy time from your childhood. I remember the kind words and actions of my aunts and uncle. The adults in my life were sowing seeds of kindness long before I understood this concept.
We are responsible for our own actions, but let’s credit the people around us for their positive influence and, more importantly, God for bringing these people into our lives.
Seated in Him,
Shevon L. Sampson