Everyone is a model of some kind. You and I are modeling behavior, style, or even attitudes every moment of our life, even when, probably especially when nobody is watching. Far too often I find myself limiting who can model to the beautiful, strong, or in charge. As I walk I find myself following the eyes of the young and weak. You can see their eyes track and follow the strong. Strength can come in many forms – a bold style, a confident word, or a walk that speak far more than any words might. Even my own eyes track and note the bit of strength I admire. It is as if my soul knows it needs to follow, yet it is never sure of whom, when or why.
My reflection today isn’t about following. The focus and question is on modeling. We are models far more than we realize. In a moment of arrogance a stranger can observe strength and make a note of something they should follow. In a response of frustration and anger to something truly unjust we tell a young follower that justice and revenge are the answer to every slight. We set an invitation for others to follow. Perhaps we should attach warning labels to what others see. A “I’m tired” so ignore the next sequence of decisions and choices. Or a “this is a moment of weakness” please ignore all that follows. Even a “I don’t know what I am doing” sticker could help! Yet life doesn’t work this way.
Something was wrong in the leadership of the Roman soldiers. Without apparent command or urging, after beating a man pronounced innocent, they “having braided a crown from thorns, set it on his head, threw a purple robe over him, and approached him with, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ Then they greeted him with slaps in the face.” (John 19.2, 3)
Today we step out into the streets and set a pattern. What will it be? How will others see our instruction? Will compassion, mercy, and unconditional acceptance be the primary commands?
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