Shine Little Light, Shine
Most of you who know me personally realize that I have a little brother, Gabe, who is about to turn two. He's the cutest thing in the world with blue eyes, sandy blonde hair, and perfect little lips. Of course, I forget how cute he is when he's tormenting my toy poodle, Mitzy, or screaming at the top of his lungs when I bring him in from playing in the dirt, but he really is adorable. 

At two he's starting to talk a lot more and lately we've been noticing how much he imitates us. Anything you say from "dude!" when a car pulls out in front of you to "shut up!" when Mitzy won't stop barking her shill bark at a car driving down our gravel road. It's a little scary when you realize how much of an effect you have on your little siblings. It's definitely a reminder that your actions and your choices affect more than just you. But it's a good reminder and it also makes you realize that your behavior and decisions affect more than just your family. 

I have a real problem with the "f" word and "g** d***" and so does my friend Abraham. Anywhere we go there's sure to be someone who can't speak a sentence without including one or both at least once. Since it's a free country, I usually just turn to the person and say sweetly "watch your language" or mimic Abraham saying "clean words, not dirty words." You'd be surprised how many people apologize and are more careful about what they say around you. I just started getting in the habit of doing so and it simply amazed me. True, some people look at you like you're crazy and ignore your request but most will try not to say anything offensive in your presence. 

I doubt that many people watch their language with anyone else or that they think twice about it later but it does prove to you the point that there are still people willing to "step up." It's so much easier just to ignore it but how many times has a parent, teacher, or minister told you that your peers influence you more than you know? So I figure, if the people I spend a lot of time with really do influence me that much, why not just eliminate some of the influence by influencing them first? I don't have to worry about slipping up and cussing because I'm around it so often and I become numb to it but rather I might do some good by getting people used to not doing it in my presence. 

We are the salt of the earth and the light of the world with Christ working in us. Even little things like asking someone to watch their language, whether you refer to swearing or perversity, is a way to let that light shine. You don't have to be rude about it and you don't have to be self-righteous about it, just be yourself and don't worry about what others might think. Just remember how much your actions influence others and pray for God's spirit. You just might be surprised with the results. 

By Erin Puckett