The Power of Example

Many years ago in Missouri, a minister of the gospel made a very bad mistake in moral judgment that came back years later to haunt him and to hurt many others.  Through a combination of trickery, conniving, and scheming, the minister stole a man’s dog.  That was bad enough all by itself, but to make matters worse, the minister involved his two little boys in the deception and theft.  After the dog had been stolen, the two little boys helped their dad disguise the dog so the rightful owner could not recognize or claim him. The boys thought it was fun and they enjoyed the trickery and plotting.  The boys thought it was great fun to take away the man’s dog.

Some years later, the minister came to a realization of the effect of that one deceitful act.  He had taught his sons how to steal and in doing so, he helped turn them away from the Christ-like spirit of love, kindness, goodness and respect for others.  And he reportedly said, regretfully: “It was a terrible mistake on my part.  I was able to keep the dog, but I lost my sons.”

The names of those two little boys were Frank and Jesse James and they grew up to become two of the most notorious outlaws and robbers of the old West. Their minister father never forgave himself.

This true example is dramatic but it is true, so true, that our children (and others!) do indeed watch us closely and learn so much from what we do.  Not just our children – but other adults watch us to.  What are they learning from watching you?

Everyone is setting an yours a good one?

PRAYER: Keep us from deceit, from setting bad examples that others might see that would lead them from following you!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

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