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Keith Wishum: Be contagious

“Yep. Lot of that goin’ ‘round.”
You hear that often as we comment on the various ailments common to certain seasons of the year. It’s just a fact of life that we are contagious; we constantly infect each other with our germs.
Have you ever considered that we also infect each other with more than just germs? We spread our attitudes, and our behavior is contagious, too.
If you are around complainers, what will you tend to start doing? If negative minded people keep telling you your dreams are foolish, what will you likely start to believe? If your friends engage in destructive behavior, aren’t you lured into following them?
There is good news, however. The process also works in reverse. For example, consider David. You may remember him as the shepherd boy who killed the Philistine giant, Goliath.
Notice something about what David encountered when he visited his older brothers at the battlefront where Goliath was taunting the Israeli army. David found that every soldier including King Saul was “dismayed and terrified” (1 Samuel 17:11). They had infected each other with a doubting, negative attitude. For 40 days they had cowered in fear.
They tried to spread their fear to David as well. When he volunteered to fight Goliath, he heard, “you can’t do it; you’re just a boy” (1 Sam. 17:33). His brothers were angry and called him conceited because he dared to do what they would not.
Yet, when the battle was won and the giant lay dead, the “men of Israel surged forward with a shout and pursued the Philistines” (1 Samuel 17:52). They caught David’s courage! One man daring to go against the currents of popular opinion turned the tide for a whole army.
You and I can do the same. We have a choice. We can be like everybody around us. Or, we can be the one to turn the tide. If complainers surround you, find positive things to say. If others are headed in the wrong direction, lead them in a different way.
Whatever germs of goodness are needed where you are, spread them like cold germs in pediatric waiting room in the middle of January. You be the one to infect others. Be contagious in a good way.
Wouldn’t it be great for someone to comment, “This certainly is a pleasant place”?
And you could answer, “Yep. Lot of that goin’ ‘round!”

Keith Wishum is minister, Williams Road Church, Americus.