Attitudes are contagious too

Some of the worst things in this life are contagious. I managed to come down with a really horrible respiratory bug of some kind that pretty much knocked me down for two weeks. I’m still coughing, but I feel much better. Unfortunately, I gave it to my parents.

I feel pretty terrible about bringing this bug home, but at least I know what to expect as far as they go. But colds and sicknesses aren’t the only awful things that are contagious.

sicknessToday’s verses are Numbers 13:30-33.

But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!” But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!”

This is one of the classic stories from the Old Testament. Moses sent 12 men to spy on the land God had promised to the Israelites before they attacked. The 12 men came back with two varying reports. Not about the beauty of the land. No, they all agreed on that. What they disagreed on was whether or not God could keep His promise.

The Promised Land was full of giants, and 10 of the men were certain that nobody was big enough to defeat them. They were so certain, they convinced the rest of the Israelites. And the army refused to march on Canaan. If you know the story, that’s why the Israelites ended up wandering in the wilderness for 40 years. If they would have done what God told them to do, things would have been different.

But what I find interesting is that not much has changed today. Attitudes are contagious. What you feel or what you think can influence the people around you. So have you checked your attitude lately?

Your perspective on a situation or a person or place can affect what other people think about it too. So if your perspective isn’t right, you could be poisoning the perspectives of the people around you.

Of the 12 men who scoped out the Promised Land, only two were willing to put aside their own personal fears because they believed God would keep His promise. They focused on what God had promised and what God could do rather than the obstacles that were in their path. But 10 men insisted it was impossible–even for God. And they spread that message around the camps until they had convinced the people to see things their way.

In my experience, people usually skew toward the negative anyway. They don’t need any help believing that God won’t come through or that an impossible situation can’t be overcome.

So what is the role of a Christ-follower in that circumstance? Well, it certainly isn’t to turn people against God’s plan.

Maybe you’re going through a tough time right now. Lots of people are. But have you thought that the way you approach that tough situation might affect the people around you and how they see it too? It could. Attitudes are contagious.

That doesn’t mean we should live in denial and always see sunshine and daisies even when life is falling apart. We aren’t called to live blindly. No, we should live honestly. We should take the same perspective about life and our troubles that the two men who saw the giants did.

They didn’t lie about the giants. They didn’t convince themselves that the giants could be friendly. They accepted the fact that the giants were impossible for them to defeat, but they saw how much larger God was in comparison. Sure the giants were impossible for them to fight, but God is bigger than any giant. That’s what they focused on.

That’s where we need to be, friends. Life is full of troubles and struggles. We all have our giants to face, but we need to keep them in perspective. Maybe they’re too much for us to handle, but they’re not too much for God. And the way we see those problems will affect the people around us.

Our attitudes will either pull people toward God or push them away from Him. So which one do you want to be? Faith is contagious too, you know. So if you’re going to spread something, what would you rather it be?