Reverberation

I love sound. Music, bass, laughter, explosions in movies, I’m just a fan of sound in general. There was a time in my life when I thought I might end up being some sort of sound engineer or music producer or something, and truthfully it’s still a field that interests me greatly. One aspect of sound that you come to learn a lot about as a musician is reverb, which is short for reverberation. The definition for reverberation is prolongation of sound; resonance, and also a continuing effect; a repercussion. The wikipedia page for reverberation calls it the persistence of sound after a sound is produced, which I love. I suppose you could also call it an echo and not be too far off the mark.

I had a powerful exposure to reverb recently that showed that this isn’t just a concept for sound, but for our actions as well. A common teaching we hear as believers is that people are looking at us, that we’re living examples of Jesus’ love and teachings. If I treat someone rudely or am unfair towards them, what are people around me learning about Christians? That we don’t practice what we preach. What are they learning about God? That those who proclaim to follow Him are no different than they are.

Before I continue, I want to look at a few Bible verses. You’re probably familiar with the first one.

Luke 6:31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

Philippians 2:4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

It’s that old forgotten friend, the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. But it’s not the golden rule that I want to talk about today, but instead, it’s about the reverberation of our actions. When we interact with someone, there are three possible things that the person we interacted with is going to do.

They speak positively about the interaction.

They don’t tell anyone about the interaction.

They speak negatively about the interaction.

The are some people who live alone, or maybe just don’t have any friends or family members, and no matter what your interaction with them is, chances are they’ll never tell anyone about it. However, much more likely is that whoever you interacted with has at least one person in life that they talk to about things. That means that through our single interaction with someone, we actually have a reach into more lives. You could interact with a person and they could go back to work and tell ten co-workers about it, who in turn might tell five, who in turn might tell two. So your single interaction with this one person suddenly became a testimony heard by 17 people.

Here’s another example of how this works. My brother told me this morning that he met a super nice lady while getting coffee this morning. He said she was very kind and that her kindness really made his morning. Her kindness and warmth didn’t just touch my brother’s life, it also touched mine, and now I’m sharing it on this blog, which means it’s touching even more lives. Her one on one interaction is now reaching multiple lives.

That’s an example of how a one on one interaction becomes a testimony that reverberates into other lives. That leaves just one question, really. What’s that testimony gonna be? Are we interacting with people in a way that displays the love of Jesus to them? Are we going above and beyond for people, impacting as many lives as we possibly can with the love and goodness of our God? Are we living our faith at the laundromat and the grocery store the same way we’re living it in front of the pastor at church on Sunday? What’s the story people tell to their friends about you after the two of you talk? Do you make enough of an impact to be talked about at all?

Here’s a statistic for you, one I’ve learned at my job as I train in marketing and word of mouth. People tell negative stories to twice as many people as they tell positive stories to. So let’s rewind a few paragraphs and look at those numbers I presented. You have an interaction with someone, but this time, it’s negative. So now they go back to work and tell twenty co-workers, who in turn tell ten people, who in turn tell five. An interaction that would’ve reverberated into 17 lives if positive has now reverberated into 35 lives because it was negative.

I saw this very type of a situation unfold recently, and I guess it just put this whole thing on my heart. I usually try not to preach on this blog, but today it’s just on my heart to preach this. We have to start taking more seriously our responsibility to represent Jesus to others. My testimony is written minute by minute, day by day. It is the way I treat the waitress at the restaurant, my reaction to the rude person at the store, the way I handle gossip at work, my gestures and mannerisms when in heavy traffic, and even my overall attitude. Jesus was the sound, we are His reverberation. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be responsible for distorting the beautiful impact that Jesus made when He walked this world. He was kind and wise, gentle yet committed to right and wrong, and He always put others before Himself. How many people did He actually interact with while alive? 100,000? 300,000? Yet how many lives have those interactions reverberated into in the 2000 years since His death? Billions and billions.

That’s the example. That’s the pure sound we’re called to echo. Do good, and those you interact with will tell some others. Do bad, and those you interact with will tell even more others. Do neither good nor bad, those you interact with won’t have been impacted enough to tell anyone about it. Pressure’s on, because we’re walking the path of the one perfect man, the King of Kings, Jesus. If there’s one thing we take seriously in life, it should be that. It should be our commitment to being living examples of Jesus to everyone we interact with, to draw them to Him through our abundance of love and kindness, through our commitment to doing that which is right, even when that which is right isn’t what’s popular or comfortable. I’m not perfect at this. I wish I was, but I’m not. So know right now that I’m talking to myself just as much as anybody. I want to be a man who follows the Bible and lives by it always. I want us to be that as a people. I want people to see the echo of Christ in us, and I want to see that reverberate through their entire sphere of influence.

1 John 2:6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

PRAYER AND CLOSING

Father God, today I’m just so thankful for your son.  Jesus, thank you for the example you set.  Your ministry lasted just 3 years, but man, did you blaze across this world!  Look at the reverberation of what you did and what you were.  Tonight, Jesus, I just thank you for your faithfulness, for your strength of character that allowed you to resist temptation and carry out your mission of love while you were here on earth.  You still reverberate on this earth, Jesus, and I ask right now that you help us be those beautiful echoes of you.  Jesus please help us, because without you we can’t do it, but I so desperately want to always be representing you.  In every situation, not just the easy ones, but the tough ones!  You showed grace under pressure, strength under temptation, and love against hatred.  Let our lives be a reflection of who you are, Jesus.  Search our hearts, find the places where we’re not measuring up and go to work on our insides.  I’d rather be nothing than to be a negative representation of you.  I’d rather lead people nowhere than lead them away from you.  Remind us of the gravity, Jesus, remind us of the eternal stakes that are on the line.  Heaven or hell?  Which are we going to represent when we interact with people?  Which way are we going to influence people to go with our words and actions and attitudes?  Remake our hearts, Jesus, let us be just like you.  Give us the strength you had, and the wisdom, and the love.  And please, give it to us now.  People around us need it now, so I ask for the fulfillment of this prayer now.  Thank you for all that you are and all that you do.  Thank you for your example, Jesus.  In the precious name of Jesus I pray, amen.

It’s already Tuesday even though it feels like Monday.  Three day weekends are loopy.  I love you guys very much.  It’s not easy trying to mimic Jesus, but the Bible doesn’t say it’s easy.  I think we’re too comfortable, too convinced that our lives are supposed to be easy.  Read the life of Jesus or any of His disciples and tell me which of them had it easy.  Eternal life with Jesus in paradise will be easy, let’s accept that sometimes life on earth right now is gonna have some hard times.  Sacrifice now so that we can help bring others to Jesus, and let’s enjoy our rewards together in the next life with our Lord.

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