We are having revival at church this week so we had two services as usual on Sundays but it continues through Wednesday. It was such a powerful sermon! He talked about negative influences in our lives. My blogging friends who follow me have heard me talk about this in the past. It was so great to hear it reaffirmed though through God's Word.
First he talked about family and he gave several examples of personal stories where family (maybe just one person or more) manipulates and constantly speaks negatively against your faith and your devotion God and being involved. He talked about how (for example) a mother can be such an influence to their son or daughter by always speaking negatively about your spouse. He had story after story of people he's counseled over the years that deal with this. Or they make you feel horrible about yourself. How many kids you have, etc.
Then he talked about friends. We may not necessarily talk bad when we're with them but we allow them to talk bad about others to us. Who we hang out with and fellowship with can really affect us in so many ways. Even if we are just listening to the gossip they are telling us, we are partaking in that sin. Even if we're not saying anything. I know from personal experience that listening to someone constantly talking bad about your friends, your family, or your pastor can make you look at them differently. EVEN when you tell yourself you know it's all a lie and not true. Just listening to it and not judging it will affect your relationships with those other people that you care about. At the end, he pulled an alter call to have people come down who deal with this issue and break free from it. It just really spoke to home and to many other obviously from how many went down.
Sometimes family or even a friend can buy you gifts or give you money but use these things as leverage to make you feel like you have to put up with the abuse against your decision to live for God. Read God's Word and know what the truth is. If they are giving you advice against the words in the bible, know that its not advice you need to worry about. :) You know the scriptures and what He desires for us. When someone gives me a hard time about children, I just ask them to show me scripture in the bible that tells me I must limit myself. When someone tells me I go to church too much, I ask them to show me scripture that says being in God's house too often is wrong. Or if someone tells me I'm wrong for not having a TV, I tell them what the bible says about not putting evil before my eyes. Tell me where I'm commanded to put one in my house. Too many times I am shocked by even just commercials that pop up in front of my kids while we are waiting somewhere. The world will tell you what you are doing wrong. Just read God's Word to know what you are doing that is right. They may say you need to catch up with the times. The bible says that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I choose believe God's Word.