My daughter and I spent some much needed Girl Time at the Chinese restaurant last Sunday. We don’t get to indulge this way often, and just the two of us makes it even more special. Fully satisfied with our meal, we giddily cracked open the end-of-meal fortune cookie. We know there’s nothing remotely real about a fortune cookie, that’s not where our hope lies, but we still like to crack open the cookie and read the strip of paper. My attention was abruptly torn from my fortune cookie by an indignant huff, and I looked over to see her holding up her paper with this look of complete bewilderment on her face. She said, “I’m not sure how to take this! Is it a compliment or an insult.” I looked down at her paper and busted out laughing. Her cookie read: “You have no idea the affect you have on others.”
I think its accurate to say most, if not all, of us would take that as a compliment. She, in her unique mixture of child-like innocence and wisdom beyond her years, took this line to heart in a very literal sense and ended up confused. “What affect do I have on people?”
I’ve been thinking about this for over a day now, and it’s true for most of us: we simply have no idea the affect we have on others. Whether that’s flattering or not is another story. I spend a lot of time in my own mind, considering the things I do and say to others, and after all the inward analysis, I often come up with the same conclusion. My words and actions sometimes fall far short of their intended purpose, or they go beyond their intended purpose. My relationships are swayed by seemingly small stones flung half-heartedly into a large pond. In a literal sense, the things I do and say with seeming carelessness create situations and reap consequences I rarely intend. What a complex world we live in!
In light of this profound thought, I will definitely be giving more forethought to my actions and the things I say. I may not ever be perfect this side of heaven, but I know that I can always strive to walk closer to the Holy Spirit. I know that I can make sure that my talk reflects that walk, so that people will know just by looking that there is something different about me. I want to reflect the heart of Christ. Ultimately, that is the affect I want to have on people.