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Personal Influence

"O, I don't care, I shall do it!" How often this expression either forms in our minds or is heard from the lips of others, when contemplating an action which it is desired to do but is known to be wrong. "After all, what does it matter, it only concerns myself, and I'll take the consequences?" Is not this the thought? But does it only concern yourself? Is there no one to whom it makes the slightest difference whether you do right or wrong? Nay, my friend, you may not see any immediate effect of your action, but at the least it has blunted your higher nature, and you will the more easily descend lower still. And there are those who love you who will be grieved. They may never know of the wrong act, but they notice a difference in your nature, an unknown "something." And there are those around us who, without our being the least aware of it, are respecting us and even perhaps taking us as an example to help themselves. When they see a wrong act, what of them? We may not want them to watch us or let our actions interfere with them in any way, but we cannot help it. It is so. Let us, therefore, watch ourselves, and if we have our imperfections, as all of us must have, let us keep them to ourselves, and not exhibit them as something to be if proud as so many do. We cannot live to ourselves, try as we may. Therefore, if we must have an influence on someone let it be a good one. If we are so situate that we have, even without seeking, an influence, are we not responsible for it? Is it sufficient that we live for ourselves when we might help others? Shall we not, some day, be called upon to account for the privilege thus given us, and the use we make of it? Surely we shall, and escape it we cannot.

Should we have that greater influence of money, how careful we should be. It is no use to give the money all up, it must be used, and used aright. If given up, where is our stewardship? Of what worth are we? Cowards merely, afraid of the difficulties. Some must have it, just as some are not fit to have it, and those who are capable are responsible for the use made of it. Is it used to influence the right or the wrong? You know, but are you satisfied? If yea, happy are ye. If nay, why not?

Don't be selfish anywhere. Don't be selfish most of all in your religion.
Let yourselves be free in your religion, and be utterly unselfish. Claim your freedom in service.
—Phillip Brooks

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