The Enemy Wants Your Impact
I have several great nephews and nieces who range in age from 5 to under 6 months. Little kids are such a life energy for a family, and they keep us grounded to what is really important in our lives.
They are also a continual reminder of how much we grow and change in the first few years of life. We learn so many new things that it can often seem like every day brings a new ability. Grabbing, holding, scooting, rolling, crawling, walking, manipulating objects, babbling, talking. It’s one new skill or ability after another. Fascinating stuff.
The communicator in me, however, focuses most on the way that our communicative ability comes pre-wired into us. We know right from the start that we have to get someone to get us what we need. Well, maybe we don’t “know” what we are doing, but even if we aren’t fully conscious of what we are doing, we cry and grunt to get food or attention from our loved ones.
And as we grow, our communication becomes more sophisticated; we begin to learn from our surroundings all the ways that we can both get people to do what we want and engage with people who want something from us.
Dr. Caroline Leaf, a cognitive neuroscientist, argues that our default mechanism is positive and falls in line with the perfect qualities that Christ wishes us to have. The problem, she explains, is that our genes have been impacted from generations of people who thought negative and allowed fear and anger and bitterness and strife to be a part of their communication. That in turn caused us to become highly responsive to situations such as these and to, as other researchers report, spend upwards of 80% of our thoughts each day focused on some form of negative.
Dr. Ravi Zacharias, a prolific thinker and Christian apologist, points out that our hearts are wicked and that humans are capable of unbelievably evil things. All that negativity potential is destructive and disheartening. The enemy’s end game in all of this is for us to negate the positive impact that we are meant to have on others.
Dr. Zacharias might be right that our human hearts are capable of much wickedness, but Dr. Leaf is also right that we were created in God’s image and capable of vast good. When we live through the Holy Spirit and in the Spirit’s power seek to be as much like Christ as is humanly possible, we encourage others to want what we have and to desire to understand how we are living such lives. We honor others, and, in turn, they want to do the same.
The enemy is all too happy to see us build lots of negative associations and connotations so that we look at our situations and circumstances from a negative point of view. We build these negative associations and realities with our communication, and our communication tells our brains what the reality is. Communication is an awesome superpower.
We must all remember this; we are marked by God to have a positive impact. I am absolutely certain of that. How else could it be? We are created in His image, so we cannot be marked for anger or bitterness or strife or ill-will. It’s just not congruent with who God is and who He made us to be.
We can, however, be convinced that we aren’t impactful, or we can be convinced that others don’t deserve positive impact. The latter is the more damaging of the two. When we buy into the belief that others deserve our sarcastic remarks or angry words, we buy into the lie of the enemy.
Giving others the benefit of the doubt doesn’t change how wretched their communication or actions might have been toward us or others. I’m not naive; I live in this world. I experience the brokenness, the bitterness, the self-absorption, the narcissism (need I go on). The negative is never very far away from us, and for a very long time in my life, I played into that and threw it right back at the world whenever I felt it was deserved and to be honest even in times when it was not deserved.
Changing our communication habits truly happens in one way. It is only in deepening our relationship with Christ that we learn how to fight this battle. I knew all the communication stuff, but I needed to deeply know my Lord in order to truly desire to get this right by other people no matter how they were treating me. The enemy stole my impact for far too many years.
The Bible says that no human can tame the tongue (James 3:8); God knew just how hard this was going to be for us. But we have a directive to impact others in positive ways. Therefore, we must give this our all. We must strive to do communication the right way.
#theimpactdirective is an acknowledgment that we are here for a purpose larger than ourselves. The enemy would love for us to believe otherwise, but the reality of our ability to communicate is that it allows us to be in connection and relationships with others, and that is proof that we simply must use our communication for good.
We can all use encouragement as we bring God and Grace with us into our daily mess. Join me and other impactors as we share positive impact with everyone who crosses our paths:
Connie Benoit Sirois
Consultant | Writer | SpeakerWe are called to love others as ourselves. Our communication gives us continual opportunities to do this. We should never miss a chance to honor others. I’d love for you to read about my mission.