How Contagious Are You?


Have you ever been near a person that is coughing, sniffling, or constantly sneezing?  You may have sat at a dinner table, at a conference, or stood on an elevator with that person.  When this happens, what’s the first thing that you do?  Or what’s your first thought?  Most of us get away from them as quickly as possible; because we think the person is contagious; and we definitely don’t want to catch what they have.  You know when someone walks up to you and tells you that the doctor says they have an airborne illness; right after (or sometimes before) you empathize with them, you blurt out, “Is it contagious?”

As a matter of fact, what’s your first thought when someone mentions the word, “contagious?”  Do you think of measles, mumps, chicken pox, or some type of skin rash?  Perhaps contagious sparks you to think of a cold, the flu or pneumonia?   Why?  imageBecause, contagious is usually associated  with an infectious disease of some sort; and the very thought of being touched or coughed on by a person with a visible illness usually incites fear.  …Some people even go so far as to cringe when someone has a physical deformity, for fear that they will somehow morph into that state.  Contagiousness always evokes reactions.  Yet the question is:  “How contagious are you?”

Let’s turn a corner here.

One of the definition categories of contagious according to Merriam-Webster is, “Capable of being easily spread to others.  Causing other people to feel or act a similar way.  Exciting similar emotions or conduct in others.”  Even though airborne illnesses and physical diseases can cause the actions in this definition, this type of being contagious takes our thoughts further.  How?  Think about it.  

We live in a world where people are constantly looking for examples.  Everyone wants attention, affirmation, and appreciation from someone.  People need to be needed.  People watch people.  People look for examples of how to handle situations; how to act around certain people; or how to conduct themselves in business meetings, at church and even at restaurants.  For instance; the atmosphere in Ruth’s Chris Steak House is different from that of Benihana or Nikola’s.  Each place calls for different conducts.  Though you are always free to be you, your ghetto you needs to stay in check at certain times and places.  Have you ever had to tell your ghetto you that this is not the time nor the place?  I know that I have?

I guess you might be thinking, “Who cares what others think?”  And in essence, none of us should live our lives on the puppet strings of other people’s opinions.  However, because we who are Christians are “epistles read of men,” we have to watch what we do and say.  Also, people who are downtrodden and dealing with trials are desperate for someone to help them make positive changes in their lives.  They need to see people, “who against hope believe in hope.”  (c.f.  Romans 4:18). My friends, why can’t it start with us?

Influence is contagious 

Those of us who have worked or served in any leadership capacity, on the job or in ministry, know that people watch our facial expressions, body languages and listen to the tone in our responses.  People check to see if our intent is self-centered or if it is to help the team thrive.   People need authenticity.  They discern when you have personal agendas, or if you truly want others to thrive    Influence is attractive.  Have you ever sat in a meeting and though you weren’t the chair of the team, people looked for your response?

Have you ever served on a workgroup, and most of the team were full of doubt.  But you adamantly voiced your thoughts on how you all can do this thing?  Then after a while, others slowly started believing God and joining in?  Even those who were dead set against the project; agreed to disagree; yet they conceded?  That’s positive contagious influence.  The question is:  ” How contagious are you?”

Influence has two faces!

We’ll call the one face, “Tarnished Example.” –  Some people find fault in everything; and they have followers.  We call them the negative naysayers’ club.  Some people with influence won’t delegate; but they do everything themselves.  Some people gossip and back-bite and draw others into their tear-others-down circle.  Some people with negative influence rally troops to come against Godly leaders.  Some people with influence who are mean as junk yard dogs make little mean followers.

We’ll call the other face, “Positive Example.” –  Some people smile all the time.  That’s infectious.  Some people always complement others.  That’s an emotional lift and encouraging.  Some people are born motivators.  That excites good conduct in others.  Some people take challenges head on and never let bad times convince them to quit.  That’s inspiring.  Some people show love to those who are not living for Jesus and foul-mouthed; and to saved folk who are rude.  That’s drawing them with loving kindness.

How contagious are you?

When my children were young, in the midst of our struggle, we would play a game to see if we could make each other laugh.  One of us would start laughing, even though we didn’t find anything funny.  The remaining three of us would try to hold out without laughing.  But little by little, each of us would begin to laugh until all four of us were laughing until our stomachs began to ache.  We discovered that laughing is contagious.  So at a time when our gas was off; and when I had to boil water so that my babies could take a hot bath, I would laugh.  I discovered that joy in sorrow is contagious.  How contagious are you?


There are a lot of contagious people in my family.  Some are slightly contagious.  Some are more contagious.  And others are very contagious.  For this writing, I will highlight two.  Stephanie, our turn-up cousin has so much enthusiasm when she wants to get something accomplished.  I believe The Lord has gifted her to convince a life-long grinch to break free from mean-spirited bitterness and have fun.  She pushes and pushes for our family to come together.  She poured her heart out to our family on social media; and now others are coming on board.  That’s contagious.   ..…Belinda, who is the family prayer warrior thanks God in the midst of her body being afflicted.  Every time, I’ve been at her home in St.  Louis, no matter where she lives, I wake up to her praying and thanking God.  Sometimes, she has a hard time walking, but she yet prays.  I remember being at her church one Sunday morning.  Belinda was not feeling well; but she stood up and prayed with a Caucasian woman who was a visitor.  That’s contagious.

My friends, how contagious are you?  I pray that wherever your contagious attributes are, that they dwell in positive influence.  I’m trying my best to maintain a  positive contagious persona.

Thank you for joining me in these Thursday thoughts.  What are your thoughts on this subject?  Join me in conversation.  I’d love to hear from you.  We’ll talk soon.





Originally posted 2016-01-07 23:58:44.

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