Don’t Take Your Little Brother With You!


When I was a young man one of my older brothers made the mistake of influencing a younger brother into doing something my father didn’t approve of, and that was borderline against the standards of our church and family. I still recall the verbal rebuke my father gave to him. He said, “If you want to go to hell that’s your business, but don’t take your little brother with you.”

Having agency is a precious gift given to all, male or female, bond or free, black or white, or any variation in between. The cry of, “It’s my life and I can do what I want with it,” while true, is rarely without consequences to our loved ones and others who are in our lives.

A number of years ago I met with a young man who was having a crisis of faith. We talked at length without total resolution. As he left, he stopped at the doorway, and said, “These are my own doubts and I would never try to influence family or friends away from the faith.” I know he was sincere but I also knew that the statement was patently false. Every person, by their words and actions, or non-action, influence others.

Years have now gone by and the way this young man has lived his life proved my suspicions of long ago. By his words and actions he has affected many around him to question their faith in religion, and in God himself. “No man is an island” they say, and for good reason.

We may want to rationalize that we can do what we want because it is our life and we are not infringing on anybody else’s rights, but that statement is false. More times than not,our choices influence those we love in either a negative or positive way.

Each time we make important decisions in life, let us examine the ramifications such choices will have in the lives of those around us. Sometimes when we light a match, others get burned!

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