Did you yawn today? And, if so, was it because you saw someone else yawn first and you followed suit?
All of us sometimes copy other people without thinking about it. It can seem automatic, and contagious yawning is a typical example. According to research reported this week, such responses occur in the part of the brain responsible for motor function. Of course, we don’t just copy physical actions such as yawning and smiling, but we may also respond to the negativity of others by becoming negative ourselves. For example, we get angry when someone is angry with us, we attack when attacked, we hit back when under fire.
Christianity tells us to imitate Jesus Christ, and thus develop new ways of responding emotionally to situations and to other people. Instead of automatically responding with aggression when someone threatens us, with Christ we learn to respond with grace and love. The Bible puts it this way: don’t return evil with evil but return evil with good.
Someone next to me just yawned, and I am trying and failing to stifle a yawn in return. My automatic physical response beat me, again.
It doesn’t have to be that way spiritually, however.
With Jesus, we can overcome our negative reactions.
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