Would We Want People Imitating Us?

By: Jill Briscoe

“Therefore be imitators of God as beloved children.” ~ Ephesians 5:1

Our son Pete wanted a bird! His sister had left for college and he was feeling lonely. Without giving the matter much thought, I bought him a cockateel.

When Pete emerged bleeding from the bathroom after the first and last training session with his new-found friend, “Cornbread” (we found out later he should have been called “Cornelia”) was relegated to a life within the walls of the cage in Pete’s room. “Talk to him, Pete,” I urged my son over the next few weeks; but the novelty of the pet wore off and my urging was to no avail.

We donated Cornbread to a friend (now an enemy!) and told her, “Don’t worry when you hear deep breathing in the middle of the night!” The poor bird had heard nothing more than Pete’s deep slumbering sighs and so had imitated them! Have you ever heard a cockatiel deep-breathe? It’s eerie.

But all of us learn by imitation. Paul said, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (I Cor. 11:1). We are to watch carefully, listen acutely, and pick up every inflection of our Master’s voice!

Would we want people imitating us? The very fact that we are being watched should force us to deal with our erratic behavior and not cause others to stumble.

Jesus had some hard words about people who cause others to fall. He said it would be better if stones were tied around their necks and they were cast to the bottom of the sea! (see Lukas 17:2).

Jill Briscoe is the Founder and Executive Editor of Just Between Us magazine.  


  1. Nice lesson from the word there Jill. The Eerie sounds of a cocktail almost had me spitting out my drink. Kids are some of the greatest mirrors to a parent. You see a lot of what you like and don't like about yourself in them. The hard part is the change of behaviors from the ones you don't imitated to the ones you do. Change the behavior in you and the kids soon follow.


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