First Impressions

Recently I have been pondering on the thought of having only one chance to make an impact on a persons life, and how often our first impression may affect that impact. We as Christians are instructed in Matthew 5:16, to be the Light of The World and to let our light so shine before men, that they may see the good works of the Father so they may glorify Him. We are to be ambassadors of the kingdom, more than conquers, set apart, and called out to deliver a life changing message. When often in our attempts to do so we become weary, less than conquers, and judgmental of those we are sent to reach. Our intentions are right but our methods and emotions portray the opposite. Though transparency is great, what are we portraying? Being a follower of Christ doesn’t mean an easy life, but rather one of diligence and hard work. Are we more than conquers, set apart, do we trust in the promises of our Heavenly Father or does our life portray discouragement and depression. I found a poem that said You are writing a gospel, A chapter each day, By deeds that you do, By words that you say. Men read what you write, Whether faithless or true, Say, what is the gospel according to you? What impact do I leave on the people I encounter on a day to day basis. Am I a living transparent testimony of what God has done in my life? Or does my life reflect only my immediate struggles? When ministering inside of prison you are constantly watched, and more often than not your most impact happens with your first impression. First impressions often determine the probability of building a relationship with the person. We might wonder why first impressions are so important when we might be meeting those people many more times. Don’t we have more chances to undo all the bad impressions later on? Isn’t it really unfair that the first meeting we have with somebody seems to matter so much? Very often our first meeting produces an emotional reaction. Humans want to know whether the person they have just met is a potential friend or a potential foe. Though we may not realize it, the human mind is constantly evaluating everything and everyone around us. We often decide, I like this, but I don’t like that. I like this person, I don’t like that person. This person seems nice. That person seems conceited. This person reminds me of my friend. That person reminds me of that bad boss I had. The initial view of a person is significant. Once a thought of someone is established, it often then becomes the way you view that person. Yes, new thoughts of someone can then come later on, but from any other experience that happens, the observer can at any time revert back to the initial thoughts regarding that person. It is this initial impression that is stored in someones mind. This is the case with drug addicts who can at any time revert back to their old ways if enough events trigger them back; they’re driven back to their first impressions of the drug. This is the way the human brain works, that’s why the first impression is the most important, because it is what becomes the framework to what people think of you. Bad first impressions don’t always last,  but they are hard to change. The best way to avoid having to overcome a bad first impression is to make a good impression in the first place.I am challenged to always be a living testimony for Christ in whatever stage of emotion I may find myself in. May we continue to be aware that we might be the only representation of Christ that people may ever see. We do not know how we may affect the people we meet daily, even those who see us from afar. That is why it is critical that the church represents only the attributes of Christ.

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