Instantly Like or Dislike?
“As in water face answers to face, so the mind of man reflects the man.”
Proverbs 27:19 (RSV)
Nearly everybody will have experienced a situation where they instantly like or dislike a person they are meeting for the first time. Often that first instinct is sound and decides the type of relationship they will have: warm and friendly, or distant and hostile. Of course, as we get to know people over a period of time our initial feelings may change, especially if we are forced into a co-operative working relationship. But not always—sometimes we are forced to work with or relate to a person with whom we just don’t gel.
First impressions are important and often difficult to change. But why is it that we can react in this way at a first meeting? The scripture above is the key combined with the understanding that we react instinctively when meeting others for the first time. What the scripture above is telling us is that we all radiate an attitude in our relationships with others. We pick this up unconsciously from new people when we meet them. At the same time they pick up our attitude unconsciously.
So when we meet people who radiate arrogance, self-importance, self-righteousness or other negative attitudes we react in a negative way ourselves. We take an instant dislike to them and they pick up on our attitude so often feel the same way. Conversely when we meet someone who radiates warmth, gentleness, openness and love, we react positively to them and them to us.
Which type of person do you think Jesus Christ was? Luke 2:52 says, “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” When we read about him in the gospel accounts it is clear He radiated love, warmth, openness, compassion and concern. People were attracted to him, especially sinners and the type of people who were regarded negatively by the religious powers of that day. Great multitudes followed him, sometimes because He healed people, but also because of the way He was. Jesus radiated love and people were attracted to him as a result.
Our job, as Christians today, is to let Christ radiate his love for people through us, so we too can have an impact and draw people to Him. When people meet us for the first time they should feel that we are radiating love, warmth and openness towards them.
Loving Father, help us to reflect the love and warmth of Jesus Christ in our daily lives so that, over time, we can be effective servants in helping people to come to know that love and warmth for themselves.
Study by Keith Hartrick
Grace Communion – Leeds
Garden Village Welfare Association Community Centre
LEEDS LS15 8LE
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