Prodigal: I am impressed with the dessert table.
Me: How they taste will determine if you should be impressed or not.
Prodigal: I am not concerned that they will not taste good!
Howard G. Hendricks once said “Great impressions can be made from a distance, but reality can only be tested up close.
Has your impression of someone ever been disappointment when you start viewing them up close? That has happened to me. I think we tend to forget that some people are really good at giving off a good impression, but all they are showing us is an impression.
As a therapist, I often hear I want to change no matter what it takes. I really believe most people want to change, when they say this. I also can see how they want to show others that they really want to change.
After weeks or months though it becomes a different story. Some will stop the process completely. Others are not consistent. Then there are those, that have a block to change. How do I know what will happen. I have to get up close, to figure out what is really taking place, and not the impression they are trying to give.
Disappointment fills my spirit, when I get up close and realize someone did not really want to change at all. They were saying they wanted to change, but had another motive.
How do we deal with all of this in people around us? Did the bible tell us?
Matthew 7:16-19 (NKJV)
You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.
The word of God tells us that we are not to focus on just impressions that people give us. We are to look at fruit. Fruit is not an abstract concept but something that is concrete. It is something that can be examined. You can smell fruit, taste fruit, look at fruit and feel it.
An impression of someone is just a picture of a fruit. It does not tell us all about that fruit. We need to examine behaviors, relationships, speech and spirit. When we look at these concrete areas in their lives we are able to get up close. We look beyond a pretty picture that is presented to us.
If no one could speak suddenly, what would that say about their lives? Would they still have fruit? Could we see Christ in how they treat others? Could we see Christ in if they serve others? Could we see Christ in if they attempt to learn His words and spend time alone with Christ?
Examine some people’s fruit this week. God doesn’t want you to be disappointed. He is trying to warn you. Some people are just showing you a picture of fruit. Don’t take this picture for the real thing.
Jennifer Van Allen