A few weeks ago, it was brought to my attention that I had unknowingly offended someone at church. I had apparently come across as aloof and uncaring, and even rude. Needless to say, I was deeply troubled that some action on my part, or possibly a lack of action, had been misunderstood and had caused someone to have doubts about me as a follower of Christ. I immediately reached out to this person in the hope that I would have a second chance to be the caring person God wants me to be.
What if this person is not receptive to my attempt at opening new lines of communication? What if that one impression was the only one I get to represent Christ to this person? What if I am the one who turns this person off to the church?
By nature, I am an introvert. I usually stay within my comfort zone—my family, my co-workers, my church community, and my small circle of close friends. To someone outside this group, I might appear aloof and distant. I might not seem welcoming. But that is not my intention at all. I have been striving to reach out more, and to break through the walls formed by some of my fears. I am working to be a strong leader in women’s ministry and to be kind and compassionate toward the people I encounter. I want to be the woman God wants me to be—a woman who makes others want to be part of the Kingdom. I want to be a woman who helps others along their journey of faith. And sometimes I am that woman. With God’s help, I do have times when I succeed at being a woman who faithfully follows her calling from God. But not always.
It’s important to remember that we are Christ’s representatives to the world, and we need to get it right as often as we can. We don’t always get a second chance to show the people we come in contact with what it means to live as followers of Christ. Our first encounter with someone may be the only opportunity we have to show them the love of God.
It’s also important to remember that we don’t have to do it alone. We can connect with a fellowship of believers who will encourage us in our endeavors. We can look to the Word of God for guidance and instruction. And we can allow the Holy Spirit to live in us and lead us along the path set out before us.
Remember, your first impression might be a lasting impression. Make it a good one.