Seeing, and Being Seen
by C.A. Phillips
So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.
Romans 14:13 (NLT)
We may not even realize that we’re doing it much of the time, but everywhere we go, we’re taking in information about people and forming impressions of them. You do it with your co-workers, your neighbors, the people you see at the ball field and the grocery store. We especially do it on the roads – this is precisely why I don’t put my church magnet on my car!
Someone cuts you off in traffic, or doesn’t let you over into the lane, and that person is now the scum of the earth. We see a child acting out in the grocery store, while the mom is on the cell phone, and we assume she’s an inattentive mother. The parent who scolds his son when he makes an error on the baseball field is overbearing and unfit to be a father. The cashier who refuses to make eye contact or smile rubs us the wrong way – “How rude!” we think to ourselves. “I’ll never check out in her lane again.”
We make snap judgments about people in just a few seconds’ time. Not fair, but we all do it.
Which got me thinking…if I do this to countless others, certainly this means everyone else is making these snap judgments about me! What a sobering thought!
I may only cross paths with a particular person one time in my life, and just for a brief moment. So, what impression am I going to leave on him or her?
That’s is food for thought; but, if those we just rub shoulders with once or twice are forming opinions about us, what does that say about the people I am around every day, all the time? Yikes!
When you stop and consider that others’ eyes are on you, it can transform you in a lot of ways – hopefully in positive ways! I’m certainly not saying to put on airs, or to fake your way through relationships, or to be someone you’re not. I’m simply suggesting that we all have opportunities to make a positive lasting impression on those in our spheres of influence.
Likewise, we can leave lasting negative impressions. And, if you are a Christian, this is dangerous territory!
It has helped me to ask these two questions, in light of where I am at any particular time:
- Am I bringing glory to God with my actions, words, and behaviors?
- Am I helping others take a step closer to Jesus through my actions, words, and behaviors?
Look, we all mess up. We won’t get it right 100 percent of the time. But, the key in those moments is to let the Holy Spirit do its work – identify the mistake, then go in a different direction (repentance).
Right or wrong, eyes are on you, and they’ll tell someone something about you. Let’s make sure what it tells them is something about how much God loves them!
C.A. Phillips is a lifelong sports enthusiast and youth baseball coach, and currently serves as the Communications Pastor and Director of Men’s Groups at NorthStar Church in Kennesaw, Ga. He lives in Kennesaw with his wife, Amy, and his two sons, Chaz and Chandler.
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