The other day, someone read a quote from an internationally known preacher. Immediately I stopped listening and said to myself, “that guy’s a jerk.”
Working at theDove, I get to meet a lot of well known people. When I talk to them before we get them on the air I usually get an impression from them. Most people are pretty okay, not super nice but nice enough. Some people are so nice that every time I think about them afterwards, I think about how cool they are (talking about you, Mike Huckabee!). But then there’s the people that are so bad that whenever I hear their name, I get a bad taste in my mouth.
There hasn’t been a lot of that third type of person, but there has been a few. This preacher was one of them. From the two and a half minutes I spent talking to this guy, I knew that he was a jerk and I don’t care what he has to say, ever. I especially don’t care about what he has to say about God.
Okay, so maybe he was having a bad day. Maybe his mom just died. Maybe his undies shrunk in the dryer. I don’t know. For all I know, this was the only day that he’s ever come off as a jerk to anyone, but for me it doesn’t matter.
How often are you a jerk? Just a little rude to the checkout lady at the store. Short with your kids at the park. Don’t stop for someone trying to cross the street. This might be the one day in the history of your life when you aren’t the best, most nice person in the world. But someone saw you. You made an impression on someone and from now on when they see you or hear your name, they don’t care what you have to say because you will always be that jerk from when they first met you.
There’s two lessons to be learned here.
- Don’t be a jerk, because you don’t know who is going to lose respect for you forever.
- If someone makes a bad impression on you, wait to see if the second impression is just as bad as the first before making a judgment.
The first one is important, because one day you might be a preacher, or a councilor, or even a politician. If everyone already knows you’re a jerk, they won’t listen to you. Is that a good way to bring people to Christ?
The second lesson is a harder one to deal with. You want other people to give you a second chance, but for other people your first impression is always right, right?
So remember, be nice to your sister (that’s a quote from Groundhog Day, that’s why you should go watch it). You never know who’s watching and you never know who is making the judgement to never respect what you have to say again.