So many times, we judge someone based on our first impression of them, without giving it a second thought (or prayer) we just assume what we see in front of us is the fruit of the character. The Bible tells us to judge according to a person’s fruit, good or bad character is presented by a person’s lifestyle. If we don’t give an individual a chance to produce that fruit, we will never know the truth of what God has put in them. We are all created in the image of God even when we do not actively bear His image as He desires.
In this article, I am going to give you three questions to help you make the right choice with your first impressions.
What do you do when your first impression is right? The answer to this question depends on a person’s position in Christ. If a person is born again in Christ Jesus, then they have become new according to the word of God (2Cor 5:17). Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know [Him thus] no longer. - 2Co 5:16
A born-again believer has to go through a process; depending on where that person is in the process and what your relationship is to that individual will determine what and how you communicate what you have judged properly. Which brings up another question.
Should we judge another person? If the person is a believer then yes, as I mentioned already, we are to judge another by the fruit, or manifestations of Christ in their lives. Jesus said, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” Jn 7:24 If we judge another by the way they appear according to our flesh, our emotions, or our standards, then we are not judging in righteousness. The Bible has plenty to say about how a Christian is to live their life. Jesus Christ set the standard for judging another. Firstly, we do not get to determine the destiny of another by our judgment, we cannot judge their salvation. We can judge the fruit by a persons’ verbal and physical testimony.
Jesus said, 15 "You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 "And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I [am] with the Father who sent Me. 17 "It is also written in your law that the testimony of two men is true. - Jhn 8:15-17
We should not make it a habit to judge one another, but if we are put into a position to do so, we have to do so according to God’s righteousness and not self-righteousness. Our first impression may be right, it may be wrong. Either decision must be determined through prayer and a humbled heart that has already judged oneself first.
What should you do when you are fooled by first impressions? Sometimes we meet that person who says all the right things. They appear to be for you and not against you. They stir a desire within you to trust them. It could be a friendship, business relationship, co-worker, or even ministry leader that seems to have it together and are seeking God for unity, prosperity, and advancement for God’s purposes.
However, after investing some time, energy, and money in a relationship perhaps you find that the first impression of their desire to walk out life with you was self-motivated and not God motivated. You have a choice to make at this point. The choice to continue and such relationship or break it off. These kinds of choices are not easy ones and should not be taken lightly. The first thing you must do is seek God and His will for such relationships. What if God is working the kinks out of you and another individual? If the person is truly in Christ Jesus, then he or she is learning to bear the image of God in their destined purpose for His kingdom, and you may have to wait on God for a season until His fruit is produced in said relationship.
In Jesus’ sermon on the mount, we are told “Judge not, that you be not judged.” Mat 7:1 Yet in other places of the Bible, we are taught how to judge. Is this in contradiction to the rest of the word of God? No, it is not because we have to look at the audience and context of which every scripture is written. Jesus was saying not to judge with hypocrisy, clean up your own act first then you are fit to judge righteously. We are told to “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” Rom 12:9
When judging a person, we may determine they have it all together based on an outward impression and a long resume; so we desire to have them on our team. While another may appear to be too “rough around the edges” to be used by God. What are you looking for? Someone who has it all together and can teach others but is not teachable themselves or someone who is lacking and rough around the edges but you can bring a diamond forth?
Jesus came to make diamonds, not to judge and condemn but to give life and abundantly. We must judge first ourselves and then another. 2 "For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 "And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank [is] in your own eye? - Mat 7:2-4
If we judge from a position of pride, envy, woundedness, covetousness, and selfishness, we are far from judging according to the word of God. We need to know what the relationship has been designed for. Ask God what He wants to bring out of the relationship, or if it is not of God should it be cut off. Our first impressions can hinder our decisions, whether they are right or wrong because we are judging by our own understanding. We are not to lean on our own understanding, but we are to trust in the Lord with all our hearts. (Pro 3:5).
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. Jn 16:13 NIV
Heavenly Father, thank You for the standard You set to determine right from wrong, and evil from righteousness. I confess that too many times, I have judged another by their outward appearance, and even through one sentence they spoke. I need Your help to determine the design of a relationship in my life, its purpose and Your will in this relationship. I am willing to repent and ask for forgiveness in any relationship of which I have allowed a first impression to hinder Your will for that individual. In Jesus name, Amen