What image and perception do you exude to others?
All human beings are all by common grace blessed with something called discernment. It is that innate question which will pop into your brain upon a statement, a circumstance, or something which happens in your life. That question which is lingering is calling for discernment which is the seeking truth from error.
If you are a Christian, saved by Jesus Christ, your image and perception is quite important in sharing the Gospel of salvation. In my previous article, I wrote about unknowingly turning the Gospel off to unbelievers by the lack of empathy towards sin from your own experience. Discernment by the unbeliever will go initially to your personal image and their perception which will question what you are trying to convey.
If your image is that of a hypocrite for example, the Gospel’s message is tuned out by the unbeliever based on that initial perception. They simply cannot trust a word out of your mouth. If you have no testimony and are preaching repentance for example, the unbeliever will scoff at that call.
I can speak to 43 years of blindness on this and how many “Christians” tried to share the Gospel to me. I simply tuned it out for Roman Catholicism, because those questions on the person sharing it were raised and went unanswered. I recall about a year or two before my rebirth attending a non-Catholic church. I liked the people very much, and the service was interesting. However, none of those people at this church got past my discernment. Maybe they were a bit too sheepish when I disclosed I was a Roman Catholic and did not want to offend me. But OFFENDING me was what I truly needed, never be ASHAMED of the Gospel!
Having been in sales and marketing for 25 years, I can rightly speak to experience on image and perception. I like to say we have less than 1 minute to capture the attention of a potential sale from a customer, and if you are in sales or tried to sell something, you will understand this quickly. We have very short attention spans, questions are raised, and if your image and the perception does not pass that test, you are dismissed quickly. Now someone may graciously extend some time to you, probably out of pity, but make no mistake you lost that person.
With the Gospel, the marketplace is IMMENSE and you don’t have to go far, just see the neighbors you live by. You might be surprised how they view you as a person. We tend to think people should see us as we see ourselves, which is simply a mistake and intellectual dishonesty. So the obstacle to getting to the actual sharing of the Gospel is often missed. We simply say “they just didn’t get it”, but were they actually listening? Or did they tune you out based on your image and their perception of you.
So what is the key to sharing the Gospel, to getting over that hurdle? Examine yourself, GROW! It doesn’t mean everyone will accept the Gospel from you, but they will be forced not to tune you out. Get in that person’s shoes, they are a sinner just like you. Tell them this Good News of Jesus Christ and how it is working in your life. Again, the person might still reject it, but they are not rejecting you, they are rejecting the Gospel.
I confess as a new believer 10 years ago, I was excited for the Gospel, but maybe too excited in that I came across as legalistic. Image and perception. Those I shared the Gospel with were hammered with legalism, and some were immediately tuning me out. With the power of the Holy Spirit, I needed to CHANGE that image and perception, and grow.
If indwelled by the Holy Spirit, we are always seeking growth! And this won’t stop. We can’t ever be satisfied in this lifetime because no one will be glorified in our flesh. Pray to God for this growth and the wisdom needed. Examine your image and perception you are giving to others. Be honest with yourself! Don’t ignore the problems, seek always to grow in your walk with Christ.