First Impressions

There’s a great book, a classic, called Pride & Prejudice written by Jane Austen in the 1800s which has been made into various film adaptations. Although written during a different era, it’s message is still very relevant today. In the book, we encounter characters who make decisions (some very hasty) based on their own initial judgments & prejudices and how others appear initially to influence them.

The initial title for the book was apparently “First Impressions”.

We all make first impressions. When I started my first job in sales, I was always taught that you only had one chance to make a first impression on the customer so make it a good one. No pressure!!!

People make first impressions on us. There are lots of factors which can influence our first impression of someone and prejudice is one of those influences we need to recognise and if it’s there then choose to reject.

So I’ve been giving this topic of prejudice some thought. Do I really understand what it means to be prejudiced and do I harbour any prejudices in my own heart.

When I think of the word “prejudice” I think of pre-judging – my mind has already reached a conclusion – it’s judged a person or situation already without really knowing the truth.

It’s so easy to make snap decisions or judgments based on our “eyes” – what we initially see or by what we hear (which can unfortunately include hearsay), but discerning whether those arise from prejudice in our hearts is sometimes difficult to recognise unless it’s pretty obvious.

The dictionary defines “prejudice” as a “preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.”

Sometimes, it is easy to recognise prejudice – it makes no effort to hide itself. I worked with a lady once who had a racial prejudice which was from ignorance and lack of relationships and experience of different cultures. She didn’t hide this prejudice and we had some very uncomfortable and difficult conversations about it. She couldn’t recognise the problem however.

When she was very ill in hospital with cancer, I went to visit her and the first thing she did was introduce me to her “new friend” who just happened to be a person of race that she had harboured great prejudice against previously.

I discovered that my friend had been placed in a hospital room for two. Initially, she was very unhappy with the arrangement – her prejudice influenced her first impressions of her room mate. However as they started to talk she discovered they had lots in common. She also experienced such great kindness and compassion from her new friend and his family whilst she was so ill that her eyes were opened to the truth and her prejudices disappeared. Her first impressions were changed.

My friend was truly sorry for the years that she had allowed this prejudice to rob her of forming friendships and relationships with people of other cultures and races and for the wrong things she had thought, said and done.

Sadly my friend died not many weeks after her stay in hospital but I’m truly grateful that before she died she had the opportunity to discover truth not prejudice. God works in amazing and gracious ways to bring us into truth.

The Lord knows that we as humans have a tendency to be swayed by our first impressions which is why he showed us that God isn’t influenced by those things.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

I wonder what our first impressions of Jesus would have been? Isaiah the Prophet said this about him.

“For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him.”
Isaiah 53:2

From these verses it would seem that Jesus would not have initially drawn people to him through his appearance. It was his teachings, his character and his good works. He showed great compassion and love which drew people. His words of wisdom and understanding would have been like precious jewels.

James gives us good advice in these bible verses because prejudice can lead to favouritism.

“My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favouritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, ‘Here’s a good seat for you,’ but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
James 2:1-4

So my prayer this week is that the Lord will help me identify any prejudice in my heart and show me what influences my first impressions. May it be Godly discernment and wisdom with eyes of love which are not blinkered or blind. Eyes and ears that see the heart and character of a person not influenced by outward appearance.

Have a blessed week my friends.

What’s it based on..

A day of Removal and Replacement

I had this word a few weeks ago from the Lord but felt that the Lord wanted me to keep it and release it today.

I believe this is what I heard the Lord say to me: “I have been watching from My throne. I have been testing and weighing to see who is putting their faith in Me. To see those who are acting justly and choosing to do what is right.

I seek for those who will carry My light. I am now going to carry out a removal. Those who are in positions of authority, starting at the very top in nations and governments will now start to be removed. You will see kingdoms and nations being shaken and leaders will start to be toppled like dominoes.

There will be others now who will be ready to take their place who I have been preparing for such a time as this. In Esther’s day I removed Queen Vashti and Esther was ready to take her place. I had prepared her to be chosen. So it will be with My people who I have prepared. Some in the hidden places, the secret places to be revealed at the right time.

The people I have prepared are for all levels of government and influence within the nations-in places of business, innovation and media. People who will rise up and speak My words and act righteously and with mercy.

They will be full of Godly wisdom as my son Solomon, they will be bold and courageous as my son, David and they will be gentle and humble like My Son Jesus.

I am at work in the darkness. I am at work in the secret place and even now I start to draw back the curtain so that My plan for removal and replacement will start to take place. Look and see and watch what will now start to be revealed.

Pray for those who have been called for such a time as this. That they will boldly seize the opportunity which opens to them. That they will walk through the open door and take their place. That fear and anxiety will not stop them. That doubt will not be a snare to them but that they will go forward boldly and occupy the positions that I have for them.

The time is coming for the doors of opportunity to be opened. Be bold and seize the day and move into the inheritance that the Lord has for His Saints.

“I will depose you from your office, and you will be ousted from your position. In that day I will summon my servant, Eliakim son of Hilkiah. I will clothe him with your robe and fasten your sash around him and hand your authority over to him. He will be a father to those who live in Jerusalem and to the people of Judah. I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.
Isaiah 22:19-22

God will lift you up at the proper time