Importance of First Impressions – Are Your Thresholds Too High?
As part of my daily Bible reading, I enjoy reading one chapter of Proverbs per day. There are 31 chapters so it works out perfectly and I will double up on the final two chapters in months with only 30 days. I repeat this month after month. It always gives me some little nugget of wisdom I need at just the right time. This particular day I came to chapter 17. It never jumped out at me before but, this day, a verse in that chapter caught my attention and brought my focus to the importance of first impressions for Christians.
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It is Proverbs 17:19
“One who loves to offend loves strife; one who builds a high threshold invites injury.” (HCSB)
It was the second part of the verse that stood out to me. The person who builds a high threshold invites injury.
Have you ever tripped over a door’s threshold? I have many a time. Yes, I am that person that can easily fall upstairs. I actually once managed to slam a revolving door. I am no longer the graceful ballet dancer I was as a child!
The King James Version reads “He loveth transgression that loveth strife: and he that exalteth his gate seeketh destruction”
To be proud, arrogant. The attitude of pride or arrogance. Something that is “too high” and cannot be understood.
The Hebrew word for “gate” (or threshold in the HCSB) is “petach” and means:
Basically, this is saying we are not to make our entrance or opening too proud or arrogant. “Opening” can mean introduction. It can mean our presentation to someone, as in opening lines, opening statement. It has been described as a first impression like an entrance onto a stage! So essentially this means that we should not make or give an impression of being proud or arrogant or it could cause injury.
What does that even mean??
It means, when we meet someone or have an interaction with someone or when people see us in our daily Christian walk, our pride or arrogance as a Christian could cause them to stumble and ultimately fall. The importance of first impressions (or any impression for that matter) for a Christian cannot be understated!
It could cause injury in the sense that we may be the only picture of Jesus they ever see and if we behave in a way that shows pride and arrogance or a self-righteous attitude we could turn that person away, maybe permanently. This is especially true if people come into contact with Christians like this in church for the first time.
It says something too high to be understood.
We cannot use terminology and act like “Sister Super Christian” (as Joyce Meyer likes to say) or else we put a stumbling block in front of a new believer or a non-believer who feels like they can’t measure up.
These are all caused by people erecting high thresholds. How sad that these people came away from their interactions with people in the body of Christ carrying that impression, that injury to their very soul.
We just cannot overlook the importance of first impressions!
[click_to_tweet tweet=”when we meet someone or have an interaction with someone, our pride or arrogance as a Christian could cause them to stumble and ultimately fall. #pride #proverbs #biblestudy” quote=”when we meet someone or have an interaction with someone, our pride or arrogance as a Christian could cause them to stumble and ultimately fall.” theme=”style1″]
You May be the Only Bible Someone Ever Reads
If your thresholds are too high you are going to cause someone to trip and stumble and potentially fall. This does not just apply to those who aren’t yet saved, you can cause a new believer to fall.
1 Timothy 4:11-16 says:
Command and teach these things. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
Do not set too high a threshold!
[click_to_tweet tweet=”If you are a Christian, you may be the only Bible someone ever reads. You show the world what Jesus is all about! #proverbs31 #biblestudy #witness” quote=”If you are a Christian, you may be the only Bible someone ever reads. You show the world what Jesus is all about!” theme=”style1″]
Lovers of Strife
But let’s not neglect the first part of our verse in Proverbs 17, even though the second part could stand alone.
“One who loves to offend loves strife”
One who loves to offend in order to bring about strife is a drama queen or someone who likes to stir things up to create drama!
We cannot be people who love to cause drama or even insert ourselves into it.
There are many people, especially on social media, who seem to thrive on drama. But we are not to be one of them. Again, the importance of first impressions! We never know who is watching us!
My kids’ former babysitter used to always tell them, “Save the drama for your mama” and I have lived by that!! I avoid drama at all costs! It hurts everyone involved.
As Christians, we should avoid it like the plague. It can hinder your walk AND your talk and again, cause someone to stumble.
So dear Christian, let us be sure we are always walking in humility and gentleness. Be sure that your thresholds are low enough that ANYONE from ANY walk of life, any culture, any experience, any condition they are currently in, crossing over it can do so without injury.
Do not underestimate the importance of first impressions! Do not build your thresholds too high!
[click_to_tweet tweet=”There are many people, especially on social media, who seem to thrive on drama. But we are not to be one of them. #dramaqueen #pride #proverbs31″ quote=”There are many people, especially on social media, who seem to thrive on drama. But we are not to be one of them.” theme=”style1″]
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