Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Easily Impressed

“Let me not, I pray you, accept any man's person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man.” (Job 32:21)

Someone once said, “Tell me who you love and I’ll tell you who you are.” But I would go further and say, “Tell me who impresses you and I’ll tell you who you are.”

Several years ago, someone with whom I was talking shared with me that he had entered into a friendship simply because of the prestige and attractiveness of the other individual. “Actually,” this person candidly admitted, “I think I’m easily impressed.” Aren’t we all? Though some more so than others, it would seem. The individual’s admission smote my own heart, and I had to ask myself, “Who or what impresses me? And, just as important, “How easily am I impressed?” It’s not a subject without consequences.

The word, “impress” means, “to apply pressure so as to leave a mark.” And that is the risk we take in our associations. Those who impress us leave their own mark upon us. Subtle, perhaps, but, nevertheless, indelible. More than anything else, their ideas will influence our own thinking. Somehow, faulty thinking is more attractive in impressive packaging. Whether it is looks, wealth, scholarship, or popularity, some people wield personal influence that is undeserved; because, beneath the trappings, they lack the moral character and Godly reasoning that marks a truly great person.

At the risk of offending someone (myself included), I think it should be pointed out that to be easily impressed suggests a nature that too pliable. It’s the difference between putty and pewter. In the case of the person I mentioned earlier, youth is involved, which is reasonable, though perhaps even more harmful. But it’s even less acceptable when older Christians, who should have developed more discernment, look wide-eyed at (spiritually) small people, who substitute clichés and diplomacy for precepts and principles. Instead of deep calling unto deep (Psl.42:7), it would appear to be shallow responding to shallow.

I should say, however, that the person who cannot be impressed at all is an individual convinced of his or her own importance. Such a person has stagnated, with a mind set in concrete. (Very unimpressive!) I guess what’s needed here is an “impression gauge,” a built in yardstick to measure the eligibility of those with whom we come in contact. No one is perfect, of course, but we should never allow the man or woman who disobeys the direct commands of Scripture, or who is content to live the Christian life on a low plain, to leave his or her mark upon us. In other words, their impression on our lives should be as significant as a bird’s on tempered glass.

Now, here’s a question for all of us: How easily, and by whom, am I impressed? Our answer says far more about us than them.

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