What impressions do we make on others? What opinions do they form when they observe what we do or hear what we say? Are we crude and nasty or do we speak to others with decency and respect? Do we yell at waitresses when our order isn’t quite right or are we kind and gentle? Do we masticate the sales clerk when the customer in front of us takes too long or do we demonstrate patience and understanding? Do we blow up at service people when we have a problem or do we practice self-control? You only get one opportunity to make a first impression and the one you make is the one that will most likely stick.
When I was first hired to manage a non-profit Christian ministry about twenty years ago, I formed my opinion of an employee I met the first time she walked into my office. Her language was filthy. Later, when I learned that she “professed” to be a Christian, I was shocked; and then I was disappointed. You see her speech was not consistent with her profession.
I know there are lots of you who would jump to her defense and caution me, that I should not be “judgmental” but this is simply a matter of understanding the nature of things. I once had a grapefruit tree in my yard. Every year it prominently displayed its fruit. Everyone who saw the tree knew what it was and every time I picked fruit from it, I got grapefruit; not cherries, not avocados, just grapefruit. I was never surprised or disappointed by its fruit. Why? Because (pay attention now) grapefruit trees always produce grapefruits. That is the nature of the tree.
When God saves us, He gives us a new nature. Therefore, it is not judgmental but it is reasonable to expect that certain characteristics will be evident in our lives. The apostle, Paul, referred to those collective characteristics as the “fruit of the Spirit which is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control.” Gal. 5:22-23.