I must admit to some internal struggles that I’ve been going through recently. It is nothing earth shattering- just wrestling with the idea of first impressions. I recently visited a commercial website and was somewhat put off by the spelling and grammatical errors I noticed. I’m not the grammar police but I do notice common mistakes. I try to remain gracious though as I recognize that I don’t have the best grammatical skills around (I’m often corrected). However, some of the more common problems such as the correct use of “to,” “two,” and “too” and “its” vs. “it’s” will drive me crazy.
We recently went through a due diligence process for selecting a vendor at work. We set up demonstrations with several vendors who had made it through the first cut. During the demonstrations, one vendor in particular had a very poor showing. In discussions afterward with my team and boss,it became clear that this was a fatal error on the vendor’s part. No amount of coercion was enough to get my selection committee to reconsider this particular vendor.
Around the same time, we experienced the first day of school. Outfits were picked out with great care to ensure an accurate first impression. Especially for my oldest daughter who started middle school this year with many students she has never met before.
Coincidentally (well not really – I believe God was speaking to me here), our Sunday morning sermon touched on moving past first impressions to invite others to church. We saw an excellent video short you can find at this link.
Overall, I can certainly imagine there are situations that warrant the use of first impressions and gut instincts. I can imagine walking into a new doctor’s office and immediately leaving if I find the waiting room filthy. I can imagine the necessity of listening to your gut during police work or battle. However, other than for health and safety reasons, is there ever really a good reason to judge a book by its cover? (See, I used the correct word. :)) More importantly, what does God expect from us here? What are your thoughts?