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Impress me

Since you have been chosen by God who has given you this new kind of life, and because of his deep love and concern for you, you should practice tenderhearted mercy and kindness to others. Don’t worry about making a good impression on them, but be ready to suffer quietly and patiently. (Colossians 3:12 TLB)
Do you worry about making that "good impression" when you are with other people? If you spend even six or seven minutes in front of the mirror everyday, you probably are concerned even slightly with the impression you make from a physical stand-point. Even if all that time is spent shaving a little stubble from your face, or putting on a minimal amount of make-up, it is still 'work' that goes into the 'impression' you give to others. I doubt you do it entirely for yourself! We can spend a great deal of time 'perfecting' the outward 'impression' we display, but I wonder if we spend equal amount of time on the inward 'impression' we will display? It might come as a shock to you, but that inward impression isn't always going to display as 'tenderhearted mercy' or 'kindness to others' if we don't allow some inward 'work' to be done!
Inward change is what most affects the outward impression we portray to others anyway. The more God works his Word into the fibers of our inner man, the more God works his grace outward through every action and word which will leave 'impressions' on others. When I sit at the breakfast bar, I have a tendency to wrap my feet around the pub legs of the stools that line that space. If I am there more than fifteen minutes, like I can be if I have taken my laptop to the counter to write my blog, there are 'impressions' left in my calves where I have wrapped them against the corners of those stool legs. Those grooves left by the chair's legs go away in a few minutes, but they begin to hurt if I assume that position way too long. The grooves become noticeable to me after a certain time, requiring me to reposition myself. The impression left by our actions in life isn't always that easily 'erased' - sometimes it leaves 'painful grooves' in the lives of others, and even in our own lives!
An impression is left in more than a physical sense whenever our actions are less than kind or merciful, though. There are the immediate sensations left on the intellect, emotions, and sometimes the physical being. There can also be lasting sensations (impressions) left when the immediate becomes a little more 'prolonged' in nature. While we can never fully control how another perceives our actions, we are in control of most of that impression - or at least we should be! This is why it is so important to allow God to 'work into' us what will bring out the tender mercies and unending grace which leaves the lasting impressions of his love and mercy long after we are gone! Just sayin!

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