Last week we were talking to the women, this week it’s the men’s turn. We want to be accepted and respected for who we are, but that doesn’t mean we can slack off. A little effort in our presentation is necessary.
We will never get a second chance to make a good first impression. If we want a good job, we must make the necessary effort to present ourselves at our best in front of a future employer. The same is true in our social life. We should be proud of who we are, but still make the necessary effort to present ourselves at our best, especially during a first date. If a woman sees you unshaven and in shabby pants when you first meet, she will think you are probably worse on other days and will not dare approach you. The same is true when we present the gospel. If we look beaten and broken, people won’t think that Jesus can help them in their situation. They will say to themselves, “If Jesus cannot help him, what can He do for me?”
Many people quote 1 Samuel 16:7 when discussing appearance. “But the Lord said to Samuel: Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart”. It’s true: in the eyes of God, our value has nothing to do with our appearance. We can develop our inner beauty by growing in our faith. On the other hand, we can see that human beings pay attention to appearance! They won’t see your inner beauty at first sight. We must therefore learn to reflect the love and grace of God by our outward appearance and by our behavior. We must present ourselves to others (and women) as ambassadors for Christ. Our appearance can be a powerful witness to others, a demonstration of the transformation God has done in us.
In practice, this means, among other things, dressing appropriately for each situation. Consider the context of each event. It is not a good idea to wear a suit for a nature walk. Just as it is not appropriate to dress in sweatpants when we go to an activity where we are going to meet new people. External appearance also includes the basics of hygiene: haircut and shave, shower and deodorant, brushing teeth, and cutting nails. You have to make it a routine and build a habit so that it becomes so natural that we won’t have this stress on your shoulders on a first date.
Outward appearance also includes our posture. Before even talking to someone, you walk towards them. Our approach will say a lot about us. Therefore, it is wise to practice standing up straight and keeping our head held high. When chatting with someone, maintain eye contact with the person and smile if appropriate. Practice speaking more slowly, with a calmer voice. When we speak quickly, our tone of voice becomes higher, and a high pitch will bring anxiety. Also practice active listening: listen without interrupting and respond by showing respect for the person you are speaking to. Avoid crossing your arms, as it gives the impression that you are closing yourself off from their opinions.
Always show respect and kindness in your interactions. Be filled with compassion and empathy. That is not only a way of being Christlike (Matthew 5:43-48), but it is also an attitude that women will notice. They will watch how you treat others, especially those in service. Say thank you to waiters in restaurants; show gratitude to those who help you; give sincere compliments to those who have good ideas; take the time to apologize when you make a mistake. All of this, women are going to see as a reflection of your character. Respecting everyone’s boundaries and personal space, physical and emotional, also plays an important role in your presentation.
Finally, we must remember that we are never too old or young to make a good impression. The Bible encourages us to always work on ourselves (Psalms 92:12-15). We must remain open to the ideas and experiences of others, even if they are very different from ours. Your age is not a limitation, but an asset to lift others, without forcing them to follow you. Refuse pride, for God, loves the humble (1 Peter 5:5). There may be things you are not able to do, so what? Rejoice instead in what you are able to bring to those around you, and do not forget to use your current resources to increase the Kingdom of God, for He does not abandon you (Isaiah 46:4)!
(This is a summary of the May 6, 2023 men’s conference.)