Pretend you are in a town where there are only two doctors. The first doctor seems very unconcerned about personal hygiene, and his cluttered office is located behind an old pharmacy. The other doctor is well-groomed and has a beautiful office downtown. Both charge the same fee. You need to see a doctor. Which doctor would you choose?
In this situation, as in many others, we may decide based only on appearance. Communication doesn’t involve just speech; good speaking ability is not enough. When we look at others, we first notice what is on the outside, and it is the same when they look at us. Our appearance communicates. We are reminded, “You cannot expect the Lord to give you the fullest success in winning souls for Him unless your whole manner and appearance is of a nature that will win respect. The truth is magnified even by the impression of neatness in dress” (Ellen White, Letter 336, 1908).
DO WE LOOK LIKE AMBASSADORS?
To present a good image, we must be sure that our exterior appearance is in harmony with our interior. Clean, well-ironed clothes, shined shoes, and neatly combed hair communicate for us even before we open our mouths. Our smiles and personal hygiene reveal how we take care of our bodies.
How do you think others will respond to your current image? Look in the mirror. What image do you present? What affect may this have when you are going to talk about Jesus? If you consider yourself an ambassador for the King of Kings, how will this affect your appearance?
ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER . . .
As we think about how we communicate, we must also consider how our actions reveal our characters. Our non-verbal communication reflects who we are on the inside. It’s no use dressing up nicely if our internal character defects reveal themselves in the way we behave. Our behavior must glorify our Father. As faithful messengers, we need a special garment, the robe of Christ’s righteousness. We need to dress ourselves with Christ and seek to develop a character like His. If His character qualities—gentleness, courage, meekness, strength, goodness, energy, perseverance, honesty, integrity, temperance, and vitality—become part of our characters, they will speak louder than our words.
Alexandra Sampaio is a speech therapist in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.