by Dr. Bill Austin

We are all probably guilty of judging someone before we get to know them. How many times have we prejudged someone to discover later that we were wrong about that person?

Glimpse is when we see others by appearances, projections and first impressions rather than seeing the person behind the first glance. We all have entered a room and glanced around. When asked what we saw, many of us did not see the details, but we simply caught a glimpse of the room. We do the same with people.

The danger is mistaking the glimpse or glance for reality. The scary part is that we label, describe, believe things about another person as to who they are when in truth this comes from only a glimpse. A glimpse could be letting just one action say who we believe that person is.

Glimpse is when we see others by appearances,
projections and first impressions
rather than seeing the person
behind the first glance.

Being a pastor, when asked to speak about the deceased, I realized how much I did not know about some of the people in my life. I realized that even though I had been with them, I really did not know them beyond a glimpse. I would dare say we know more people on a glimpse level than on an in-depth level. We do not know what events changed their lives, what influences molded them, or the struggles they experienced. We only know who they are today. We do not know how they got to be the people they are today.

A car salesperson told the following true story. He said a farmer came in with bib overalls. He wanted to purchase a car. At first glimpse, judging by the way he was dressed, the salesperson took him to the used car section, figuring he could not afford much. The farmer said, “I would like to have something a little better than these.” So the salesperson took him to another part of the car lot, showed him some new cars, but the cheaper versions. Again, the farmer said he would like to see something nicer, so the salesperson thought, “I’ll show him what he can’t afford.” He showed him one of the most expensive cars in the dealership. The farmer said, “I’ll take this one.” The salesperson thought, “Wait until he hears how much this car costs.” When he told the farmer, the response was, “Fine. I’ll take that one.” Then the farmer pulled out a jar filled with paper bills, and paid cash for the car! The salesperson acted on a glimpse.

In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People®, Stephen R. Covey wrote, “Be slow to judge and react to information, people and situations that arise. Take the time to evaluate, research, and formulate actions based on truth rather than on emotion, the source of the information, public opinion, or the myriad of other influences that can distort and influence your perceptions.”

Dr. William E. Austin is a licensed psychotherapist and holds a Doctor of Divinity degree. He is a therapist with Tidewater Pastoral Counseling Services . He is well known for his warmth and sense of humor. His book, Creating Our Safe Place - Articles on Healthy Relationships, can be purchased through www.amazon.com.

Tidewater Pastoral Counseling: 623-2700