Do you love a good impression? Almost everyone does! I do a few impressions. Some good and some not so good. I used to do impressions of local pastors and it always got a laugh. I’ve since wised up and I canned that act. One thing I’ve learned though, is that a good impression is very good, but a bad one is very bad. A bad impression is almost unbearable.
I’m a big Elvis fan. I always have been. So when a guy that I knew revealed to me that he had a side gig as an Elvis impersonator, I was intrigued. When I was invited to see my friend’s show, I happily agreed. O my gosh! It was awful. He didn’t look like him, act like him or sound like him. If is weren’t for the songs, I wouldn’t have even known who my buddy was trying to impersonate. I wanted to leave after the first note but I had gotten myself into something I couldn’t get out of. I had to fake enjoyment (I have no poker face) for the rest of the night. It was excruciating.
But good impressions are powerful! An accurate portrayal will bring a crowd to their feet in an instant. We’ve all seen these impressions- Jim Carrey doing Michael Landon, Clint Eastwood or William Shatner or Matt Damon and Kate Hudson doing their best version of Matthew McConaughey. It’s so funny, entertaining and mesmerizing. It’s powerful!
In the same way, a bad Jesus impression will turn the stomach. It must be a great impression if it is to be powerful and effective. But there’s a secret here. If we were all willing, we could all do a great Jesus. We could imitate Him perfectly because that is exactly what He wants. In fact, He gives us part of Himself and when it comes through in the things we think, say and do, it’s amazing. His thoughts, His words and His actions are spot on because they are authentic. They are coming from the source Himself.
You might say, “I don’t feel like imitating Christ”. I doubt many of us feel like it in the beginning because it’s the very act of “trying” that brings everything that is Him to the surface. And when He makes His appearance, it’s powerful. It changes us and almost everyone around us. This week, I received a text that was obviously meant to be sarcastic and degrading. I stopped and asked God, “How should I reply”. I texted back as if the insult was meant to be a complement and thanked the person for it. Guess what. The reply to my text was kind and generous. Imitate Matthew McConaughey and you may get a laugh “Alright, Alright, Alright”. Imitate Jesus, and you’ll change someone’s life.