“...The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
I grew up in a time when we dressed up to go to church on Sunday. Everyone at my church looked pretty much the same. The men wore ties. The women wore dresses. The children were all clean-faced and well-behaved. The church building was big and spotless and everyone wore a smile. I grew up thinking that that was what Christians looked like.
As I got older, my understanding of Christianity began to change as I met Christians who didn’t look or act like me. Some were rougher around the edges. Some didn’t go to church as often as I did. They had different views of life and faith. My image of what a Christian looked like changed as my life experiences became more varied.
I began to realize that I was judging others’ relationship to God by the way they looked and acted. I was even taking comfort in knowing I fit the holy image in my own mind.
But God has shown me that this kind of self-righteousness is full of flaws.
The prophet Samuel knew that it was not the outward appearance of a person that determined his or her destiny. It was the heart.
Our God is so creative that He made people from all cultures, backgrounds, and life issues to worship Him. Followers of Christ may all look different to each other, but our hearts carry the very same love of God.
God, forgive me for judging others’ faith by their outward appearance. Help me see people the way You do. Amen.
Do you tend to judge people based on their appearance? Ask God to show you where you can begin to shift your thinking.