God uses the everyday occurrences in life to teach us how He wants believers to live. Sometimes the lessons are more painful than at others.
Have you ever judged another by the color of his or her skin? Or by the level of education the person had achieved? Or the clothes they wore or the amount of money they made? Where they lived?
It’s only natural. Most of us size up others through our eyes: by how they look, where they come from, what they do.
Some time ago I was in the doctor’s office and overheard the receptionist classify me as a “geriatric” patient. You cannot imagine the pain that caused!
Apparently, in order to schedule my next appointment, the receptionist had looked at my birth date on record so she could match me up with the appropriate therapist. As she put it, “not every therapist can relate to older patients”!
My response? “If they relate to geriatrics, they won’t relate to me!” And when I proceeded to explain my active mental and physical lifestyle I was told I had a issue with defining myself by what I do.
Of course by now I was more than a little bit furious. But I was also keenly aware of how others who are different (as to skin color, occupation, etc.) must feel all the time. I was not being judged by who I am; I was being categorized by externals—specifically my age—and that felt grossly unfair.
Even today, I fret over what happened at the doctor’s office the day I was labeled “geriatric.”
But I am also reminded of the story of the anointing of David in 1 Samuel 16. God ordered Samuel the priest to anoint the next king that would follow Saul’s reign.
When Jesse began parading his sons before Samuel for the selection, Samuel was impressed by the height and stature of son Eliab and thought surely this man was the Lord’s choice. But God said to Samuel: “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. Just imagine what our world would be like if we all did the same. How would I feel if others looked at me and saw not my gender, my shrinking height and graying hair, the extra pounds I carry? What if they saw instead the love in my heart for those who love the Lord, the care and concern I have for those in need? What if they knew the passion I have for knowing the Word and my deep desire to help others know it too?
Do you see where I am going with this? When we judge others by how they look on the outside, we’re missing the best part. It’s the condition of a person’s heart that matters. Ugly, beautiful, old, young—these do not matter one iota. The godly person looks right through them into the heart. He does not stereotype, but sees what God sees—and what God wants us to see.