But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NLT
As we passed them, I judged their life story.
Traffic backed up as we chugged down the rural highway after leaving church. I peeked around the cars to determine the problem. A moped loaded with two people. Why didn’t they pull over and let the traffic by?
When an opportunity came, all cars passed. I glanced at the couple as we drove by. A scraggly-looking man covered in tattoos. The woman looked about the same. To be honest, several things scampered through my mind that shouldn’t have. They’re probably riding this because they lost their driver’s license for DUI. After all, don’t they call those things liquor cycles? Probably gone to get some more now. I bet they’re high on meth. Bet they don’t work either.
Samuel had a case of judging too. When God instructed him to go to Jesse’s house and anoint one of his sons as the next king of Israel, he immediately selected Eliab. His outward appearance impressed Samuel. Surely, God wanted him. But He didn’t. God wanted the little shepherd boy who wasn’t originally among the mix of sons under consideration.
Appearances are inconsequential to God. They often aren’t to me—or others—but they are to God. Brand name clothes and shoes, fancy jewelry, mind-numbing tattoos, a new hairdo, and any other number of outward things have the potential to set me apart from others. The trouble is, none of these things affect my inside. And God inspects there to see if I qualify for His work.
David was only a shepherd boy on the outside—a dirty job to be sure—but on the inside, even as a teenager, he had a heart that longed after spiritual things. God desired this in the man who would lead the nation.
Outward appearances are sometimes important, but they are never more important than my inward appearance. The only way to make it spotless is to trust Christ as my Savior and let His blood wash away my sins. Then I’m beautiful—if not to others, to Him. My new nature puts my heart in the right place, which will help me stop making hasty judgments about others whose outward appearance isn’t what I think it should be.
Don’t let someone’s outward appearance blind you to what they may look like on the inside.
Prayer: Father, enable us to look at others the way You look at us: with love, compassion, and grace.