I’d known him 13 years ago. Then he was a baby; now he was a teenager.
I had taken a high school teacher’s position at a local private school. As I called the roll in my ninth grade class, I immediately recognized the name of one of my students as a child I knew a number of years before. His parents were members of a small country church my father pastored. Since he was a baby when I last saw him, I could only judge his character by his parents. They were hard working, honest people who had been good friends to me and my family. They were dedicated to the church and faithfully supported it.
Surely, this young man would mimic his parents. In this case, he did, but he could have misrepresented his family entirely. I judged him by what I knew about his parents and expected just as much from him.
Jesus’ hometown was Nazareth. He had grown up as a carpenter, the son of Mary and Joseph. Years later—when he returned claiming to be God’s Son, the people scoffed. They knew him as the carpenter’s son and nothing more. Their preconceived ideas kept them from believing the truth about him. They missed the Savior. Prejudice blinded them to the truth.
There have been a number of occasions when I’ve been disappointed by those I thought I knew. They’ve let me down, gossiped about me, and betrayed me when I needed them the most. I knew the parents of some and expected better, but was disillusioned. Stereotyping has also kept me from seeing the person behind the facade.
God creates everyone in his image. Prejudice, stereotyping, and erroneous first time impressions can keep me from seeing their inner potential and helping them realize it. There’s nothing I can’t do or be with God’s assistance, and the same is true of all people. Many whom I think I know often surprise me by being more than I ever imagined. I see a cheater; God sees a business owner. I see a troubled teen; God sees a future preacher or missionary.
We are all masterpieces in the making. God wants us to see others as he sees them. What blinders do you need to remove so you can know others as God does?
Prayer: Father, help us see others as You do so we can love them as You do.
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