Don't Judge on Appearances
- Cliff Young Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2008 20 Nov
The average man’s judgment is so poor; he runs a risk every time he uses it.
— Edgar Watson Howe, American Editor
Have you judged a person not worthy to get to know or start a relationship with?
Have you judged yourself as not good enough for something or somebody?
Have you judged a situation to be insurmountable with no hope of change?
We tend to make these determinations because we base our conclusion about others, ourselves, and our situation on superficial information and perception rather than on knowledge and discernment. We see the same every night on television reality shows, political commentaries, and even sports reports. Judgment is made by the way things appear instead of with accurate information and understanding.
Stop judging by the way things look (mere appearance), and make a right judgment (John 7:24).
Have you ever labeled someone in your mind as a result of a first impression? I catch myself making assumptions or passing judgment (positively and negatively) on people based upon their affiliations, the way they look, what their profession is or where they may live. I know this isn’t what God wants me to do, nor do I consciously set out to make such judgments, yet I inherently fall short.
God did not create the division, denominations, or political parties separating us today. We have. As a result, we use these dividing lines to categorize and make assumptions instead of getting to know others for who they really are. When we label people, we put them into a “box.” This limits our thinking, how we care about others, how we treat people, and how we share God’s love.
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?”….The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans) (John 4:7, 9).
Regardless of appearance, background, heritage, gender and even tradition—Jesus initiated a conversation with the Samaritan woman accepting her for who she was and to offer her eternal life.
If we are striving to live a life that is Spirit-filled and more like Jesus, we should make every effort to interact with people in the same way Jesus did, with compassion, forgiveness, grace, mercy and love.
Don’t judge others solely on appearance. Take the time to get to know a person’s heart and their character. You are the one who might be changed.
Have you ever looked into the mirror and felt discouraged? Do you compare your talents, abilities, and possessions to others and feel you were overlooked by God in some ways? I fall into this trap and often ask myself, “Why do I evaluate myself through the eyes of society and media rather than through the eyes of Jesus?!”
The world’s opinion is temporal. We rarely keep up with the latest hairstyle, fashion, cars or gadgets for a season, let alone throughout our lives. However, if we have a Kingdom perspective, we will begin to accept ourselves for who we are, a child of God. We can then appreciate our differences and embrace the individual journey God has for each of us.
God doesn’t think of us as ordinary, common, or unremarkable. He sees beautiful, extraordinary, valuable creations formed with His hands and exactly the way He designed.
So God created man in His own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:27).
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight (1 Peter 3:3-4).
The Pharisees were some of the most pride-filled, judgmental individuals of their time. Adorned in their robes and embellishments, they would stride through the temple courts thinking highly of themselves while looking down upon others. Though they may have been emulated by some because of their outward appearance, their hearts were hardened and their focus was on themselves rather than on God.
They (Pharisees) don’t practice what they teach….Everything they do is for show….They enjoy the attention they get on the streets (Matthew 23:3, 5, 7).
Don’t scrutinize over yourself based upon ever-changing guidelines set by the world’s standards. Praise God for the uniqueness in which He created you.
It’s easy to feel pessimistic at how the state of our country, our family (or lack of) and our life appears. We wake up each day to the uncertainties of national security, high taxes, gas prices, job security, debt and the stock market. We can choose to approach our circumstances by complaining, blaming others, doing nothing, and hoping for a change, or we can seek ways to alter it.
Paul shares his secret of how to deal with every situation.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength (Philippians 4:12-13).
He tells us we can do (by taking action) everything (having no limits) through Him (through God) who gives us strength (with the ability to accomplish it). I truly believe this.
I have asked Jesus to be the Lord of my life. Yet, when I worry about and evaluate situations based on how they may appear (taking too long, going a different direction, no foreseeable solution, etc.), I do not demonstrate my trust in Him. Asking ourselves, “Have I completely given ‘it’ (job, relationships, family, finances, etc.) to Him?” will continue to mature us in Christ.
Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding (nor how it may look) (Proverbs 3:5).
Lift up your specific concern to the Lord and ask Him to show you the direction and action to take. Be patient and prayerful—the answer may be “yes,” “no,” or “not yet.”
I have discovered that basing my judgment and conclusions on how people and situations appear is often flawed as a result of my own restricted vision. It reminds me of the time I began watching a 3-D animated movie without 3-D specific glasses. Even though I could see the picture, it was blurred and distorted. With the appropriate lenses, however, the whole screen came alive with color, depth and clarity.
I often struggle seeing how God is using me or those around me. It may be difficult comprehending how my current situation will help me grow or where it may lead. However, if I continually look at my life and my surroundings through Jesus’ eyes and perspective, I will see myself, others and my situation with love, joy, peace and patience.
May you be blessed for your good judgment… (1 Samuel 25:33).
Cliff Young is a contributing writer to Sandlot Stories (ARose Books), as well as the monthly column, "He Said-She Said," in Crosswalk.com's Singles Channel. An architect and former youth worker, he now works with Christian musicians and consults for a number of Christian ministries. Got feedback? Send your comments and questions to [email protected].