Friday, April 20, 2007

John 7:24

"Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment." (ASV)

When Jesus said to judge according to righteous judgment, he wasn't talking about condemning anyone. That kind of judgment belongs to God alone. He meant something closer to the familiar phrase "Don't judge a book by its cover."

All too often we pick friends because of the way they dress or the way they look. If someone dresses a bit differently, they are an outcast from our society. People with obvious physical flaws find themselves very much alone. This is not the way that God intended for His people to behave.

While the world around us is not likely to change the way they judge such people, we as Christians are called to look below the surface and get to know the person inside. Yet sometimes, Christians are the worst about such things. If someone has a tattoo, we shun them. If someone dresses in black or wears too much makeup or has too many piercings, we don't even want to talk to them. We forget that God created them too. He loves them just as much as He loves us.

If you want to see just how real this hypocrisy is, someday visit a church where you aren't known, and dress a bit on the unconventional side. I have witnessed this many times, and I've even been on the receiving end a few times as well. Those who are not "properly" dressed are not greeted very warmly in most churches. They find themselves sitting alone through the service, and no one welcomes them or attempts to befriend them afterward. About the only personal greeting they may get is from the ushers or official greeters.

Yet these people need God's love just as much as the rest of us. When Christ walked this earth as a man, He dined with tax collectors and prostitutes. He didn't keep to the more well-respected crowd. He was unafraid to love those the world considered unlovable. In this aspect, as with everything else in life, we are called to follow His example. Jesus Himself said "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me." (Matthew 25:40 ASV)

So the next time you feel yourself beginning to judge someone based on their personal appearance, look more closely. Is this person "unlovable"? Or is this just another person who is in need of God's love?


jan said...

You make a good point and yet I'm always curious about the motives of people who purposely dress in ways that are different from normal dress of our society and then enter its institutions. What kind of reaction are they expecting? I'm not talking about spending a lot of money on appearance. I'm talking about purposely choosing to affect a different appearance from the norm.

Bun-Girl said...

Frankly, I think a lot of them are hurting. They may seem angry or stand-offish on the outside, but often that's a defense mechanism for someone who's been hurt.

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