I saw a man wearing a Panther Creek Sweatshirt. I asked if he had children attending the school. He said yes. When I told him I worked there, he asked if I worked in the cafeteria.
We were a young family, newly married. I worked for a computer manufacturer and my husband for NCDOT. When our tax preparer filled our taxes, she wrote under jobs: secretary and maintenance man. (That was the last time anyone else prepared my taxes. My thought was if someone that limited could prepare a tax return, surely I could.)
Who do you see?
Now I know that assumptions are made on both sides. Quick judgments of people because of the way they are dressed, the color of their skin, their appearance of wealth or lack thereof.
I remember when I first moved to NC and accidentally ended up in Johnston County. I remember the angst I felt simply because people (Caucasians) told me it was a racist county.
Now, let me tell you a secret. If you have ever looked at someone and made a rash judgments, it does not make you a racist. It makes you natural. We all make snap judgments about people based on their appearance.
Samuel, a great prophet and leader, made this mistake. In choosing the next king of Israel, he looked at outward appearances. He was tempted to judge based on height, position in the family, and appearance.
But we must be willing to go beyond first impressions and look at people’s hearts. We must be willing to get to know people who look differently, think differently, live differently and ask God to show us how he sees that person. We must learn to dialogue and get to know people and not allow what we see with our eyes to rule our hearts. We must move from natural judgment to supernatural discernment.
That day, Samuel at his old age learned a valuable lesson. A lesson I wish my conservative friends could learn when they are throwing around words and phrases like, “thug,” “Muslims want to kill us,”, “Mexican immigrants are dangerous,”, “libtard”. A lesson I wish my liberal friends would learn when they are throwing around phrases like, “racist,” “homophobic”, “fascist”, “misogynist”. Samuel learned, as we need to learn, that God does not look at a person’s ethnicity, their birthplace, their appearance. He does not judge based on the superficial things we look at. He definitely does not judge us based on our political party. He sees us as we were created to be. He judges us through the blood of Christ.
Lord, give us eyes to see past outward appearances and see hearts. Teach us to value every person we encounter because you died for that person. Teach us to love as you love.
“When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.””
1 Samuel 16:6-7 NIV