Friends, I sure hope that you'll bear with me as I work my way through this intensely practical stuff in Paul's little letter to the Corinthians! They must have been a lot like me, because the things Paul wrote to them speak so clearly into my faith-life (and, I suspect, into yours as well)!
Making decisions on the basis of appearance... I do that all the time! I see how people are dressed and I immediately assign them to a category. I see how people drive their cars and I make judgments about their character. I listen to people talk and make judgments about their intelligence. I watch people's actions and I make judgments about their motives. I don't want to be like that, friends! I am determined to cooperate with God's grace, because he doesn't want me to stay that way either!
Here's God's classic word to Samuel when he, like everyone else, judged David's brother Eliab by his appearance: 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)
Here's what I'm learning to do: When I catch myself making judgments on the basis of appearance, I confess it to myself and my Father. I own it. I acknowledge that it's wrong, it's unhelpful, it's keeping me smaller than God wants me to be. And I ask specifically for my Father's forgiveness. Then, I accept his forgiveness and move on with a determination to do better!
If the Lord is the only one who can see the heart and judge correctly, maybe we'd all be better off if we simply stopped judging others altogether! (Until, of course, we know their hearts! Or maybe even then!)
Father, Thanks for this! I receive your admonition and I accept the correction. By your grace, I'll do better with this Judging by Outward Appearance thing! Thanks for your compassionate patience. Your love is changing me! For Jesus' sake!
Reading: 2 Corinthians 10; Psalm 31
The trouble with you is that you make your decisions on the basis of appearance. You must recognize that we belong to Christ just as much as those who proudly declare that they belong to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:7 NLT)
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