How to Stop Judging By Appearance Alone

by: Rachael Adams

Today’s Bible Verse: “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 16:7

The first time I saw my husband, he had a black eye. My immediate thought was, He sure is cute, but I’ll bet he’s trouble. I better stay away from him. I imagine God getting a good chuckle from this first interaction. He knew what Bryan would mean to me in the future, but I didn’t.

Later, I learned the real reason behind his questionable appearance. He was a college athlete and the black eye was from playing competitively during practice earlier that day. We laugh about it now, but I can’t help thinking: What if I had let my inaccurate assumption about him prevent him from becoming my husband? What a tragedy that would have been to my now-happy family of four.

I wish I could tell you I’ve learned my lesson about judging based on appearance alone, but it’s something with which I still struggle. I wonder if you struggle with this tendency, too? Perhaps, like me, you’re tempted to make inaccurate assumptions based on gender, race, age, and even personal style.

1 Samuel 16:7, inspirational image

It’s so easy to assume that we won’t have anything in common with those who are different from we are, so we don’t make an effort to connect at all. But what kind of beautiful relationship could God be trying to give you if you only opened your heart and mind to it?

One of my favorite biblical teachings on this subject is from 1 Samuel 16. The Lord commanded Samuel to visit Jesse to anoint one of his sons as king. When Samuel arrived, he 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.”

Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the Lord chosen this one.” Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” Samuel sent for him, and when David arrived, the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”

Samuel made wrong assumptions and even David’s own father made wrong assumptions about who would be king. People made wrong assumptions about Jesus as King too. They thought He would come into the world with pomp and circumstance, but He came as a humble baby in a manger. All the way to the cross, people made the wrong assumptions about the Man who was the Savior of the world. And how heartbreaking to miss Him?

Let us not make the same mistake. We don’t want to be judged or counted out based on our own appearance. Therefore, may we view everyone as a person made in God’s image—each person fearfully and wonderfully made by Him. With this truth in mind, the only safe assumption is that everyone has value and is worthy of love. Let us not focus on the outer appearance and risk missing out on God-given connections. Instead, may we look at the heart and see the beautiful relationships God might have in store.

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