I literally judge books by their covers. Bookstores are my fave, so naturally I love browsing, checking out new books. But if a book has an ugly cover, it’s sooo hard for me to buy it. And I’ve had to convince myself hardcore not to buy a book just because it looks pretty.
So there’s that. But I think this saying transcends literal books. I tend to judge people by their outsides, too.
Case in point: the other day I was tired and worn out, so I needed pizza. As I was waiting in the little pizza shop, I saw this guy waiting by me. He was mid-30s, big and tough looking, with a scruffy white beard and bald head. I was a little put-off and kept my distance. As we were waiting, this older lady left with a box of pizza and he went out of his way to hold open the door for her. He was so nice, and as he left, he thanked the employees who had made his pizza. Then (finally) they called my name. I was heading for the door, and my hands were full because you better believe I got a large pizza. This cute, clean-cut boy around my age was standing right in front of the door. But instead of holding it open for me, he just slowly stepped out of the way. Now I obviously could have used a little help, but he didn’t seem to even realize it. It made me smile though, because God helped me realize that I was totally judging by the outside, when in reality I should have been noticing the heart (1 Sam.16:7).
I think this problem goes beyond Rissa and the pizza shop. When you first meet someone, or when you reconnect with an old friend, what do they usually ask? “What do you do?” “Where do you work?” “Where do you go to school?” “What sports do you play?” etc. etc. I always get so freaked out when people ask me what I did this week because…what if I haven’t done “enough?” What if they don’t approve? What if I don’t look good enough on the outside? What if my “cover” is torn and messed up?
And if curious people’s questions aren’t enough, there’s this whole huge thing called social media. Just scroll down a few times and you’ll see many “flawless” covers. But what about pure hearts?
Today, I want to give us both a fun little challenge/exercise. Let’s imagine we’re blind. Stay with me here. 😉 People who cannot see cannot judge by externals as much. Imagine describing someone—your friend, your crush, yourself—to someone without using any descriptions about external stuff. Describe their likes and interests. Describe what makes their eyes sparkle and their hearts pound faster. Describe their hearts and souls and laughter. Describe them.
Because in the end, all externals will fade away forever and you and I will be standing before the throne of the Most High God. And it won’t matter how trendy your Instagram feed is. He won’t care how many people re-tweeted your tweet or liked your selfie. He’s gonna care about your soul. About your heart. In the end, it all comes down to knowing and loving God and people. That’s what’s going to matter. So are we living in a way that reflects that today? Are we living in a way that reflects Jesus?
Jesus didn’t have a pretty “cover.” Isaiah 53 says there was “nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” His “cover” was torn, beaten, bruised, flogged, and killed for you and me. I cannot think of a more beautiful Man.
Today, let’s ask God to help us be and look more like Jesus.
Let’s do what we can to meet the needs of whoever He brings along our paths today, doing it for Jesus (see Matthew 25:31-46 for a beautiful picture of this).
Let’s obey God’s command “to love one another” (see 1 John 3:23-24).
And for corn sake, let’s ditch this ridiculous comparison and let His joy flood us. That’s when we’ll be strong (2 Corinth. 12:9-10; Nehemiah 8:10).