You are at the grocery store. You walk down the grocery isle and see a young woman, scantily clad. The expression on her face is sour. She has two little children in the cart and you can tell they are not making her any happier. She doesn't even notice you are looking at her. Tell me, what thoughts run through your mind and heart?
At that same grocery store, you see a woman dressed very modest. She is alone and meets your eyes with a smile. As you walk past her, she watches you leave and goes about her shopping. Are the thoughts that run through your head towards her.....kinder than the first?
Even though this is a pretend scenario, sometimes everything is not what it seems. Looking at face value, you would think the first lady has an attitude and the second lady was nice. But think deeper....what if the first lady had a terrible day? What if she was really sick or received terrible news that struck her down? Maybe her husband left her, or she lost her job and is wondering how she is going to pay for these groceries? What if the second lady looked and smiled at you and thought she was miles above you? What if that smile was phony and she had rude intent toward you? What if she was there for a drug deal?
ANOTHER PRETEND SCENARIO:
You go to a pizza place and you see two groups of teens/20 somethings. Each are talking and laughing amongst themselves. One table the kids are all tattooed out and have piercings all over the place. The girls are wearing heavy make-up and the boys have pants that are tighter than they should be. The other table all the kids are well dressed and clean cut looking. The girls are wearing modest clothes and the boys look as if they are fit to go to church.....tell me....what thoughts are running through your head?
Again, looking at face value....you know what MOST would be thinking. But you are not factoring in anything but their appearance. You see what you like and is comfortable for you...but you have no idea which kid is on drugs, or what girl is pregnant. Maybe none of them are...but this is the problem with most of us....LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING.
Each person is complex and who they are and what they look like come from all sorts of places. You might be on the conservative side and prefer to see kids dress more towards your liking. You might be on the liberal side and prefer tattoos and piercings. BOTH sides can be equally judgmental. If you are the former, you might question someone's character by how they dress, you might think they are rebellious and have no respect for God or authority. If you are the latter, you might think they are boring, stuffy and not worth your time. Both are equally guilty.
I do not recall Jesus scanning someone's clothes and then deciding they are good enough to talk to..or heal. He healed people with rotting flesh, a horrible disease called leprosy. He healed an older woman that maybe Doctor's would now a days tell her to live with it. He met up with men that were demon possessed. He spoke to women with questionable morals. He saw the heart. He saw their need. He looked past it all and saw what mattered.
I want to challenge you (myself included) to think twice about what you see in a person. Just the outside. I am not talking about behavior or anything like that, just the outward. Maybe our preconceived notions about people are more off than we thought. Let's look at people and ask The Lord how He would see them :)