"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 man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." - 1 Samuel 16:7
Changed Before My Eyes
By: Sue Payne
I remember attending a certain church service about ten years ago. It happened to be the weekend the Christian Motorcycle Association held their annual conference and conducted their meetings and activities at the church. Rick, the head of this particular chapter, was slotted to give the message at each of the Sunday morning services.
As he was introduced and stepped to the platform, my mind immediately began to judge. He wore black leather pants, boots, and vest. His hair was long and curly. His face weathered and scarred. He was not attractive by my standards and I wondered what the pastor of the church was thinking! Sadly, I sat there feeling almost threatened by his presence.....then he began to speak.
As he shared about his life of abuse, neglect, violence, drugs, and alcohol, pity began to push out my feelings of judgment. No wonder this man has such a tough exterior, I thought. His testimony continued as he recalled how God had pursued him through "the valley of the shadow of death" and how his grandmother had never missed a day covering him with prayer. At this point, this tough character of a man began to cry.
The threatening presence I had felt just minutes before suddenly was replaced by the presence of a "Holiness" I had never experienced anything like this. Literally, this man changed in front of my eyes. Here was a man who truly knew Jesus. It was then that I first realized what it was like to really see the "Jesus" in someone. I was in the presence of the Lord because Jesus had chosen to testify His love for me through Rick.
You may be thinking; How can a person's appearance change before my eyes? This is possible, but only when you look at an individual's heart through the eyes of Christ. God opened my eyes that day.
I've heard it said that the heart of a matter is a matter of the heart. The next time you find yourself judging another person's character or appearance, remember that we are all made in the image of God. Ask the Lord to show you how to look beyond the outer appearance and see the "Jesus" within.
Sue Payne is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in home schooling newsletters and church news bulletins. Most recently one of her articles took second place at the Delaware Christian Writer's Conference. She is experienced in curriculum planning and design and uses her writing skills to encourage and teach others. Sue lives in Delaware, is married, and has two boys whom she home schooled for a total of fourteen years.