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superficial impressions

September 29, 2008

yesterdays sermon was straight talk on favoritism based on James 2: 1-13 “a warning against prejudice”.

man judges by the face, but God judges by the heart

“don’t judge by his appearance or height…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

i was thinking of the many times i have judged others. snap judgments based on what i can see. how often have i missed out on something beautiful, beautiful inside, beautiful on a deeper-spiritual level all because my eyes called the shots. my mind wondered to “love your neighbor as yourself”.

then suddenly i recalled the many times i have been judged. the hurt and disappointment instantly filled my heart. as did conviction upon realizing the countless times i have inflicted this onto others.

“doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?” James 2:4

yes, James, it does.

it also illuminates my insecurities. and my arrogance.

one of the many things i love about blogging is, for the most part, i can’t see you. besides a tiny little avatar, you are simply black letters on a computer screen. and in those letters lies the heart behind the face.

i am working on looking beyond the surface these days. i am no longer interested in the outward. i am through with letting inner beauty pass right through my hands because my eyes have not yet met up with my heart. because my true intent is to have His heart. a heart guided by love.

“when you love another with Christ’s love you are always on eye level. not below or beneath them.”

35 Comments leave one →
  1. September 29, 2008 12:18 pm

    For my old job i used to have to speak in front of large groups. On the weekends I had to guest preach in various churches in the area. I don’t enjoy doing either of these things, but I especially don’t enjoy doing them when I am not taken seriously, which I wasn’t, because even though I am well educated, I look like I am 18, not 28, and everyone assumed I was inexperienced. So I grew a beard.

    It is amazing how much more receptive folks were. On pastor, after shaving my beard, complained, “you looked so wise with that beard.”

    One good thing of all of this…I discovered I enjoy having a beard (which I shaved the other day…my wife likes me smooth).

    Anyway, I am glad Luther didn’t remove James from the canon like he wanted to…I think we all need those words!

    (pics of my beard on my blog)

  2. September 29, 2008 12:30 pm

    thank you

  3. September 29, 2008 12:40 pm

    Nate – I use to wear a beard – it was white! I was called “Papa Smurf”! People are quick to judge by outside appearance – Tam, in 2 weeks we meet. I wonder what parts of our perception of each other will change – a warning, do not get me confused with Tom Cruise when you see me. i think he is right handed and I am left handed so there are some differences.

  4. traciejane permalink
    September 29, 2008 1:05 pm

    These are some powerful words you have written.

  5. Heidi permalink
    September 29, 2008 2:01 pm

    I could get real wordy with this. But I won’t.
    I think it’s so much of an injustice to judge people from the outside.

    We all do it.. It’s part of our makeup..

    I just pray that we all look at ourselves and stop comparing to others…

  6. September 29, 2008 2:03 pm

    Yes – the heart behind the words. I feel this, too, on blogland. It is something unique and special that … I don’t know if it can be captured any other way.

  7. September 29, 2008 2:04 pm

    Thanks for the reminder, Tam – I needed it today! I’ve been doing so much of the comparing-myself-to-others thing lately and it pretty much stinks. I start to see others as Book Deal, Leadership, Record Deal, Successful Business Person, etc. instead of who they actually are. I guess it’s a different form of judgment, but it isn’t right either. I’m so thankful that God doesn’t get fed up with us and just give up!

  8. September 29, 2008 2:07 pm

    Do you find that when you judge yourself less harshly you do the same for others? Or vice versa? Such a great topic to think about and sit with. I struggle mostly with my view of myself rather than others, and assume others see the same flaws about me. I’m always putting old photos of myself on my blog because of my puffy cheeks from the meds. But I admire greatly people who are comfortable in their own skin.

  9. Heidi permalink
    September 29, 2008 2:08 pm

    ((I pushed the send button by accident))

    I just pray that we all look at ourselves and stop comparing to others… allow OUR hearts to open and expose ourselves beyond the avatar!!

    then real relationships start…

  10. September 29, 2008 2:13 pm

    nate – did that change the way you presented yourself in either case?

    mandypants – youre welcome. and thank YOU.

    papa – i think youre much cuter than tom cruise. besides. im not a cruise fan anyway.

    tacie – i hope so. i know i kicked myself in the booty pondering all this.

    heidi – LOVE your avatar. youre right, we all do it. for sure. i just wanna be mindful of it and change it. we need to choose to go deeper. its an investment. but its worth it. i am finding it is indeed worth it!

    annie – this is why i think i have established so many quality friendships in blog land. it has taught me so much in this area.

    julie – aahhhh. you bring up a good angle in that we can sometimes choose to see only what we want to see…things that might benefit us. good point.

    sara – “I struggle mostly with my view of myself rather than others, and assume others see the same flaws about me.” you just reached in and pulled that out of my head. big time struggle with me too.

  11. Heidi permalink
    September 29, 2008 2:38 pm

    @sara… I’m like Tam, I struggle with what I view myself as. Just my avatar, was a huge leap, I didn’t have my real picture for a long time because I thought why? there’s better looking people out there.

    I have found solid (in every aspect of their lives) women through blogging now. Whom have CHALLENGED me sooo much that I’m now caring what I do present in my words, my actions, and EVEN in my looks (this is huge for me!!).

    I know that I have flaws in every area in my life… and probably seen pretty easily.. But I hope and pray that the true Heidi leaks out ALOT more…

    Thanks Sara for a good ponder during my lunch!!!

  12. traciejane permalink
    September 29, 2008 2:44 pm

    First time I have been called tacie- it was powerful for me because I was reading James this morning and thinking about the “love your neighbor as yourself.” Just weird that what was going on in my mind today was written here in your post.

  13. traciejane permalink
    September 29, 2008 2:47 pm

    Ps. And I think reading the book of james can kick all our booties. He is so tell it how it is.

  14. September 29, 2008 2:47 pm

    “my insecurities and my arrogance…”
    when I find myself judging someone else these two things are always present. Some times that is what really brings them to the surface so that I can bring them to the light. Not saying it is okay for me to be that way. but I seriously know what you are saying. And i am with you, I don’t want to miss one beautiful person or thing that God would want to put in my life, because i only have eyes for me.

    I am going to settle in a little later and listen to that message. I have also been on both ends of judgement, and recently watching my daughter go through it, …words are hard to articlate…think you know what I am saying…thank you for being you, and you are beautiful inside and out! I love you

  15. September 29, 2008 3:02 pm

    heidi – you are beautiful in a thousand different ways. truly!

    tacieJANE – i was typing so fast i said your whole name in my head but didnt write it out. James is my favorite NT book. so much so our sons middle name is James. i love his style. his shoot straight, tell it like it is, way! he doesnt mince words. thats my kinda people πŸ˜‰

    darla – youre right. it is good to bring those things out into the light. it is unfortunate that we either have to be the deliverer or recipient of the judging before we can see those flaws. i have been on both sides far too many times.

    praying for trina today! love you too!

  16. September 29, 2008 3:03 pm

    Good for you, Heidi… you’re light years ahead of me as you may notice my cute pup on my avatar πŸ™‚ I think it says a lot about our society as a whole, as well as myself, that I have dealt better with my health stripping me of my things and abilities and possibilities than I have my appearance. When I finally came to terms with the fact that I am living a life without potential in terms of a home, family, career, etc. I learned to accept it and embrace the blessings that remain or come from it. But an imperfect appearance? THAT I struggle with. I’m not even overweight on the charts, but I’m not how I want to be so I find it embarrassing. It’s ridiculous, but it’s true. While I’m grateful that the “Lord looks at the heart,” I don’t think He’d enjoy that part of mine.

  17. September 29, 2008 3:12 pm

    “While I’m grateful that the β€œLord looks at the heart,” I don’t think He’d enjoy that part of mine.”

    wow. i need to let that one soak in a bit.

  18. September 29, 2008 3:12 pm

    I’m so with you on this one. I used to have a huge tendancy to be this way. But God has really been working that out of me and letting me see the inside of people as He does. Sometimes that in itself is hard to deal with.

    Love this!

  19. September 29, 2008 3:18 pm

    Tam- thanks.. I ♥ U!

  20. traciejane permalink
    September 29, 2008 3:34 pm

    tacieJANE…I like πŸ˜‰

    And that is so neat about your sons middle name being James. Thanks for sharing that with me.

    I would hang out with James-honest, real, and you can take him at face value.
    You know if I lived in bible times. But truthfully I would rather hang out with him than say Judas! Kicked in the butt is a lot better than being deceived and betrayed.

    Yes, I want to be like James and have peeps like him too πŸ™‚

  21. September 29, 2008 4:08 pm

    Ouch. And amen.

    Thank you.

  22. September 29, 2008 4:40 pm

    beautifully written and right on! i wish we were born to understand this, and that everyone did.

  23. September 29, 2008 5:55 pm

    When I was a camp counselor, it was easy to get along with the little cute campers.

    The little preteen girls that looked up to me, to be like me. However, at first I found it was a burden to play nice with the ones, who were a little awkward.

    After about a week, God started tapping on my heart. He basically gave me insight to how evil my behavior was. I was playing favorites based on looks.

    After that I gave equal time, and made it a point to make up for my behavior with the girls I hadn’t paid much attention to at the beginning. I learned a lot that summer about what the inside holds and how wonderful all God’s children are. To this day I cherish the gifts of the girls, who weren’t necessarily the cute ones, over any other’s I received. These girls who I judged, ended up being the ones I was closest to in the end.

    I try to stay true to that today. To reach out to those that most of us judge or overlook based on looks. Thank you for this great reminder today Tam.

  24. September 29, 2008 7:54 pm

    I love how you are so random and can be totally serious and talking about ‘ guilty pleasures’, and ‘ farmer becky’ and then you just smack us all in the face in blogworld by using THE WORD:)
    I sure love you for being you:)

    I am doing the same thing these days….but I am doing it with the Word of God…I am trying to be more focused in not judging the cover story by I mean, ” not thinking on my own what something is about”, without really knowing…

    it does present a challenge.

    Anyway, I am totally late for work…had an emotional day in class…and work isn’t gonna be peachy either…from what I told you.

    THANK GOD FOR GOD…seriously.

    love ya!

  25. September 29, 2008 8:58 pm

    Honestly, I look at the heart. I have been judged so harshly by my outward appearance that I purposefully work to hear people’s hearts. It’s not always easy because we like to hide those too. But, yeah…having been judged for my appearance and being pushed away because of it…I tend to get a bit self-conscious. I have to work to “put myself out there” at times.

    Thanks, Tam. This is a much needed word.

  26. September 29, 2008 8:59 pm

    for* my outward appearance

  27. September 30, 2008 5:42 am

    i love the way blogging helps me connect to people’s hearts first. it helps me do that in “real life” too.

  28. September 30, 2008 6:46 am

    It’s not that difficult to judge others wrongly. The tough part, sometimes, is to see people for who they really are. Is that easy? Not all the time.

    Even when you’ve been around people for a length of time, you still may not know them very well. You may very well accept them, but then they do something that totally astounds you. People are amazing creatures who have the capacity to confuse those who attempt looking inside.

    Superficial impressions can certainly be misleading.

  29. September 30, 2008 4:07 pm

    I appreciate what you said about us missing out on something beautiful by only focusing on the outward appearance of things. Thank you for making me think and re-evaluate myself…

  30. September 30, 2008 9:20 pm

    Wise words from a truly wonderful woman πŸ™‚

    So Glad our paths ‘crossed’ and i get to bask in the ‘Glory’.

    Growing with you, in part πŸ™‚

    It’s so tough for me to learn this also!


  31. September 30, 2008 9:27 pm

    we’re in this togethah, Love πŸ˜‰

  32. September 30, 2008 9:29 pm

    and…i am so glad you all got something from this post. and even more grateful for the wisdom that was offered in your comments. lets continue to learn from one another and push each other to grow, grow in love.

  33. September 30, 2008 10:04 pm

    For clarity – that’s ^^^ His Love, not this ‘love’. πŸ˜‰


  34. September 30, 2008 10:06 pm

    yes, dear.


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