“….. the LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1Samuel 16:7 (NIV)
You ever notice that sometimes (alright, lots of times) those who identify themselves as Christians are the ones who display the most un-Christ like behaviors? Why is that?
Give you a couple examples from just the past week or so. I listen to Air 1 Radio; it’s a pact I made with myself that while Sam was away this summer I’d listen to her favorite station (Air 1) as a way of being constantly reminded of her. Well, this old guy actually likes it and now listen’s to it by choice. Anyway, Air 1 has a new afternoon drive host, Brant Hansen, over the past couple of weeks his style and personality have grown on me and I now look forward to listening to him on the drive home. A few days after Brant took the airways he shared an email that Air 1 got from a listener it said in part: Email of the day: “I just saw the picture of the new guy you have on in the afternoons, and you need to take him off the air immediately. Please get a better Christian.”
Really? “Get a better Christian” is decided from a picture? As if Christianity is some pageant that has formal divisions: i.e. talent, interview and evening wear/appearance? Is this how non-Christians view us and relate to the theology of love we are supposed to espouse?
Another example for you. I recently discovered the I Am Second website, if you have not heard of I Am Second take a moment to check them out. One video in particular sticks with me, well more the comments people made about it on it’s YouTube mirror post. It is the video by the actor Steven Baldwin, his story is worth listening too on its own and gives plenty of food for thought, but so do the comments afterwards. The comments ranged from the positive and those who could relate to Steven’s story while others focused not on what he said, instead on how he looked. Specifically people focused on all of his tattoos. Again, what is with those of us in the body of Christ who are so focused on outward appearance? As if they are saying that “Jesus love you, but he loves me more because……” No, Jesus loves us all, even the jerks.
I’ve read lots of translations of the Bible, including the Catholic and some Gnostic versions but I’ve yet to come across a verse that says “blessed are the freshly shaved and clean cut wearing a collared shirt for they shall be called the children of God”. Wars have started over how one group of people feel that everyone else should look or act. Even churches today get so hung up on denominational dogma or the correct version of the Bible to use they forget the whole message and purpose of the very book the talk about.
When I read my Bible I do find 1 Samuel 16:7 “……The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
Am I ever so thankful that God does not treat us coming to him for redemption as some sort of spiritual “Biggest Loser” or “American Idol” contest. Think of how many of us would lose. Instead Christ meets us wherever we are, in dark of night and despair or in daylight and sunshine. He takes our broken bodies and broken hearts and damaged souls and makes them anew. He gives us grace and unconditional love.
Far too many Christians pray “Lord make me a vessel” but we don’t want to empty ourselves of our opinions, prejudices and old thoughts to make room for the loving grace of Christ. Even on a good day it can be a struggle to see others with the eyes of Christ.
Take some time today to ask if you are being a jerk and looking on others outward appearance or if you are looking at the heart. You answers might surprise you when you find out that at times you can be a real jerk, but that’s OK because Jesus loves jerks like you and me.