But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. 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 NLT)
I read a brilliant article today. It featured the highlights from an interview with Brian (Head) Welch, the guitarist for Korn. He’s also a follower of Jesus and a man who is deeply committed to helping others become followers of Jesus as well.
At one point in the article, Brian Welch tells about a moment after a concert when he was asked by a group of transgender fans to pray for transgender people. One fan said, “… because we need prayer bad.”
He did pray for them – at least 2 of them felt a touch from Jesus that night – and he copped a fierce backlash by people who also call themselves Christians. His response was gracious, and yet, confronting as well. You can read the full article here.
At one point during a lengthy Instagram response to the criticism, Brian Welch wrote this, “God looks at the heart and man looks on the outside. What I do and what we all need to do is find out what is inside people’s hearts.”
We might call ourselves followers of Jesus, but it’s still so easy to make a judgement about someone based on the outward appearance, on what we see.
We may judge people by the clothes they’re wearing (or barely wearing), what they’re drinking or smoking, what church they go to, or if they go to church at all. And it’s certainly possible for us to condemn someone based on who they’re in a relationship with, or how they identify themselves (like the people who were touched by Jesus at that Korn concert).
Of course, you and I both know that in the same way we judge others, we’re also being judged. People may highlight your flaws and mistakes. They may make judgements about you based on your height or weight, your background, your ethnicity, your employment status, your disability, or your gender?
And what about when you look at yourself? Do you see your depression, your past, your failures, your addictions? Do you see an ugly person? Do you see a person that couldn’t possibly be loved and accepted if people discovered who you really are?
But who are you, really? Who does God see when He looks at your heart?
How’s this for a start…?
He sees someone who is blessed with every spiritual blessing. You have been adopted as a son or daughter. You are redeemed, forgiven, lavished with grace. You are unconditionally loved and accepted. You have received the hope of spending eternity with God.
And that’s just from the first chapter of Ephesians.
How about this…?
God created you in His own image (Genesis 1:27). He knew you before you were even a twinkle in your mum and dad’s eye (Psalm 139:13-16).
And He chose you (John 15:16).
It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, or what’s been done to you, or who you think you are, God sees you and says, “I love you, and I choose you”.
Here’s the rub, though. God is saying the very same thing to the people we judge, and the people who judge us.
“I love you, and I choose you”.
So, what are we going to do about that?