Does Character matter more than appearances? Think about it. In America, I believe, we have become so focused on people’s appearances, we judge others without actually getting to know them. We judge people based on their skin color, their size, their hair, their clothes, their speech, their money, or their abilities. And shockingly, Christians do it too! That’s right, I said it. At some point in our lives, we have all judged someone based on their outward appearance. But, what if we stopped judging people based on how they look, and started to see their character? What if we stopped listening to Hollywood as to what beauty should look like? What if we chose to look for the good in others? What if each day, we chose to be kind and be a blessing to someone else?
When I was a senior in college, I had to write a senior paper. Since I was a Communication major, I was required to write something communication related that tied into what I wanted to do with my life. Therefore, I wrote about how bullying effects the way students communicate and why churches need to be involved. While I was doing research, I came across a story where a boy was bullied because he wasn’t wearing the “popular” shoes. Apparently, he didn’t have current, trendy shoes; therefore, students bullied him. Isn’t that tragic? Unfortunately, that is not uncommon. A boy was bullied because he didn’t have the right kind of shoes. Isn’t he more important than a pair of shoes? Of course! Life is so much more than the clothes we wear or the shoes we put on. What if those students looked at the boy’s character rather than judging him solely based on the shoes he wore?
In the Bible, there is a perfect example that specifically mentions it is about the heart and not the outward appearance. In 1 Samuel, there was a king named Saul, who started out following the Lord and then decided to turn away from Him. While he was king, God told Samuel to look for another king. Samuel obeyed the Lord, and went to Jesse’s house to see his sons. Jesse’s sons were masculine and looked like they would be fit to be king, but God told Samuel no…none of these men were the one. In 1 Samuel 16:7 [NKJV] it says, “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”” Therefore, Samuel refused to leave until he saw all of Jesse’s sons. “Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen these.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all the young men here?” Then he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him. For we will not sit down till he comes here.” So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the LORD said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is the one…”-1 Samuel 16:10-13.
This passage of Scripture is so encouraging! God told Samuel that He doesn’t focus on the outward appearance like man does; rather, He looks at the heart. It is about the heart! David was known for loving the Lord so much. He is also known as the young man who went up against a giant and killed him with his slingshot and a stone. But, before becoming king…he was a shepherd. He watched sheep. Talk about starting in humble beginnings! Someone who was absolutely ordinary, God turned extraordinary. God used an ordinary man in extraordinary ways. “For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
What if we stopped being so focused on our own appearance, and checked our heart? Is our heart after the things of the Lord or the things of this world? Or, what about other people? Obviously we cannot see people’s heart…but we can tell a lot about a person based on their character. What if we chose to look for the good in others, look at the person’s character rather than outward appearances?
Today, I want to challenge you to think and watch your words before labeling someone based on how they look. Remember, beauty doesn’t make the person. It is their character. Choose today to make a difference and be the change. Show others God’s love and the hope we have in Jesus Christ.