For the Lord Sees
I Samuel 16:7 ESV
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart’.” (cf. John 7:24; John 8:15-16)
Outward Appearance and Prejudice
Many people judge other people by outward appearance. They don’t like the color of their skin, or their nationality, or their station in life, or their financial status, or their physical appearance, or their personality, etc. For, prejudice knows no bounds. It is not confined to racism, in other words.
I have had people not like me because I was poor, or because I had money, or because I was educated, or because I was not books smart enough, or because I did something better than they did and they were jealous, or because of my personality or my close walk of faith in Jesus Christ.
Some of this prejudice is learned from generations before us, which is then passed down to us. But it can be unlearned. None of us are bound by our family traditions or our ancestors’ prejudices. We can break free from all prejudice if we are willing to break free.
So, what is prejudice? How does it reveal itself? It is a preconception about certain people based on personal opinion and/or outward appearance, and on what we were taught, usually. I know that I was brought up to think of all Catholics as not Christians, all non-Republicans as not Christians, and the USA as the “good guys” against the “bad guys” of the world.
So, are there problems with the Catholic faith? Yes! But are there problems with the Baptists’, the Methodists’, the Presbyterians’, the Lutherans’, the Episcopalians’, and the Charismatics’ faith and practices, etc.? Surely! They all have human teachings incorporated among the Bible teachings.
Are all Republicans Christians? No! Are all Democrats or Independents non-Christians? No! For, Christianity is not defined by our church denominations nor by our political affiliations. For the record, though, I declined identifying myself with any church denomination since maybe 2004, or with any political party since 2008, I believe.
Is the USA as a nation a Christian nation? No! Are we the “good guys” of the world? No! Are we the saviors of the world? No! Do we go around the world doing good to everyone? No! Can we trust our leaders to tell us the truth? No! Are our leaders, in general, looking out for our good? No! They are not!
The Lord Looks on The Heart
I learned many things growing up in the church, and in my family, and among my relatives, which I later learned were not true. I had particular prejudices even without realizing I was being prejudiced, it was so ingrained within me. Now, I did not grow up with racial prejudice, though.
The Lord helped me, though, to discern these prejudices and to reject them. He showed me that all institutional religion is not of him, and all church denominations or affiliations are tainted with man-made teachings, so the protestants were not necessarily superior to the Catholics.
He helped me to see, too, that being a Republican or being a Democrat is not what defines if someone is a Christian or not. But he went beyond that by teaching me that Republican and Democrat don’t really exist, for they are just two sides of the same whole headed the same direction.
And he taught me much about the US government and its history and its beginnings, and I learned we were not a Christian nation from the onset, not that any nation can be “Christian.” And I learned that our founding fathers were not all Christians, but that our nation was founded on many different religions, including Satanism.
Look at the statues and buildings in Washington, D.C., and at our national symbols, and look up the history of the USA in places other than the usual history books. And research the structures and the layout of our capital, and you will find there is much that is based in Egyptian, Greek, and Roman mythological gods and goddesses, and in their religion and their practices.
Then go to other news sources other than the usual. Especially go to anything written by people from other countries and learn what our government has been doing in all these other nations in the world, and you will learn that we are not the “good guys,” and other nations are not all the “bad guys,” but that we are truly the terrorists of the world, who bully other nations.
Comparing Ourselves to Others
2 Corinthians 10:12
“Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.”
We must guard against comparing others to ourselves. We must guard against judging them by our own human standards or our traditions or our religious rituals or our personal prejudices. We must be careful that we don’t judge their attitudes and actions based on our own, too.
Now, some people would go so far as to say we should judge no one on any basis, that there should be no moral standard, but that everyone should be allowed to live however they want. But then you have chaos and anarchy and rebellion and utter destruction of anything good. That is not good!
So, there has to be a standard. And Jesus set the standard for us when he summarized the law and the prophets into two commandments: Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. For, love does no harm to its neighbor (Rom 13:10; Matt 22:34-40).
This “love,” though, is not human-based love but God-based love which prefers what God prefers, which is what is holy, righteous, good, moral, pure, honest, faithful, and kind. So, if we love others with this love we will not commit adultery against them, nor steal, nor cheat, nor lie, nor betray, nor mistreat them.
We won’t judge them by outward appearances. We won’t judge them by ourselves or by our prejudices or by our cultural rules or our traditions or anything external that has nothing to do with the heart. And we won’t judge them by what has to do with what we, as humans, like or don’t like.
This is not to say that we make no judgments, but that they need to be ones which are biblical, which are based in love and genuine concern for others, and which have a foundation of wanting God’s best for others, such as in the sharing of the truths of the gospel with them.
It is much like a loving parent warning a child not to run out into the street, not because the parent is being judgmental or prejudicial or is setting standards too high or too strict, but because the parent knows the dangers that could befall that child if he/she ran out in front of a moving vehicle.
So, don’t judge by appearance, or by prejudice, or by traditions, or by human standards, or by comparing others to yourselves, or hypocritically, or with hate and spite, for all that does is needlessly hurt others. But make right judgments according to God’s love and mercy, and according to righteousness and purity, and for the good of people, not to harm them.
Do to others as you would have them do to you. Even love your enemies and do good to them. Speak the truth in love, but make sure it is in love, and in truth, and not out of personal prejudice or hatred or envy. Love others as Jesus loved us and gave himself up for us so we could be free of our sin.
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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