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Do Not Judge by Appearance
I suspect that you have experienced times when you were judged by how things appeared on the outside to someone.

And, on the opposite side, you and I have both wrongly came to conclusions with something we saw or experienced. Right?

We had just come home from a four year term with our children ages 6, 4, and 3. I loved to dress them alike and had purchased long-sleeve gingham shirts for them – a blue one for Benjy and red ones for my two girls. I had a cute jean overalls for Benjy but still needed to complete the outfits for my girls. How fun to find some cute red overalls for my girls on sale at the mall that would be perfect to complete the ensemble.

Do not judge by appearanceGetting together with some of our friends was the perfect opportunity to dress my three kids in their matching outfits – the overalls and gingham shirts. They were so cute!

I was a bit chagrined though when one of my friends at the event made this sarcastic comment: “Osh Kosh B’gosh no less!!! Let’s all become missionaries so we can afford to buy Osh Kosh B’gosh!”

I was perplexed by this comment. It was true that these red overalls had the tag on the outside of the overalls that said “Osh Kosh B’gosh.” I did not realize that that was a high class name-brand for children’s clothing. (I had just come from four years in Africa, don’t forget!)

In fact, I thought it was kind of tacky to have the tag on the outside of the overalls instead of hidden inside the back where they belong!

My friend’s assumption that I had spent a lot of money on a name-brand item for the prestige was totally wrong. I had no idea that it was a name-brand and personally, don’t seek to impress people with name-brand purchases anyway. (Don’t get me wrong – I have plenty of faults – but trying to impress others with expensive name-brands is not one of them.)

Do not judge by appearance. Here are two stories about name brand jeans and mousetraps to prove a point.And what if they had been a gift to me?

The judgmental comment was made from appearance only, and not with the knowledge of any facts of how I had gotten those overalls.

Another time when I was shopping to prepare for that four year term, I reached the check out counter with my cart full of items like mouse traps, roach killer, lice shampoo, ant traps, fly swatters, and other things for getting rid of pests efficiently.The cashier began ringing up my items, and then she looked at me with a bit of condescension mixed with a sprinkle of compassion and said,

“Lady, you have a lot of problems!”

I suppose it did look that way to her. I had to chuckle inside realizing I was oblivious to how it must have looked to her. My purchases all shouted that our house was infested and our kids were unclean.

The truth of the matter was that I was buying supplies for our four year term in Ghana and I knew that we might encounter certain pests. I tended to shop for our needs in categories – one time getting medical supplies, another time getting personal care items, and this time, buying things for getting rid of pests.

Her condescending comment was actually just a reflection of not understanding why I was purchasing those items. For all she knew, I could have been buying them to donate to the food pantry!

She assumed, and she assumed wrongly.  She was judging by appearance only.

The lesson in these two stories is that things aren’t always as they seem to be so don’t jump to conclusions.

Be quick to give the benefit of the doubt. Become an expert at not judging but offering grace in every situation.

Scripture teaches us well. We are not to judge others.Matthew 7:7 says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (NIV)

Another good scripture to remember for this is from James 1:19: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”  (NIV) I know that the “becoming angry” part doesn’t apply here, but you get the gist. Listen to your friend and be slow to offer judgment.

Perhaps the neighbor who deleted you from her facebook account actually closed her whole account due to being overwhelmed with her new baby. She didn’t just single you out like you suspected.
Or perhaps the friend who ducked down an aisle at the store (which seemed to be purposefully done to avoid you) was on the verge of tears from an argument with her husband and she didn’t want to start crying when she started talking to you.
Or maybe your perception is not clear regarding one of your clients who asked for a refund.
Have you ever had someone jump to conclusions before finding out the facts about something going on in your life?
Let’s be quick to listen to others’ viewpoints and slow to speak or judge their motives.

It just might not be as it appears.

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