What You Think May Not Be So

What you think about a person may not always be true. And, what you have heard said about a person may not be true.

A few years ago I went to a hospital in Tulsa to be with a Simmons’ employee and family whose small child was having surgery. As we were sitting in the waiting room, one of the teenage boys noticed my boots. Having already been introduced as a company chaplain, he said, “I thought a preacher would be wearing dress shoes.” I responded by saying, “Well, these are dress boots.”

Just as the teenage boy had a stereotype of what type of footwear a preacher would be wearing, we are prone to evaluate others by their actions or appearance. Through the years of being a pastor, I would often get this response when I would invite someone to church, “I don’t have the proper clothes to wear.” My response would be, “It is the purpose for which you come that matters, not the clothes. God looks on the heart of an individual, not the clothes.”

What criteria do you use as you evaluate someone, what you see on the surface or what you learn is within the person? It is important to get to know someone before you evaluate them. Jesus said, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1-2) Jesus followed this statement with the analogy of a person looking for a speck in the eye of someone else and yet there is a two-by-four in their own eye.

The picture of a person with a two-by-four stuck in his eye trying to remove a speck from another person’s eye is ridiculous, but an illustration easy to understand. You must first examine yourself before you begin to evaluate someone else.

On a scale from one to ten, ten being the best, how high would you rate yourself? If you would rate yourself pretty high, say eight or nine, (only Jesus is a ten) does that qualify you to evaluate someone you think to be a two or three? The Pharisee (hypocrite) prayed, “God I thank You that I am not as other men are...”

We all stand equal in the eyes of God. The apostle Peter said, “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.” (Acts 10:34) James said neither are we to be, “Have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ with respect of persons.” (James 2:1)

After you have examined yourself and honestly removed those things that are blinding you, then you can reach out with a helping hand to someone else.