You Are Not Swayed by Appearances

As I continue reading and praying with the book of Mark, I am struck by what the Pharisees have to say about Jesus:

“For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God.” Mark 12:14b

It hurts my heart to think how often I (and probably you) are influenced by how people and things look on the outside. How easy it is to judge the homeless man who looks disheveled and dirty, or even the friend who is overweight. How quickly I am impressed by somebody’s beautiful home or adorably dressed grandchildren. This is wrong. I don’t and can’t know anyone else’s full story. The one person who does is God, and the Bible tells us in the book of Romans:

 God does not play favorites.” Romans 12:11

We can’t impress God with how we look, or what we have. What is in our heart is much more important. When Samuel was about to anoint a new king for the Hebrew people, God rebukes him for assuming that Eliab, one of Jesse’s older sons was the best choice :

“… 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.” 1 Samuel 16:7

In truth, God’s choice often confounds us:

” … God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.” 1 Corinthians 1:27-29

Jesus Himself said:

“I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.” Luke 5:32

Regardless of how good we seem to be superficially, we’re sinners (No One is Good Except God Alone). We’re all lucky to have a high priest who looks into our hearts and has compassion on our failings ( Our High Priest). If we’re His followers, we should do likewise. Be quick to love and slow to judge. Don’t be swayed by appearances.