When in school, our English paper had an exercise called Proverb Expansion. We will be given a proverb which we’ll have to explain and add an illustration to. It was one of my favourite things to do in English class. As I was an avid reader of short stories back then, I could write a story for almost any proverb and my illustrations were much appreciated by my teachers.
We are usually given a few sample solved exercises which included common proverbs like Look before you leap, Knowledge is power etc. One other such proverb was “Appearances are deceptive”. The illustration given to us was about a man who looked like a decent young fellow but at the end proved to be a thief. I remember wondering back then, why it couldn’t be the other way round.
A couple of events over the past month have proved to me that it truly works the other way round too.
We always tell ourselves not to judge people. We never openly judge them. But sometimes when we see someone a picture gets painted in our minds even before we get to know them. And that affects how we see the person ,which is not far from judging.
He sings in the choir. A college student or so I heard. There’s also something else I heard, that he was an arrogant person who knows not to respect elders. I don’t know this person, but still when I see him, this is the only thing that comes to my mind. After years of carrying this preconceived idea, I finally came to know more about him and his family. He is a super talented guitarist. A hard worker. As if this is not enough for me to respect him, there’s something else- After all these years, their family recently adopted a little girl and is raising her. This boy I speak of holds his sister so dear and takes care of her like she means the world to him. When I saw this, all those mental pictures of him just vanished. Totally. And I realised how wrong I was to tag him as so and so even before I knew the real him. Okay, so now, the lesson was setting in.
But I guess God wanted me to learn the lesson all over again.
She was a mother of two. I see her in church all the time. She’s very stylish, definitely not like any other mom at church. She acquits herself confidently but somehow she came off to me as being haughty. For years, that’s the opinion I had of her. One day I sat next to her during the church service. The chair became crowded, 4 people can be housed comfortably, but that day there were 5. My elbow would hit her at times. I was quite nervous that she was going to show her “attitude” but surprisingly she turned and smiled as I apologised. I was amazed. And stayed amazed as I observed the way she worshiped. And then “the light bulb over the head” moment. This was God’s “Appearances are deceptive” illustration to me.
Then and there I asked God to help me to have an open heart when I see someone. Not to hold “ideas” of a person before getting to know them. Even if they are what they look like, why should that affect how I see them.?Maybe there’s an untold story. A painful past. We never know. All I’m asked to do is love my neighbours as I love myself. Nothing else matters.
There are few more posts here on what others think about judgement. You might want to check them out.