Speaking of Life 5017 | He Sees the Heart
I once saw someone wearing a t-shirt that said, “I don’t know why judges get paid so much. I judge everyone for free!” Unfortunately, this funny line has a lot of truth in it. Human beings are often quick to judge others and place labels on them. If we do not see a person as part of our group, we can be tempted to overlook his or her wisdom, experience, personality, value, and ability to change and we place them into a little box whenever it is convenient.
We can disregard another’s humanity, dismissing them with labels like liberal, conservative, millennial, boomer, vaxer, anti-vaxxer, not to mention racial and ethnic labels. Many times, we do this unconsciously and without even thinking. Other times, we may consciously harbor bad feelings towards others because of how we were taught or how we interpret our life experiences.
God knows about this human tendency; however, he does not share it. In the book of 1 Samuel, God sent Samuel the prophet to the house of Jesse with an important task. One of Jesse’s sons was to be anointed by Samuel as the next king of Israel, but God did not tell the prophet which son to anoint. Jesse brought seven impressive-looking sons before Samuel, yet God rejected them all. Eventually, God chose David to be the next king — the youngest son who was almost forgotten and looked the least how Samuel imagined a king should look. As Samuel viewed the first seven sons, God spoke these words to him:
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7
We can often be like Samuel and incorrectly judge a person’s value by superficial things.
Like Samuel, none of us can see others clearly because we cannot see what lies in a person’s heart. The good news is that Jesus Christ can. As Christians, we must learn to rely on Jesus and see others through his eyes, which are filled with compassion, empathy, and love.
We cannot hope to have healthy relationships with our neighbors by relating to them without acknowledging Christ’s relationship with them. When we see them as belonging to him, we seek to love our neighbor as Christ loves them. This is the new commandment Jesus gave his disciples in the Upper Room.
Jesus loves each and every one of us. This is our most important label. To him, this is the identity that defines us. He does not judge us by one aspect of our character, but by who we are becoming in him. We are all beloved children. While that might not make a funny t-shirt, it is the truth by which Christ-followers live.
I’m Jeff Broadnax, Speaking of Life.