“Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.” (John 7:24)
John Wesley said, “We should be rigorous in judging ourselves and gracious in judging others.” Why did Jesus say, “Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly”? (v. 24). Because He had experienced the pain of rejection and misunderstanding. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11). The apostle James writes: “How can you claim to have faith in … Christ if you favor some people over others … give special attention …. to the rich … but … say to the poor … ‘Stand … there, or … sit on the floor’ … Doesn’t this discrimination show … your judgments are guided by evil motives? … If you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin” (James 2:1, 3-4, 9).
The story is told that when country singer Lonzo Green’s nephew Jimmy asked him to tune a friend’s guitar, he agreed. The problem was Jimmy’s friend was from the “wrong side of the tracks” and Jimmy’s parents wouldn’t allow him inside their house where Uncle Lonzo was visiting. So they decided to meet outside. As the kid approached, Green noticed his self-consciousness and sideways glances at the upscale neighborhood. Lonzo, who had experienced poverty and discrimination in his own life, tuned the boy’s old guitar, played a few songs, and taught him some chords. The young man thanked him and left with a warm memory he would carry throughout the rest of his remarkable life. Eventually that boy crossed the tracks for good with his guitar and soft, polite drawl and hesitant smile, and was never unwelcome again. That’s because the boy who wasn’t allowed in the house that day was — Elvis Presley!
Father, keep me focused on spreading the Word of Your saving grace to all I meet, daily, so that I might honor Your Name. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.