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Life Lesson 2: By all appearance it may not look very good, but with God, I can see the inside clearly.

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 (NIV)

I don’t know about you, but I love avocados. I enjoy them so much, I could eat them every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. When I go to the grocery store, I usually start in the produce section looking for, you guessed it, avocados. Like most people, I examine them carefully to make sure I get the ones that look healthy and have no bruises. On one of my recent trips to the store, I was in a hurry, so I quickly grabbed a bag of avocados. They all felt fully ripe, ready to be eaten.

The next day, I decided to have one of the avocados with breakfast, which is my usual toasted English muffin, scrambled egg whites, spinach, and salsa. This avocado was bruised, dented, and had dark marks all over it. I laid it aside on the counter, thinking I would toss it later. Disappointed by the appearance of the first avocado, I chose a better-looking one and gently sliced into it and discovered dark spots and dark streaks throughout the flesh. It was no good. The whole avocado was rotten. To my pleasant surprise, when I cut into the bruised one, it was beautiful on the inside and tasted perfect!

I learned a valuable lesson that day about judgment and how important it is to not look at outward appearance. It was a great reminder to me that what’s on the inside of a person, is more important than the outside. No matter who we are or what we do, as people, we’re all prone to judge according to appearance. In 1 Samuel 16:7, we see Samuel, a man of God, tempted to judge the shepherd boy David who was destined to be God’s chosen king of Israel. God told Samuel to “look not on his countenance,” or his appearance. If we are honest, we can all admit that we are quick to judge people by the way they look.

I am thankful to God that He looks at our hearts and not our appearance. What a great blessing this is to know that God is more concerned about our internal being. Our character is more important to God than what we look like or even what we do. Let us this day choose to seek God’s wisdom about the heart of our neighbors. Although we will never fully know the heart of a person, we can rest assured that God judges the thoughts and attitudes of every heart (Hebrews 4:12).

In Matthew 12:34, Jesus cautions us that “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” So how can we tell if a person’s heart is good by what comes out of their mouth? Listen to their conversation, and allow the Holy Spirit to give you discernment about the motivations of their heart.

Finally, let’s not forget our own hearts. Like King David in Psalm 139:23-24 (NASB), my constant prayer is “Search me, O God and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me and lead me in the everlasting way.” When we see people and circumstances through the lens of God, we are less prone to judge and ultimately, more forgiving because it helps us to see our own human frailty.

If you have a heart issue today and are quick to judge others based on outward appearance, I encourage you, seek the Lord and ask Him to help you to see people the way He sees them. Let’s pray for eyes to see beyond a person’s outward appearance and look for the beauty that lies within.

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” –Helen Keller

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