Who Art Thou...?
"But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7 God told Samuel not to judge who should be king based on his countenance – which would include his facial expression, his behavior, composure, self-control, because man can’t tell what is in the man’s heart – but God can.
As a Christian, I believe the Bible, and I believe that I will do well to follow the teachings of the Bible. The Bible is my standard. Because of that, I have chosen to dress a certain way (modestly, gender specific), I strive to love and forgive, I read my Bible and pray daily; but…those things don’t make me a Christian. In many cases they don’t even necessarily show that I am a born-again believer. I am afraid that in our zeal to please God by doing, we have without realizing it, portrayed the importance of the outward man more than of the inner man. While it is true that who I am on the inside influences what I look like outwardly, I don’t believe that my inner most devotion is always clearly portrayed by what others see.
Because man can only see the outward appearance, when reading facial expressions, body language, or style of clothing – we should realize that we can easily “misread” all those things. Remember that “as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” In other words, if I see and think something about another person, I am really interpreting what it would mean if I did what they’re doing. We can never fully know someone’s motives the way God can and does. It is for those reasons that, I believe, we are commanded not to judge others.
It would be a sin for me to judge someone’s worship, sincerity, adoration of God based on what I can see in their clothing, facial expressions, music choices, etc. because I cannot see their hearts, and I can only judge based on me and what it would mean if I did those things. As an example, to some I am considered old fashioned because I only wear modest dresses or skirts, but to others I am considered worldly because I wear make-up and curl my hair. See? there is no pleasing everyone.
The evidence of salvation, of a walk with and love for God will be manifested by the fruit of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23. We cannot manufacture the fruit of the Spirit, only the Holy Spirit can produce that fruit in us and that will happen only when we are first born-again believers, and as we spend time with the Lord growing in grace. In reading over the what the fruit of the Spirit actually is - judging others is not in line with the behaviour the fruit of the Spirit would produce.
We are clearly in the last days, and our focus must be on the gospel…we must reach the lost while we can! We need to give folks the gospel, the love of God, and let the Holy Spirit do His work in their hearts. I am not saying that a preacher or teacher cannot teach standards, or even explain why they have their preferences - I am saying that we shouldn't determine who we believe is a "good Christian" based solely on what we can see. I have unsaved relatives, and when they hear Christians judging other Christians because of things that don’t pertain to the gospel, or the fruit of the Spirit – “preferences,” I see their disgust and disdain for that behavior and quite frankly, it turns them off – it turns them away from listening to what “Christians” say when they see them behaving in a manner that so clearly goes against loving others and not judging…which they know is what Jesus teaches in the Bible!
We need to stop judging others –we are commanded not to judge – so actually, we need to start paying more attention to obeying God’s commands and less about how we believe other Christians should behave and look. That is between them and God!
"Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand." Romans 14:4
"There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?" James 4:12
From the verses I quoted above, judging others is a form of pride! God hates pride! Wow! So, while we may be sincere in how we believe others should look, and what they should listen to – we need to realize that when we do that we are disobeying God, displaying a form of pride, and displeasing the very God that we are so piously “defending” when we are judging others! “Oh, wretched man that I am…”
Lord, may I be careful to please you and seek to live my life trusting and pleasing You!
Have a wonderful day!
Have a wonderful day!