August 13, 2013

A conversation with a four-year old a few years ago reminded me that people aren’t always what they seem to be. Little Vanesa’s enormous, questioning brown eyes looked me over and she inquired, “Whose Grandma are you?” I was in my mid-40’s then, and taken aback by her spontaneous, innocent question. I replied “I’m not a Grandma.” And the conversation continued. “Why aren’t you a Grandma?” I was sure that  “Because I’m not old enough” would satisfy her curiosity, but it didn’t. Vanesa had the last word, frankly expressing her observation, “Well, you look like you could be a Grandma.”

People aren’t always what they seem to be. The ruddy, bright-eyed, youngest son of Jesse didn’t look like he would be the one to sit on Israel’s throne one day; at least his dad didn’t think so. A keeper of Jesse’s sheep, David was chosen by God not only to lead His people, but to be the direct ancestral line through whom the Savior of the world would be born! (Matthew 1:6) God saw in David what neither his own dad nor the prophet Samuel could see. God knew David’s heart, and told Samuel that “the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

Like Jesse and Samuel, we can easily fall into the trap of thinking that people really are as we see them. It’s easy to hold someone in low esteem, or to be judgmental and even feel a little “holier than thou” when others don’t line up with our personal set of standards. It just takes a wacky neighbor, an obnoxious co-worker, a grumpy cashier at the store, or someone who outwardly expresses their inner creativity…and the trap is set. We tend to immediately assess them. Instead of thinking that’s who the person is, let’s ask God to see what HE wants us to see in them. A cry for help? A longing to be accepted? A compassionate bent? A future friend? Loneliness?

People aren’t always what they seem to be. Let’s look beyond “Well, you look like you could be a ….” (you can fill in the blank) and discover the “real” person. Let’s allow them to enrich us in their unique way, and see how we can bless them with the love of God that has been poured out in our hearts!

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