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not as they appear

I was in the grocery store today after teaching hip hop.  I’ve got my sweats, big shirt, hoodie and my favorite graffiti trucker hat on.   I completely forget how I look and rush into the store before I head home to be with my sweet boys.

I’m in the juice isle when this elderly lady gives me a strange look.   She looks at me like I’m  going to attack her!   I brush her look off thinking it’s probably just my imagination.

Onto the deli where the store manager is stocking up on items needing to be replenished.  I look over and see him watching my every move – especially my hands.   He seems concerned.   Now, I’m feeling a little self-conscious.

One last stop on my way out – the starbucks they’ve conveniently located in the store for my immediate caffeine needs. (grocery shopping takes a lot out of you!)   I’m in the line and I happen to catch the eye of two high school girls looking me up and down with glaring eyes.  I smile at them and they instantly turn away.  OK, WHAT’S going on?  Do I have something on my face?   Weird…..
I get my coffee and start heading out the door when I see these twelve year olds who greet me with an enthusiastic: “Word up, hommie.  That’s strait up G!” and then they carry on their way.  They leave me standing there bewildered…. “Word up what?  And who on earth is ‘G’?”  …… Ok, I’m not that daft.  I know G stands for gansta.   Ya, that’s right: gangsta momma driving her minivan listening to Shine FM…. (or any station from the 80’s)

Then AH HA!  It hit me.  I remember what I was wearing!   Amazing.   What an eye opener.   How I was dressed determined how various people treated me.  I probably freaked that sweet elderly lady right out.  The manger may have thought I was the suspicious type. For some reason I threatened those teenage girls and my graffiti hat is always a hit with the tweenies.

(me and my awesome mpact gals)

It’s interesting as I’ve experienced this before.  I’ve headed to the mall in my grubs only to be brushed off by sales staff in the store.   Fast forward to the next mall visit in my Le Chateau best and my bling earrings only to be waited on hand and foot.  I must admit that the latter is a much nicer experience.

People judge based on what we look like on the outside.  You don’t even have to be a shallow person to do this – it’s just the way we work.   I’ve done this to others.   I’ve been afraid to befriend people who seem aloof and cold only to find out they were just really shy.   I’ve judged the homeless-looking person.  I’ve assumed they’re lazy, not realizing that they are working morning to evening and traveling from shelter to shelter with their family only because they can’t afford rent.   I’ve felt threatened by the mom in her trendy coat, cute leather boots with starbucks in hand, not realizing she hasn’t a friend in the world she can trust…..

No matter what someone looks like on the outside, we never know what is going on inside of them.  Reminds me of the story of King David when he was just a young boy.   He was overlooked because he was “ruddy” and not quite as impressive as his brothers.  Yet inside of him was the courage of a champion who could defeat a giant, and the heart of a King that would lead a nation to victory.

God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

It sounds elementary, but this is something God’s been challenging me with.  After my experience in the grocery store, it reminded me of the importance of how I view others – and how I treat them in response.    I’ve been making effort to notice those who are usually looked over, and watching the judgments that come out of my heart towards those who appear “put together”.    Everyone wants others to believe they got it together.  (Those of us who’ve been around for awhile know very well that no one’s got it all together….)

Unfortunately as of late I’ve become more aware of how easy it is to treat those who appear important with great prominence.   God isn’t cool with showing favoritism to those who appear more popular.   This was even tempting for one of Jesus’ own  disciples and founding fathers of the church!  Peter fell into this trap of treating those who he cared to impress better than those who God wanted him to reach out to.  He went as far as distancing himself as much as he could with those who didn’t meet the standard of those Peter was trying to impress.  Paul confronted Peter about it – in FRONT of all those Peter who was sucking up to.  Paul called it “hypocrisy” and said:

“As for those who were considered more important in the church, their reputation doesn’t concern me.  God isn’t impressed with mere appearances and neither am I” (Galatians 2:6)

There are many who flock to the seemingly elite only to either be brushed aside, or to find someone with higher esteem to flock to.  It’s an unfulfilling aim that never gets to any meaningful friendship.

Today, do you see the overlooked?   Can you see past appearances?   Can you find the “kindred-spirit” in someone you wouldn’t have expected?

We may be in for some nice surprises….

Categories: relationships
  1. January 20, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Interesting timing on this post Connie. I was just being challenged by this verse a couple of days ago.

  2. Belinda
    January 21, 2011 at 6:49 am

    Amen Connie!

    I was in line in a Safeway a few of years ago with my 20 year old son who was kitted out with his dreads, tongue bar, lip ring and very filthy hands because he’s a bike tech and this was his lunch break. The elderly gentleman in front of us looked him slowly up and down with a look of utter disgust and I wanted to say “Hey.. he’s is a good boy. He’s my son and he’s honest and lives a life of integrity…and he says I love you Mum every day and isn’t afraid to hug and kiss me in public!!!”

    But he did look kinds scary… I guess.

    I have been in church (not Midpark I hasten to add)when two ladies had their beautiful new dresses on as it was Easter Day and I was in my “usual” because, well, nothing else fit and they were falling all over themselves saying how ravishingly beautiful the other one was. Then they looked at me and said…. nothing.

    Have I done it to others myself?… I am sure I have …but have conveniently erased it from my memory which isn’t hard to do these days.

    But praise God, He is changing me little by little every day, little by little in every way…. and one day perfect I will be.

    See you at church. I’ll be wearing… the usual. Because nothing else fits.

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