Judge Not by the Outward Appearance


  • 1 Samuel 16:7 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.

The background for this verse is that God had rejected Saul from being king because he forsook the commandments of the Lord. God instructed Samuel the prophet to go anoint a new king among the sons of Jesse.

When Samuel saw Jesse's son Eliab, he thought that for sure this would be the one God would choose to anoint but he was wrong. God told him to not look at his height or his countenance.

We can really be fooled if we judge by outward appearance or even facial expressions and even some actions. First of all I will start by stating that once a person repents of sin (turns from) and receives the Lord Jesus in his life, he becomes a "born again" person. Old things pass away and all things become new. He or she is a new creature in Christ Jesus. They will change. Sometimes the change is gradual as they grow in Christ and sometimes the change is instant. You can see a difference, as the fruit in their lives become an evidence of what they have in their innermost being. This may also cause a change in their outward appearance and the way they conduct themselves. In fact it should change their lives completely as they grow in the Lord's word. His presence is now within them.

Having said that I would like to get to the point of my message, we still can be fooled if we look on the outward appearance. We can make assumptions about a person, we can actually judge a person and get it wrong.

Itís not wrong to make righteous judgments or make decisions based on the word of God. For instance if we see a fellow believer cheating on their spouse, we can judge righteously that the person is committing sin because of the word of God. However, if we see a fellow believer with a mean scowl on their face, we might judge them to be angry or mad at us personally. We could get it wrong and be guilty of judging. Maybe they have a headache. Maybe they just got their property tax bill in the mail.

I know a person years ago who always had a mean look on their face. I was intimidated by that person and judged them to be unfriendly, mad and not a nice person. I found out years later that the person was actually a Christian, kind-hearted and had compassion on elderly people. That person is a hard worker for the Lord. If you look at their face, you will still see the same look but knowing the person made me see that my former opinion of them was way off.

On the other hand Iíve also know people who smile and are nice to your face but talk bad about you when you are not around to hear.

I also knew a man who sits in church week after week and never moves a muscle. He never sings, raises his hands in praise or shows any response to the message being preached. I have heard it said of him that he isn't very spiritual. However this man does all the work around the church that needs done, keeps the lawn mowed, and fixed anything that broke down. He also had a handicapped wife whom he takes everywhere and cares for her every need.

NOT SPIRITUAL????? I don't think so.

I had this happen to me once. I was in a series of revival meetings one time and I liked to take notes on the preaching. I would be writing notes while the preacher was preaching. Something the preacher said to me during the prayer part of the service let me know that he assumed I was a person who was confused and doubted God. Well, nothing could have been further from the truth.

When he saw me from the pulpit it might have looked like I was not paying any attention and looking down. He could not have seen from where he stood that I had a pen and paper in my hands writing. Far from being confused and doubting, I was writing scriptures and listening to every word he preached. Oh how we get in trouble by assumptions. He was not judging by the spirit of God but by appearances. Iím sure all of us may have doubted and been confused at times but this is one time when I was just the opposite of that. Therefore I knew they guy was wrong in his assumptions about me.

The bible says that we shall know them by their fruits, not by how loud they shout, whether they bow their heads or stand up and raise their hands. Don't get me wrong; I believe in singing and shouting praises to the Lord; but we cannot use that to measure a person's spirituality.

I also knew someone who never missed church and who was always up front with hands lifted up in praise. When it came to Saturday night, this same lady was out at the bars dancing with other men while her husband sat at home. Had we judged by appearances we would assume the man with no emotion was less spiritual than the lady with plenty of emotion being unfaithful to her husband.

Judge not by appearances but judge a righteous judgment.

I came from a religious background where the ladies usually didn't wear make-up, jewelry or shorts even in the summer. When I was a child I assumed any woman with lipstick was not a Christian; in other words, a sinner. Thatís what we use to call non-born-again Christians.

When I started meeting lovely Christian people who wear a little make-up, it blew my mind. They loved the Lord and were really sincere believers. In say that though, if one feels more comfortable not using cosmetics, they shouldn't go out a buy them just because they see other Christian women wearing it. Make up your own mind as the Lord leads you in your Christian walk. We are to be an example, not copying anyone else but copying after the Lord and living by His word.

My point is that we can't assume someone is not spiritual or not saved by they way they look.

  • John 7:24  Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

The Pharisees were finding fault with Jesus for healing a man on the Sabbath day. They accused Him of breaking the commandment concerning the Sabbath Day. Jesus told them not to judge by appearances but make a righteous judgment. It was not wrong to help a poor sick man on the Sabbath day or any other day. They did not recognize that Jesus was God, and Lord of the Sabbath day. It was not wrong to do well and help those in trouble on the Sabbath day. If we had one of our children fall into a well on the Sabbath, would we not get them out?

It appeared to them that Jesus was breaking the law. It appeared that he did not fear the commandments of God. However, He was doing a good work and helping someone in trouble, which is the real work of God: Saving the lost and healing the sick are the works of God.

Just because someone does not act like or look like we think they ought to be, does not mean that they are out of the will of God. Letís be quick to judge ourselves and search our own motives and less about assuming the worst in others. Be an example, not a faultfinder.

  • 1 John 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

Dorna Chambers

©2024 oldpathlighthouse.com  Email