Monday, November 9, 2015
Several years ago I met a preacher who had a deep cavity in his forehead. When he was younger he had surgery on his sinuses that left him like that. He was a wonderful preacher. However, due to his forehead being disfigured, some felt the focus would center on his looks rather than his sermon.
About forty-five years ago I was at Freed-Hardeman for a lectureship. I was at a table eating with several other preachers. One pulled out his billfold, took out a picture and passed it around. All of us laughed when we saw it and remarked how ugly the woman was. After our remarks, the brother said, “She may be ugly, but she’s good with the children and I love her because she’s my wife.” At first their was an awkward silence. Then the apologies began. He laughed and admitted it was a joke. Maybe so, but for us, it was a needed lesson.
Several years ago a member was very critical of another because he had seen the other coming out of a Seven/Eleven type store that sold alcohol. His comment was, “When members shop there, I wonder if they are beer drinkers.”
Paul did say, “Abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22 KJV). A better translation might be, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (Matthew 7:1). Jesus attended a wedding where wine was served (John 2:1-2). Were the Pharisees correct about him being a “wine bibber”? The Bible also states, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). Samson married for beauty. His reward was the heartless Delilah! My mother-in-law used to quote, “Beauty is skin deep, ugly is to the bone. Beauty fades away. Ugly just hangs on.” Better to have beauty beneath the skin!
Man has been guilty of bad judgment since Eve “saw that the fruit was good for food and pleasing to the eye” (Genesis 3:6). Such judgmental sight has continued to shame us!
“Some of the Pharisees’ teachers of the law saw that Jesus was eating with sinful people and tax collectors. These teachers continued to ask Jesus’ followers, ‘Why does Jesus eat with tax collectors and sinful people?” (Mark 2:16 IEB).
Have you ever wondered how Jesus’ “followers” felt about being with him when he was eating with such “unclean” people? (Mark 2:15). Oh, they tagged along. Yet, didn’t they have several choices? (1) Explain to Jesus how offensive his actions were to others and decline, (2) Try to apologize for Jesus’ actions to those who were offended by them, (3) Try to justify themselves for not agreeing with what Jesus did, or (4) Repent for their inconsistencies and attempt to be more like Jesus?
Have you ever been in one of those categories? Don’t we have choices, and make them every day? How many are made based upon appearance (1 Thessalonians 5:22)?