But behold the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on his height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: but man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
I was in a church parking lot getting out of my car, when I saw this man. He had tattoos everywhere-covering his arms, legs, neck and face. Yes, his face. He had some body piercings and some of those were also on his face. He had dyed hair and a strange haircut. I was a bit scared.
“Please do not come inside,” I thought about the man to myself. But no such luck, he came inside for the class. I tried to sit as far away as possible from him, because honestly, I would be distracted and felt uneasy. Just what the enemy wanted me to be. He seemed to know some of the people in the class already. I overheard him say, he went to a church near by. So, I thought, okay, he found the Lord and I am very judgmental. <Cringe.>
This class was a 2 month course. I found out his name was Larry. He came every week. This was an interactive class, so he would interject once in a while and have these very insightful thoughts. One of these weeks, he shared about his upbringing. He was in and out of foster homes his whole childhood. He was abused, physically, mentally and sexually. He was given dog food to eat by one foster home. He abused alcohol and drugs, to escape the pain of it all. It was heart wrenching to hear.
He gave his life to Christ and now counsels people dealing with addictions. He says, even if he is at a fast food place, he witnesses to people because many lost souls want to talk to him. One night he stopped to use the restroom in a shady part of Los Angeles and when he walked out of the bathroom, a young woman held him up at knife point. Twenty minutes later, he convinced her not to rob him and was telling her about Jesus. He gave her an address of a church and told her to go. A few weeks later, she told him, she gave her life to Jesus.
After he shared this story, I had this word from the Lord for him. I told him, “no pain is ever wasted”. I told him, I am so thankful that he survived his hard life but glad he is living for Jesus now. He had tears in his eyes and told me, he wondered why did he go through all that and suffer so much. I prayed that all of his pain would be redeemed and that emptiness would be restored in some way.
The enemy knows what we like and don’t like. He knows how judgemental we are by nature. We get a bad first impression of people and decide to not give them another chance. We write people off. How many times have I had a bad day? Would I want to be thought of in that way as my usual character or personality? Never. So, let us never forget that for others.
Lesson Learned: People deserve more of chance than their first impression.
“Dear Heavenly Father, Lord forgive me for being judgemental of people by their looks. Let me see them as you see them. Help me to treat people with love and dignity. I am thankful that you see in us what we don’t see yet. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”