Looks are deceiving.
Sometimes circumstances paint an inaccurate picture of reality. Here’s an example. A very well-know church leader, who was often asked to come to local churches and speak on helping churches grow and be more effective, decided to ‘mess with’ a church one Sunday morning. He was asked to come and speak at a large and very successful church. He was asked to speak about hospitality… how to welcome strangers into the faith life. So, instead of coming and just speaking, he dressed in dirty, ripped and smelly clothes and pretended to be a homeless and desperate man. Whe he arrived at the church, he sat, unannounced, on the front steps… they ignored him at first, then looked at him with disgust, then asked him to leave.
To their great embarrassment, he revealed who he was… and began his ‘talk’ with how INhospitable they were. Looks were deceiving… circumstances painted an innaccurate picture. And, a very successful church that asked a leading expert to come and speak on ‘hospitality’ was shown to be a very unsuccessful, inhosptiable, place.
Paul, a shipwrecked prisoner, was bitten by a snake. The people around him did not know why he was a prisoner… but they figured, with the snake-bite, he got what he deserved. When he didn’t die… they realized that God was with him (Acts 28(4-6):
When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “This man must be a murderer; though he has escaped from the sea, justice has not allowed him to live.” He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. They were expecting him to swell up or drop dead, but after they had waited a long time and saw that nothing unusual had happened to him, they changed their minds and began to say that he was a god.
Now… probably… no one is going to mistake you or me for ‘a god’… but it is very likely that people will pre-judge us based on appearances and circumstances. This can be a major setback for people like us who are ‘a work in progress’. We try to make a change and become a better, more faithful, person but we keep getting judged on how we look or what we’ve done in the past, or what bad habits continue to linger in our lives.
Don’t be discouraged… we should not let the judgements of others rob us of our progress. Keep going… in whatever area you are trying to improve.