I was reading a passage in the Old Testament and it struck me that it related to our theme for CONNECT in which we are focusing on relationships and community. The verse I am referring to is 1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
It is the story of when Samuel had to pick a new king for Israel and he is seeking out a replacement for Saul who had become a miserable failure. And God gives this word to Samuel that suggests Samuel was going to make a mistake and pick a king based on his physical appearance. God tells Samuel that he does not judge people based on how they look but what is in their heart.
As I read it, I thought of how relevant that is for the times that we live in. We certainly live in a world where people judge each other by their appearance. But if there is one place in the world where there shouldn’t be any kind of discrimination it ought to be the church. There is discrimination everywhere else in the world. But there ought to be one place no matter who you are or what your background is that you’re welcome and the church should be it.
In the time of that verse Samuel was picking a new King for Israel. But David didn’t look the part. Samuel almost made the mistake of judging the book by the cover. But God says, when it comes to your spiritual life and leadership, what is in the heart is what really counts. Obviously, we should treat people in the same way that God does. We cannot see into a person’s heart but we can certainly treat everyone the same regardless of their background, people group, or social status.
Do you think, in the church, we treat people as impartially as God would want?
In what ways might we discriminate against people?
The church has changed in that way over the past twenty years. When I was younger you dressed up to go to church. I suppose that is fine if you have nice clothes. But I always felt under-dressed going to to church as a kid because we did not have dressy clothes in my family. I am glad that the church has changed and that you can come as you are.
Something that I really appreciate about the Westheights family is that when it comes to “appearance,” I do feel like I can really be myself…I honestly don’t feel the pressure that I sometimes do feel in certain of my social or professional circles–the pressure to conform to a particular look, or to dress in a way that reflects a level of status or education. Thanks, friends, for being so down-to-earth. Why would we need to dress up to be with family anyway?