Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:8-9
First impressions are not always what they seem on the surface. It’s often been said, “never judge a book by it cover”, but I also say never base an impression solely on your own standards and experiences. Lately on You-Tube, an unlikely star has gained huge attention and is now well known throughout the world.
Her name is Susan Boyle, a 47 year-old single, woman from Scotland who lives alone with her cat. Does this already bring an image to your mind? She is a plain, simple woman with a desire to sing.
Recently she appeared on “Britain’s Got Talent”. As she walked out on the stage the audience totally dismissed and even made fun of her. The judges rolled their eyes when she announced she wanted to be a famous singer like a well-known British stage actress.
As she began singing, a voice so pure and beautiful filled the stage. The audience became quiet, one of the judge’s eyebrows raised in astonishment and then he smiled broadly. Soon the entire theater erupted in cheers and a standing ovation. The judges admitted they were wrong about her and complemented her on a truly amazing performance.
Compared to what we see in the way of singers, this woman is the total opposite with her stout build, gray hair, and bushy eyebrows. In her own village in Scotland she was often shunned and made fun of by others. She was born with a disability and lived with her parents in the same house she grew up in, taking care of them until they passed away. Now that she is in the limelight, she is bombarded with requests for interviews and curiosity seekers. People in the village, who once shunned her, are suddenly interested in her.
Now, people are talking about a makeover. While she has made some improvements in her appearance, she is still the same humble woman she was before. At least for the moment she remains true to herself, something I pray she will stick with.
I identify with this woman, because I too was shunned as a teenager. I didn’t fit into the mold of the popular group and I hung out with a crowd who was the same as I. We were the invisible group who tried not to think about the taunting from others, but remained true to ourselves.
This isn’t to say that it isn’t important to improve oneself. As we are on this earth we are constantly changing, hopefully in a positive manner. In 2 Timothy 2:15-16 says: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness”. I am constantly striving to become a better version of myself.
Therefore in our quest of self-improvement we need to focus on becoming a worker for God. Part of being a worker is being willing to accept and encourage others where they are. Among my favorite verses is Ephesians 4:31-32 which says, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
Now we won’t always live in harmony with one another no matter how hard we try. There will always be those who think they are better than you because they are richer, smarter, prettier, etc. In the case of those people it is important to forgive them for their actions but at the same time not let them walk all over you. In this case we are to pray for them. Jesus said in Matthew 5:44, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”
The Apostle Paul had this to say, “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord”. (Romans 12:17-19)
The next time you meet someone different, I hope you will remember Susan. Be careful judging someone, you don’t know what may be on the inside.