You Can't Judge a Book by its Cover

We've all heard that saying. I know it's true literally. I received a book in the mail from a publisher not long ago, and when I saw the cover, I thought, "Nah. Not interested." Then a week or so later I became desperate for fresh reading material and picked it up. Wow. Within a page or so, I was into the story, hooked by the author's writing and the character's conflicts.

Perhaps more importantly, the saying is true figuratively. I saw a commercial once that made an impact on me. A well-dressed man is sitting on a park bench. He leaves, and as he’s walking down the street he realizes he’s being followed. A backward glance reveals a guy dressed in baggy layers, not particularly clean-looking, hair hanging in dreadlocks. The well-dressed man’s fear is obvious. His pace increases; so does the one following. Finally, the guy with dreadlocks catches up to him, grasps his arm to stop him, and says, “Hey, buddy, you dropped this.” He holds out a $20 bill that fell out of man #1’s pocket on the bench. The look on his face is priceless as he realizes that he has misjudged this honest person based solely on looks.

How many times have I formed an opinion about someone because of the way they look? Oh, I’m never rude to people. But have I missed getting to know a truly delightful person because I didn’t take the time to see behind the fa├žade? Have I been put off by a scowl, perhaps? Or by clothing that isn’t ‘appropriate,’ by my personal standards? Have I discounted someone because they don’t speak my language well enough? Or because their beliefs aren't the same as mine? Or even because I’m intimidated by the air of success they project? Am I missing some truly great stories because the cover doesn’t look all that appealing to me?

The Bible tells us that God knows the secrets of our hearts. What’s on the outside doesn’t fool Him at all. I pray He’ll help me to be more like Him, to look past outward appearances. I want to discover the amazing stories He has written on people’s hearts.