Thursday 21 March 2013


To judge correctly, we should not rely on first impressions alone.

Many a time we judge people based on first impressions. We often make up our minds about people we meet for the first time within the first few minutes.

A panel of interviewers would immediately reject a job seeker who is unkempt, uncouth and late for the appointment. At a party, men usually gravitate to ladies who are pretty, elegant and approachable.

No matter how hard we try to deny it, we are all influenced in varying degrees by external appearance – that which is skin-deep.

When the prophet Samuel went to the house of Jesse to anoint one of his sons as king to replace King Saul, he was also influenced by first impressions.

Samuel may have been trying to find a man similar to King Saul who was tall and handsome. So when Samuel saw Eliab, one of Jesse’s sons with an outstanding athletic physique, he immediately jumped to the conclusion that the latter had the potential to be the future king.

Eliab, I think, must have been tall, dark and handsome. He probably had an athletic physique with broad shoulders and an enviable six pack rectus abdominis.

But God told Samuel that Eliab is not the one: “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”(1 Samuel 16:7).

To God, it’s the thoughts, intentions, faith and character – qualities unseen by men – which matter more than the externals. *

The sons of Jesse were presented, one after another, before Samuel. But God told the prophet that they were not His choice. It is inconceivable that the most unlikely candidate, David, the youngest son who was just a shepherd boy, was finally chosen and anointed as king.

Let’s not judge others only on the basis of first impressions. We should not just rely on our senses or human understanding.

Instead, let’s cultivate this quality of judging correctly: “Do not judge according to external appearance, but judge with proper judgment" (John 7:24). To do that, we would need spiritual discernment and a sound knowledge of scriptures.


*     This does not mean physical appearance is not important. We certainly need to pay attention to our health, social etiquette and personal grooming. Surely we would want to look presentable when we go for dates, interviews and prom nights.

 What is the biblical view of beauty in a world obsessed with something merely skin deep?

 We hear this often enough: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” However, there are instances when believers are called upon to judge wisely.

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