Friday, April 8, 2011

40 Days of Lint, Day Twenty-Seven: An Inside Look

Part Four: Clothing Lint (Appearances)
It always amazes me that even after numerous washings that clothing can still give off so much lint. You’d think there would be nothing left. Yet there’s still enough fabric in our towels, bedding, and clothes to hold them together. Much of the lint on the surface is not from the items themselves, but the stuff they collect from other sources – hair, dead skin (I know, ew!), dirt, and particles in the air. Just think how unappealing they would look if we didn’t have lint catchers in our dryers, and all those OCD people out there constantly picking lint from other people’s clothes. I’m one of the guilty.

Why are we so intent on ridding ourselves of surface lint? Because it’s unattractive. There are times when I can’t even focus on a conversation with my husband because he’s covered with sawdust from work, or has one of my long blonde hairs hanging from his arm. I just have to pick it off!

So today, we will begin to delve into part four of this series – appearances –what they reveal about us, how they can deceive us, what they say about our relationship with God, and much more.

Day Twenty-Seven: An Inside Look 
I can really sympathize with one complaint of many people currently looking for work. “Almost everybody wants you to apply online,” they sigh. “I don’t have impressive qualifications on paper. I don’t have much education or experience. If only I could talk to someone in person. I feel like I’d have a better chance of showing what a good job I could do.” That’s not the only time when it’s helpful to talk in person.

Hearing the inflections of another’s voice and talking face to face are huge factors in interpersonal communication. That’s why relying on e-mails, texts, and social networks can mess it up. It’s incomplete. Messages are often written in haste and sent before they’ve been proofed. The results can be disastrous. When we hear ourselves garbling a message, we’re more likely to correct it immediately. And we can tell a lot about how the other person is feeling by their facial expressions, body language, and the words they emphasize.

But what if one person in the conversation is dishonest? How can we know what’s going on inside their head? Being human, we're limited to what we see and hear. Like the sons of Jesse Samuel watched file by, several of them looked handsome and impressive. Surely one of them would be the one God chose as the next king of Israel.

“But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘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).

 I’ve been fooled by beautifully written prose, a smiling face, cheerful words, and personal charm. It has caused me heartache. Samuel had the wisdom to wait and listen before he took action. He rejected all of Jesse’s sons who looked like king material, and held out for the youngest son who was out doing the dirty work of a shepherd. Because Samuel listened, God was able to bring the best man for the job. David was His chosen servant, a man after God’s own heart.

If you’re currently trying to discern another’s character, I encourage you to ask God to reveal their heart. He alone can give us wisdom to see beyond appearances to the heart and fruit of their life. God will direct our choices and relationships. All we have to do is ask.

Lint Removed: Surface Vision
Cleaning Process: Get God’s Perspective

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