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Hidden from sight

Hidden from sight

Something to read

When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the Lord.’ But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.’

- 1 Samuel 16:6-7.

Something to think about

The aphorism ‘never judge a book by its cover’ instructs us to look beyond first impressions to the real substance of something: the food that a restaurant serves rather than it’s décor; the talents of a performer rather than their charisma; the space inside a property rather than its kerb appeal. All of these should be possible with a little time and research, and it’s a commendable approach.

But when it comes to human hearts, it can be much more difficult to see ‘what’s inside’. In seeking out the person whom the Lord had chosen as the next king of Israel, Samuel was implored not to judge Eliab by his impressive appearance. But neither would his words and actions have been a simple way to judge him: unpleasant words and behaviour often come from a place of deep hurt. And likewise, apparently charming and winsome behaviour can belie a desire to manipulate or control.

Rather it is God who intimately knows each one of us, and God who calls us to the good works that he has prepared for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). So what should we do about other people, whether impressive or irritating? Our task is to love one another well, and to leave the judgements to God.

Something to do

Devise a simple act of kindness for someone you find difficult, and as you do so, entrust them into God’s hands.

Something to pray

God of vision, thank you that you see everything that I can’t. Quieten in me the urge to judge others by their appearance, or even their behaviour. Help me simply to love them, knowing that you love them and are at work in them. Amen.

Today’s contributor is Rev Claire Jones