Stop Judging by Appearances

by | Feb 17, 2010 | Spirit-Led Living

I had a stunning experience recently that God used to
point out something to me. I had been away for a few days visiting and
praying with Rose Weiner, a close friend of mine who lives in
Gainesville, Florida. Rose and her husband, Bob, had a ministry raising
up churches on the campuses of the United States and in other nations.
They discipled and trained many hundreds of young people to take the
gospel to the nations.

My teen-age daughter, Faith, had stayed home with a
girlfriend to take care of our house and pets. Like a typical parent, I
had given many instructions about the care of the house, yard, animals
and pool; but I trusted Faith, who is very sensible and capable, to
follow them. I called a few times, and everything was fine.

I was totally unprepared for the shock I received when I
returned home. Everything seemed all right at first. The dogs came
running to meet me as they usually did.

But when I got out of the car and bent down to pet them,
I had to take a second look at Faith’s chow chow, Koa. He was usually a
pretty, beige color. Now his coat had a streak of pink down the back
and tail. I wondered if he had fallen into a strawberry patch!

When I went inside, I found Faith standing at the top of
the stairs, smiling demurely. I returned her smile—momentarily. Then I
saw it: a wide, bright, peppermint-pink streak down one side of her
pretty, blonde hair.

“Faith, what happened to you?” I cried. I thought there
must have been some terrible mishap. She was joined by Haley, my
secretary’s daughter, who was grinning from ear to ear. Her dark hair
was now deep green on one side and blue on the other.

I freaked out! Faith laughed at my reaction, but to me,
pink hair was no laughing matter. I ranted and raved until she agreed
to wash the color out—of both her hair and the dog’s.

After looking at it for a while, however, I decided the
color wasn’t too bad. I let Faith keep it for a few days. Later, I
began to think about her hair and about my visit with Rose.

When I was at Rose’s, a friend called to tell Rose about
a book he recently had read that enumerated reasons we are not in
full-scale revival.The author blamed the lack of fire on leaders who
had made mistakes and who had gotten offtrack by overemphasizing
various truths.

Rose and her husband were mentioned in the book, along
with other people I knew well. Though I’m sure the author highlighted
these leaders and their ministries out of concern for the body of
Christ, I was grieved by the thought of his playing policeman in an
effort to set us all straight.

Thinking about this situation reminded me of Faith’s hair
and my reaction to it. I had been so busy focusing on her looks that I
had forgotten about all the things Faith had done over the weekend to
take care of our home.

They were not small things. Looking after the pool was a
hard job because our area had been badly affected by floods, and the
pool was full of muddy water. Cleaning our big house is not easy,
either—but it was neat and tidy when I returned.

We have three phone lines with people calling all the
time. Faith had taken care of everyone. She had also handled the
ministry office. Our dog had been hit by a car a few days prior to my
trip and needed a lot of attention. He was fine.

In addition to keeping track of my things, Faith had also
helped a family in her church who had lost everything they owned in a
flood. What was left of their house was under two inches of mud, and
she had been over to help them clean. She had brought home three large
bags of washing to do for them.

I had missed it all because of the pink hair. We can be so blind! Thank God for His endless grace and patience.

I thought about the various books that had been written
highlighting the mistakes my friends and many other ministries had made
at one time or another. Certainly, the mistakes—like Faith’s pink
hair—were obvious. Most people could have seen them.

But what about all the thousands of young people who were
saved and filled with the Spirit through their ministry on the campuses
of America and many other nations? What about the thousands of kids who
became dedicated to the call of God on their lives? Many received a
real sense of destiny because of the ministry and revelation of my
friends, who had given their lives for the gospel! I wondered how it
was that none of this was mentioned in these books.

One time Rose told me about a very generous gift that had
been given to her and Bob for their China outreach. When I heard about
it, I felt blessed myself. I wanted to write to the often maligned
faith teacher who had given it to them and tell him, “You blessed me
because you blessed my friends.”

In the same way, when I heard about the negative things
said in the book, I had a great desire to write the author and say,
“You hurt me because you hurt my friends.” I don’t know of a ministry
that has been around for any length of time that hasn’t ever goofed,
said some dumb things or headed off in a wrong direction occasionally.
But Jesus is the Great Shepherd. He will shepherd His sheep—and He
knows what He is doing.

Moreover, we can trust the Holy Spirit to convict and
change God’s people. It is not our job to change one another! I can
point out what is wrong with you, but I don’t have the power to change
it. When the Holy Spirit convicts, He does have the power to change it.
Big difference!

The next time you are tempted to see only the obvious
mistake in another person or organization, say to yourself, “Pink
hair.” Maybe those simple words will remind you that there are many
wonderful things you have forgotten regarding that person or ministry.
Maybe they will even cause you to clap your hands over your mouth as
Job did when God asked Him, “Where were you when I laid the foundations
of the earth?” (Job 38:4, NKJV).

Remember: Jesus hasn’t forgotten the wonderful things. He
loves our leaders so very much! If we persist in criticizing them, He
may demand, “Where were you when I delivered My Son from the grave?
Where were you when I brought forth the first fruits of the church?”

Maybe my daughter’s hair is oversimplifying it, but it’s the same principle to me.

Kathie Walters and her husband, David, are co-founders
of Good News Ministries in Macon, Georgia. They may be reached by
e-mail at
goodnews@hom.net. Adapted from The Spirit of False Judgment by Kathie Walters, copyright 1995. Published by Good News Ministries. Visit online at: www.goodnews.netministries.org. Used by permission.

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