Father God, I thank you this morning for allowing me to see another day. I thank you for health and strength. I thank you this morning for family and friends. I thank you most of all for Jesus. I pray this morning that you continue to show blessings on all of your children who love you. I pray a blessing on the reader and doer of your word. I pray that all who reads this message are in the right mind and spirit to receive it. I pray that they do not keep it to themselves, but to share it with others. I pray that they are in peace and that they are comforted. I pray Father, if they are troubled that they seek you for guidance and not lean to their own methods. And Father, I pray that any sins we have committed, whether by thought, speech, or deed, that you forgive us for it. We give you all the honor, the glory, and the praise. This we pray in Jesus name, Amen.
I have written about how apparel can be misleading, regarding how people can judge a person incorrectly by the way they dress. I have written about why we should not judge a book by its cover, regarding how people can judge a person incorrectly based on their appearance. Not so much about how they are dressed, but also about their physical features. What is it about people that give them the final say about who a person is on the way they look? What amazes me is that there are countless stories of the same thing. People mistreated because of the way they look only to find out later that the person who was mistreated was somebody big. What about the poor old lady who lived alone in that rundown apartment building in New York, who no one really cared about except for two of her neighboring tenants. When she died, she left them millions of dollars. Even when we were young, I remember the story of the “Ugly Duckling”, who ended up turning into a beautiful swan. Even then, we are taught not to judge by the outer. As redundant as it is, this is one of those messages that does not get old.
Now as I said above, we all at one time or another, judged someone regarding their apparel, or by their physical appearance. Have we ever judged someone by where they are from? For those who say no, are you sure? Have any one of you judged someone harshly because you heard they were from Iraq or Afghanistan? What about if they were from Mexico or Africa? Let’s bring it home then, suppose they were from that trailer park community or the projects? Family, I honestly believe that there is a spirit hovering and lingering over people who are willing to entertain that thought. Those types of thoughts never bring unity, instead it divides. That is not of God, but the enemy. Each time we judge a person solely on the outer or location, we can be missing out on the one, that one person who can make a difference in our lives. I am reminded about a scripture I was just introduced to on Wednesday night at our Bible Study at our church. I have read this book of the bible many times, and even wrote a ten page paper regarding some of the theology in that book to where my former pastor responded with a 22 page paper in concurrence. I say introduced, because it was as if I have read it for the very first time. It comes from the book of John when the earlier disciples met Jesus for the first time. It reads: “Philip found Nathanael and said to him, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote--Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." And Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see." (Joh 1:45-46) It happened back then too.
As a black male, this hits home. The prejudices that can reside on people’s heart, the foolish biases that has caused so many people of color to abandon their dreams because they were treated as though their skin color was a curse. Those provocateurs who have done that over the years do not even realize that any one of the people who were mistreated or ignored, could have been the one. The one who could have helped them in their time of need. The one who could have prevented a tragedy that claimed the life of their loved one. The one who could have gotten them a better deal on their home. The one who could have been the better assistant, who only wanted to serve, but because they did not trust them based on appearance, they hired someone else who ended up taking their job. The one who is exactly what you asked the Lord for in your prayers.
Nathaniel was not a prejudice man. Nor was he a wicked man at heart. He just fell into the pattern that everyone else fell into. Looking at things with a natural eye and forgetting that God is sovereign. When he heard that the Messiah was coming, he would have believed it without proof, until he heard from where the Messiah came from. He did not expect anything good to come out of that place. Oh how wrong he was. That person who came out of that wicked place of no reputation is why we have the opportunity for eternal life. Family, if we can learn anything about our God, He will choose the one who people would reject. He would choose the one who is unfavorable. He is the advocate of the underdog. If we ever see ourselves entertaining the thought of judging someone based on the outer, the first thing to ask yourself, is this thought of God? The second thing to ask yourself, is this person the one? Amen.