Judging a book by its cover is never a good thing. Quite literally when I was about 9 or 10 I didn’t want to read a book because the cover was boring. My parents made me read it in spite of my heartfelt objections and I loved it. The book was the Bible. I was graduating from a children’s Bible full of colorful photos and abbreviated stories that we all know so well to my very own King James Version with no pictures and a whole lot of text. It’s still my favorite book, almost 40 years later. Not judging a book by its cover is a good message that sometimes we need to be reminded of.
Judging a person by their appearance can sometimes have serious consequences; create missed opportunities and cause disappointment in others and ourselves. I recently had a very embarrassing experience while at the grocery store that I want to share with you that relates perfectly to this lesson.
Let me start by telling you I am a little overweight. Well, maybe I should say more than a little overweight. Age, pregnancies, genetics, medical stuff and yes, even the way I eat have all contributed to this fact. I am pretty active, and try to eat the right things but still I struggle with these extra pounds.
I recently went to the grocery store with my husband and upon checking out the male cashier thought it would be appropriate to ask me when I was “due.” Well, I could feel my face begin to redden from embarrassment. My heart skipped a beat and rather than drag out the conversation I simply told the cashier that I had not lost my baby weight, not exactly a lie – but being how my baby is now 16 – may not be a complete truth either. The cashier seemed satisfied with that and apologized for his mistake.
We left the grocery store and as we loaded the groceries into the back of my SUV, I lamented on the insensitivity of people in general. My husband did a lot of nodding and smiling then took my hand and said that he thought I handled the situation in a Christian manner. He told me he was proud of me for not “losing it” on the cashier.
Of course, I continued to feel badly anyway so later that evening, as my husband and I did our daily devotion, we talked in depth about what had occurred at the grocery store. I won’t go into all the details of the conversation, but suffice it to say that I felt much better afterwards and just filed the unfortunate incident away to use in the future as a teaching tool for my kids on not judging a book by its cover.
1Samuel 16:7 tells us that “People judge by outward appearance but the Lord looks at a person’s heart.”
I didn’t suffer any physical harm from the comments made to me that day in the grocery store. Sure my feelings were hurt and I did pout for a bit following the exchange, but when I look at the bigger picture, my reaction to it didn’t cause the situation to get any worse.
I don’t know what this guy’s situation was, maybe his wife just had a baby or found out she was pregnant and he was excited about it, or maybe he just didn’t know any better. I couldn’t tell by looking at him. But I tried not to judge him for what I perceived to be an insensitive comment and maybe my reaction to it taught him something, like how to be forgiving in an embarrassing situation. What I do know is that experience reminded me to get to know what is in a person’s heart before judging them by their outward appearance and hopefully my story reinforces the words of 1Samuel 16:7 in your hearts too.