This morning I awoke with an idea that startled me. I, and most likely you too, have been living the Bible teachings. It's like my earth school curriculum has been set up so that the key themes in the Bible are taught to me via my life experience. Some have been part of this experiential teaching numerous times. Maybe I didn't quite get it, or there were nuances I missed, or they were just so important that they bore repeating.
One of the repeating themes has been -
Judge not by the appearance, but by righteous judgement. (KJV) or in the Message translation: Don’t be hypercritical; use your head—and heart!—to discern what is right, to test what is authentically right. or in the Voice translation: You should not judge by outward appearance. When you judge, search for what is right and just.
Whatever translation, we are told to go beyond the surface, beyond first glance, beyond the ego's biased assessment, and maybe even to see the person and the situation from a God point of view.
There are untold numbers of examples in in my life. One example keeps coming to my mind this morning. I was once the pastor of a church that had a very old and beautiful building. It was built near the end of the 1800's. It was Gothic with a pipe organ, hand carved and beautiful woodwork. It tended to creak and seem a bit spooky at night.
One day a sweet young thing voice called me and asked me to perform a wedding that night. It seemed they loved the beauty of our church and wanted a woman minister. So I drove down to the church just before 7 that evening and went in and turned on all of the lights. Then I heard the roar of motorcycles in the parking lot, lots of motorcycles. My first thought was - oh no, nobody knows where I am!
In walked a group of leather-clad young people, chains, studs, the whole thing. The bride walked up to me. She was wearing jeans and a leather vest with nothing under it, nothing! She said, Your flowers are so lovely. Could I pick some for my hair? I told her that would be fine. She came back in with a ring of flowers in her hair. She looked so stunningly beautiful, glowing and radiating happiness. I had a conversation with the bride and groom and decided they were genuinely in love and aware fully of the commitment they were about to make. We all went in to the sanctuary, and I married them. They were so happy, tears in their eyes, beautiful vows they had prepared to say. Afterwards, they thanked me profusely and gave me the biggest honorarium I'd ever received. They waved as they rode off, faces covered with huge smiles.
If I allowed my fear led by the appearance to take over, I would have missed some lovely people and a precious memory.
Either I am thick-headed, or this lesson is so important that it just has to be repeated - different scenarios, different faces, same lesson. I am getting better at it, but I do find I slip from time to time. Perhaps some of the examples I've lived are pop quizzes for me to see how I'm doing. Some are more like mid-terms.
When I opened the Book of Life for this life, I opened the Bible stories that would teach me each and every day, even if I never actually opened a physical Bible. I did, however, open and study and read the Bible over and over, since early childhood. My life experiences and my understanding of the Bible maybe are a bit different than yours, but they are all rooted in timeless stories and sayings.
Thoreau said that an unexamined life is not worth living. I urge you to examine your life to discern which sacred stories are your particular curriculum, your assignments to learn during the course of this life.