The Packers Fan
We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. 2 Corinthians 5:12
Though I wasn’t raised in Minnesota, I’ve lived here for nearly 20 years and have always been a Vikings fan. Once, while at a game, a guy with a Green Bay Packers Jersey sat near us. I disliked him immediately. I knew literally nothing about him except the shirt he was wearing, and I made a judgment call. As the game ended and my team lost, I blamed him. This is your fault. I don’t like you. Maybe he was a nice guy and maybe if I’d have gotten to know him, I’d have really liked him. I wasn’t about to give him the chance though. In that context, he was the enemy, all because of a shirt.
That may be amusing at a football game, but I’m shallow enough that I do this all the time. When I see someone for the first time, I make an impulsive, involuntary judgment call about his or her worth, based on appearance. When a disheveled woman with a dog sat next to me on an airplane not long ago, I cringed. I didn’t get to know her. I just put up a wall. That isn’t someone with whom I want to interact. Maybe she was a wonderful person, but because of her outward appearance, I avoided conversation.
Paul lamented this tendency in today’s passage. In it, he criticized those who boast about outward appearance instead of what’s in the heart. He knew what we all know – that the external packaging often doesn’t reflect what’s inside. A beautiful external appearance can hide something ugly, and an unattractive facade may hide something beautiful.
We all know this, but still, we involuntarily make judgments about others based on external appearance. We also tend to put more work into the superficial. Daily, we shower, get dressed, do our hair, and put on makeup, all in an effort to look good. We get up early to do this, but do we get up early to work on ourselves and our relationship with God? Do we daily read, pray, and seek God’s will? Or, are we simply interested in how we look?
God looks at the heart. We too, should be more interested with what’s on the inside. When we meet someone, we must make a conscious choice to override our initial impulse to judge and we must look for the beauty underneath. Likewise, we should spend more time working on our heart than our hair or clothing.