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Judging a book by its cover?

Dear friends, greetings in the blessed Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. As Christians we are called by the Lord Jesus Christ to not judge (Luke 6:37). However, this seems to be what we do most often, i.e., we are quick to jump to conclusions. We judge people around us based on their appearance, wealth, societal standing, by what they do and say. Although a person’s character is most often defined by what they do and say (Matthew 7:16, Luke 6:45), it’s not always and entirely possible to judge someone this way as only God knows the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).

Ironically, 1 Samuel 16:7 relates to the anointing of King David, a man after God’s own Heart (1 Samuel 13:14) who actually ended up becoming a murderer and adulterer (2 Samuel 11, 12). This doesn’t mean that God’s Purpose and will failed, rather that His Justice was swiftly executed even on His most beloved saint (2 Samuel 12:11-12). What’s heartening from this story is that even the vilest sinner can be forgiven. To his credit King David proved himself to be the chosen one by repenting right away (2 Samuel 12:13), a penitence that was produced in him by the Holy Spirit. That brings me to this question: would we have discarded David as an unlikely candidate for King when he was young and short, and would we have justified his adultery and murder as the discretion of a King? I certainly hope not.

Please turn with me to 1 Timothy 1:13. In this verse of scripture the Apostle Paul was describing his previous life-style and his conversion. Paul was actually dragging Christians from their homes and destroying the Church (Acts 8:3). Let’s not forget that although the Apostle did this in sheer ignorance he had to face God’s judgment through unimaginable suffering (Acts 9:16, 2 Corinthians 11:25). The point that I’m trying to make here saints is that how could God Almighty choose an apparent blasphemer and violent man to be his chosen instrument (Acts 13:47)? We could sympathize with the ruddy complexioned young man that David was (1 Samuel 16:12), but who could sympathize/empathize with a thug and gangster, i.e., Saul (later Paul)?

Ironically David turned out to be an adulterer and murderer in his later years, while Paul single-handedly evangelized Western Europe and parts of Asia. Had we pre-judged David and Saul (later Paul) strictly by their actions and deeds (Matthew 7:16) would we be have been guilty of incorrect judgment both times? Would we be tempted to say, in hind-sight, that the formerly violent Paul was a much better man than a well behaving, innocent and charming little boy turned murderer called David? Do we indeed judge people when the Lord Jesus, in all His infinite Wisdom, Who had seen billions of people like Paul and David evolve into totally different personalities than how they began, admonished us not to pre-judge?

Dear friends, I'm certain that all of you are saved and sanctified. Should there be any among you who are yet to come to the Lord, I pray that you'll receive His grace today. Amen.

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Sep 30, 2019

"Judging a tree by its fruit" is almost "judging a book by its cover," if only done a little more carefully.

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