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Judging by Appearances

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By Bonnie Ricks, This Day's Devotional
June 15, 2009|1:26 pm

Acts 9:13-14 NIV

"Lord," Ananias answered, "I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name."

Judging by appearances, Saul was the last person on earth who could do any good for the kingdom of God. Judging by appearances, the best thing Ananias could do would be to let Saul stay blind and rot.

Let's look at some other cases. Judging by appearances, Jesus Himself was committing one sin after another. He worked on the Sabbath. After all, anyone who didn't honor the Sabbath didn't honor God, right? He spent a lot of time with people that any decent person would consider the scum of the earth. Obviously, He had no sense of propriety, right? He hung around with twelve guys all the time, and it wasn't a professional sports team. That's a little weird, don't you think? He went to visit Mary and Martha all the time, even sleeping at their house! And they were all single! Not to mention the fact that Mary Magdalene, another single woman, hung around Him all the time, giving him money and who knows what else! Can't you hear the tongues clucking over that one? Jesus told Peter and eleven other men to follow him. That meant Peter had to leave his wife and family and, well, that's home wrecking, isn't it? And, of course, there were similar situations with the other eleven men, like Matthew, the tax collector, who gave up a lucrative job to follow Jesus. On top of it all, Jesus didn't have a real job, either. He didn't do a thing to earn a living, just mooched off other people all the time. Was he a bum or what?

These things may sound ridiculous to you, but I have heard each and every one of them said at one time or another. by well-meaning people. people who judge by appearances. people who are guilty of judging those around them with the same short sighted view. by appearances alone.

When you see something going on in someone else's life that seems out of line, do you judge that person immediately? Do you even consider that you might be misled by appearances and that God is doing something powerful in and through that person's life. working in the very circumstances that to you seem so bad, but that in His will is exactly what He wants that person to do? Do you pray about it, asking God for guidance in what to do, asking God in His sovereignty to correct any wrong - if there is one? Do you "share" what you've seen with others in the guise of prayerful concern, never admitting that what you're really doing is gossiping? (Remember, God ranks gossip right up there with murder and adultery on His abominations list!) If your concern is so great for that person, do you go directly - and privately - to that person and share your concern with him and him alone? Or do you have enough faith in God's sovereignty to just pray for that person and leave the outcome up to Him?

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