Humans tend to look for shortcuts because we are lazy. Why do more work if we don’t have to? Sometimes this leads us to conclusions that aren’t accurate.
We look for easy ways to put people into categories. We sort by skin colour, gender, nationality, educational status, income and disabilities. The shortcut, sorting people into categories, is useful because we think it saves us time and energy. Once we put someone in a category, we think we know something about them (since they are like this…then they must do this, or believe that.) Based on our assumptions, we make a judgment about that person.
When Samuel was sent to anoint a new king over Israel, he saw Jesse’s oldest son. “This guy looks like a king,” Samuel said to himself. “He must be God’s anointed.” He was quickly corrected as God spoke to him and said, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 NLT)
It’s a disservice to others when we attempt to prejudge based on our categories. God has a totally different way of looking at people and we can’t always see what he sees. That means we have to take the time to get to know someone before knowing what they are like. Most people don’t fit neatly into categories anyway. We are complex individuals who wrestle with the many issues of life.
So don’t be lazy. Watch out for how you size people up this week. The Lord is concerned about what’s happening in their heart and in yours.