Draper Rogers: Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover

Are you guilty of assumptions?  Before answering the question, let me give you the definition of assumption.  The definition of “assumption” is “a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof.” Are you guilty of assumptions?  Truth be told, we all are.  Here is another question, do you judge a book by its cover and not it’s content?

In 1 Samuel 16:7, I am reminded of a simple yet powerful lesson on assumptions and judging a book by its cover.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “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)

The Lord looks at the heart and not the outward appearance.

The scene for 1 Samuel 16:7 is Samuel the priest is sent to appoint the new king of Israel.  Samuel has an important job assigned to him by God.  After seeing the first son of Jesse, who looked like a king, Samuel even said, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed!” However, his assumptions were wrong.  Since the Lord had promised him that He would anoint one of Jesse’s sons king, he assumed that this good-looking son would be it.  His assumption was wrong.  The Lord spoke to Samuel that the heart is more important than the outward appearance.

To look at the heart takes time.  Getting to know a person takes time.

So, the question that I have to ask is, why don’t we?  The answer is simple: we are lazy and want to get done quickly.  Like in our story today, Samuel tried to get it done quickly, and so do we.  Today and the rest of your life, consider getting to know a person before judging them based on outward appearance.   I ran across a story that demonstrates the power of faulty assumptions in The Speaker Quote Book by Roy Zuck. He includes a story from John Ross.

Between flights at an airport, a traveler went to a lounge and bought a small package of cookies.  Then she sat down and began reading a newspaper.  Gradually she became aware of a rustling noise.  From behind her paper, she was astonished to see a neatly dressed man helping himself to her cookies.  Not wanting to make a scene, she leaned over and took a cookie herself.  A minute or two passed, and then came more rustling.  He was helping himself to another cookie!  By this time, they had come to the end of the package, but she was so angry she didn’t dare allow herself to say anything.  Then, as if to add insult to injury, the man broke the remaining cookie in two, pushed half across to her, ate the other half, and left.  Still fuming sometime later, when her flight was announced, the woman opened her handbag to get her ticket.  To her shock and embarrassment, there she found her pack of unopened cookies!  How wrong our assumptions can be.

Draper Rogers is a pastor on staff at Gardendale First Baptist Church. His devotional column appears every Wednesday in The Gardendale News.