Not As Man Sees

“…the LORD sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” 1 SAMUEL 16:7

The other Sunday I was sitting in the pew waiting for Mass to begin, to some extent trying to focus myself, but also half unconsciously taking note of all the people filing in: all shapes and sizes, all ages, all levels of dressed up. And it struck me how I was responding to each “type.”

We can tend to make judgements based on appearances: “Look at that woman, all dolled up and in her fancy expensive clothes…is she just here to show off?” “Look at that man in worn-out jeans and a t-shirt. Doesn’t he have any respect for where he is?” “Those teenagers, always whispering during Mass! Why do they bother even coming if they aren’t going to pay attention?” “That woman and all her over-the-top bowing and kneeling and clacking rosary beads–I bet she’s judging the rest of us and finding us wanting.”

I imagined what the congregation might look like viewed with some sort of God-view infrared: the holiest people shining with bright white light, others dimmer, some even in darkness. I could make a few guesses as to possible shining lights, but there would be many humbling surprises, I’d warrant. And I know I have a lot of work to do–a lot of cooperating with God’s work in me–before my own little light shines out.

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