Instantly upon seeing her I had assessed and passed judgement on her.
I estimated she was in her mid-to-late twenties with tattoos (tatts) all over the back of her hands, arms and those parts of her legs I could quickly see between her long nondescript skirt and ankle-high boots with socks.
Where her hair was shaved off over the right side of her scalp there were more tatts. Her long dreadlocks were dyed pink and, in her snout, hung a large nose ring with the bottom part triple the depth of the rest of the ring, hanging under her nose.
She said: Hi I’m Josie. I introduced myself.
Her: and what are we doing today?
Me: I’d like a Clayton’s haircut please.
Her: Wots zat.
I explained it was the haircut you’re having when you’re not having a haircut.
Her: Okay now I know. So she began.
It wasn’t a good cut. I thought I emerged from the barber’s chair looking more like a sheep that had had a torrid time on the shearing shed floor. But my waiting wife did not comment so maybe I didn’t look as shorn as I felt although it seemed like Clayton hadn’t got much of a look-in.
I comforted myself that it would be a long time before I ran the gauntlet again of drawing Josie at the barrier.
During our brief time together, we exchanged the usual ‘getting to know you’ pleasantries and my initial impression began to soften. She was an accomplished conversationalist who spoke well, had good communication and people skills, was respectful and polite. She lived with her parents and as mum had also come to like ‘body art’ she was now accompanying Josie to her friend’s tattooist and was sporting a few tatts herself.
Life isn’t always as we’d like it to be. On one occasion I had to employ a temp to fill in whilst my secretary was away. She turned up on day one sporting a bare midriff.
As I sat in my office and she came in to ask me something I couldn’t help but look directly at her navel at eye level. Not a good look in a solicitor’s office where country conservatism reigns. Her attire changed.
Man looks at the outward appearance
This experience with Josie reminded me of the prophet Samuel sent by God to Jesse of Bethlehem with the directive: I have chosen one of his sons to be king to replace King Saul (1 Samuel chapter 16 verse 1), the King having done ‘seriously wrong’.
One-by-one Jesse’s seven sons were paraded before Samuel and one-by-one the prophet said: The LORD has not chosen these. But there was still one more son out in the field tending the sheep. David, the youngest, was brought in.
Before the parade the LORD had said to Samuel: Do not consider his appearance or his height…The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. (1 Samuel chapter 16 verse 7). At the conclusion of the parade God said to Samuel: Rise and anoint him [David]; he is the one. (verse 12).
I had hastily misjudged
I had done Josie a disservice although I still have a problem with nose rings, most of which have a blob at the bottom of the curve which looks like something other than part of the ring.
But she liked her outfit and worked in gainful employment, so I guess that’s what ultimately matters. Furthermore, we can’t ‘look at the heart’ although we may sometimes hear it said that someone has a good heart or a big heart or is kind/soft hearted.
What does God want to see…
as He looks at the heart? Surely, He wants to see the person who seeks God, for Jesus says: seek and you will find [Me]. (Matthew chapter 7 verse 7).
I noticed this to be true when an 84 year old friend’s email said: “guess we will never agree on this matter so better let it rest”. End of discussion. Whilst there is power in logic and in the careful choice and use of words, something much more powerful may prevail: personal preference. ‘I don’t want to’. If the hearer does not want to engage with you s/he simply won’t.
We were dead in our transgressions…when we followed the ways of this world…we have lived among people who gratify the cravings of our sinful nature and follow its desires and thoughts. (Ephesians chapter 2 verses1-3). Previously we were “enemies” of God “in our minds”. (Colossians chapter 1 verse 21).
When God looks at the heart surely He wants to see open-mindedness and hearts soft enough to say ‘yes’ to Jesus who says: Come to Me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me…and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew chapter 11 verses 28/29).
Then we’ll clearly know who we are and where we’re going to. We are His and are not alone.
Not deserving heaven even though we may have searched after Him and found Him, we are still only saved to heaven by His grace. It is by grace you have been saved through faith…it is the gift of God. (Ephesians chapter 2 verse 8).
The inevitable result?
Perhaps the reason for increasing social unrest in our world as it becomes more and more ungovernable is largely because: you refuse to come to Me to have life. (John chapter 5 verse 40).
Gavin Lawrie is a retired Barrister and Solicitor from Tweed Heads NSW Australia and author of the book: 'THE EVIDENCE OF EVOLUTION: Uncovering The Faulty Science Of Dawkins' Attack On Creationism'. He is married to Jan with two adult children and they are grandparents.
Gavin Lawrie's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/gavin-lawrie.html