I’m sure many of you have heard the saying: “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” I know that I have. In fact, I’ve used it plenty of times myself! But today, I was actually thinking about this saying in a different light. Usually, I have heard this phrase in regards to physical appearance. To not judge or prejudge anyone or anything based solely on its outward appearance. Usually, I have heard this phrase used in the positive sense, that on the outside someone may appear to be bad, but within, they are actually good, they are not such a bad person.
Don’t judge a book by it’s cover, they say. For example, if you see a plain book cover, do not assume that the book isn’t interesting. On the contrary, it may be more interesting than the one with the prettier cover. I would say, that this phrase is really on the mark! There is nothing new under the sun. You really can’t judge a book by it’s cover, but why is that so? Jesus clearly answers this. Jesus said, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, covetousness, deceit, an evil eye, pride…all these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” Mark 7:21-23
On the outside, someone may appear good… but what is truly inside the person if you suddenly remove their cover? Do you wear a cover? Hide what’s on the inside, push it deep inside, and on the outside: Pretend like everything is okay, when it’s not? Pretend to be happy, when there is sadness inside? Pretend to love, when there’s hate? Pretend to be a good Christian, when filled with doubts and disbelief? God sees the heart and we will appear before Him without a cover! What is the point of deceiving others and your own self? For Jesus to then say in the end, I do not know thee!
Isn’t the same point that Jesus tried to make to the Pharisees in Matthew chapter 23?
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Matthew 23:25-28
So I have good news for you (or perhaps bad?, but it’s not too late!), God does not and will not judge by our cover!
So let’s be honest to ourselves, let’s work on our heart, on our inside – versus working on the outside “cover”!