Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Cut – But Not Clean Cut

Recently I was on a job painting the exterior of a house, when a neighbor lady came over and began to converse with the home owner regarding my work.  Apparently this lady wanted an estimate for some work on her home, but had yet to find the right contractor.  Upon inquiring of the home owner as to my work ethic, and viewing my actual work, this lady requested that I stop by and give her an estimate.  And then she said something I thought was kind of funny.  She said, “I haven’t found a clean cut painter yet.  You look pretty clean cut.  And your work looks good, so I’d like an estimate.”

It made me chuckle inside.  If she could have seen me just a few months prior, or even a few years ago, she may have thought differently.  Hair past my shoulders and a goatee 8 inches long probably wouldn’t have passed the “clean cut” test.  It still makes me smile as I write, but it’s a bitter-sweet smile.

Something very strange and even tragic happens when we judge people by their outward appearances.  We build a wall that prevents a divine interaction.  We prejudice ourselves against people without even knowing the full extent of the value they could add to our lives and vice versa.

Sometimes it has to do with skin color.  Other times it has to do with body size and shape (BMI).  Even worse amongst God’s people we judge others by how they do their worship experience.  Regardless of what type of prejudice we possess, it’s not good.

Now I’m glad that lady wanted me to give her an estimate, but I am not glad she wanted it because she deemed me to be “clean cut”.  The reason being: I was just as good a painter and carpenter when my hair was long or my goatee hung to the middle of my chest.

Can you understand how pre-judging someone by how they look could prevent you from gaining a benefit or a blessing, by inadvertently shutting them out?  Not only is there potential for hurting or offending the other person (the one being judged), but you the one doing the judging run the greater risk of not gaining from what they have to offer you in this life.

Pause for a moment and think of all the blessings and benefits you and I may have lost out on, by judging someone based on their appearance alone.  Biblically speaking, the consequences of judging by appearance alone can be of catastrophic loss – to all parties involved.

So remember, the next time you look at someone and think they are “clean cut” and that it must mean they are a good person, stop yourself.  Because there have been times in my life when I was Cut – But Not Clean Cut.  And there are people who are clean cut, who have yet to be cut.

If and when life has cut us deeply, and we let God do a healing work in our hearts and lives, we will come to the realization that outward appearances are of little value to God.  He looks at the heart of a person.

Having our hearts and lives cut to the quick, should cause us to cry out to God who alone can render those wounds healed.  And that my friend is far more important than being clean cut on the outside.

As for me, I’d rather be Cut – But Not Clean Cut, for therein lies the power of my God’s love.  He looks inside, when no one else will.  He looks inside where the cuts really occur.  He looks at the parts that matter.  And those parts have little to do with trimmed sideburns and a fresh appearance.

Cut – But Not Clean Cut.  I’m glad God sees me for me.  Let’s try to do the same for others.