Does our appearance give a practical portrayal of who we are? I think not. Are we judged by the way we present ourselves? Unfortunately, I am inclined to believe that this is true. I am not a high-roller, driving a new Mercedes Benz, nor do I have the muscles of a sports figure. My wardrobe is limited and lacks styles such as Versace, Armani, and Gucci. I don’t have a personal beautician who neatly trims my hair on a weekly basis. No, these materialistic standards don’t depict who I am, nor could I afford them.
I drive a 2000 Honda Accord with excessive damage on its passenger side. Due to financial circumstances, I have been unable to repair the major blemish of which I am reminded almost daily. My clothes may be clean, but I don’t completely replenish my closet every season. I get my hair cut at the local barbershop every two or three weeks. Tattoos are visible on my left forearm and right bicep. I listen to loud music and hang out with free spirited people.
What sort of image has been created for you? Do you visualize a person who will drop everything he is doing at the drop of a hat to come and help you? Maybe, you saw a person who attends church regularly. Perhaps, to you this describes someone who is a loving son, grandson, brother, cousin, or nephew who enjoys spending time with the people he cares most about. Did these qualities cross your mind when you read the previous depiction I offered? I will go out on a limb and assume that they didn’t.
Regrettably, we tend to associate negative characteristics with certain outward appearances. We train ourselves from an early age to judge those of whom we know little or nothing. How do you wish to be perceived? Would you rather have someone to appraise you with their judgmental minds or with their loving hearts? I try my best to use the skills that were provided to me as a child. It was instilled in me from an early age that I should not belittle others to gain self-approval. As an adult, I look for the light of God in every human whose path I cross. I am no better than anyone, nor do I wish to be. If I were to begin thinking in that manner, I believe that I would no longer be of use to anyone, not even myself.
It is my belief that we were put on this Earth to share our love towards one another; love towards people. The love that we show reflects the presence of God everywhere. I want others to know how he has enriched my life and give some of that love back to them. And at no point in time is it my place to decide who deserves that love.
A famous Swiss psychologist said it best: “What if I should discover that the poorest of the beggars and the most impudent of offenders are all within me, and that I stand in need of the alms of my own kindness; that I myself am the enemy who must be loved– what then?
– Carl Jung (1875-1961), adapted