“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” someone once said.
This can tell us that our eyes can be deceiving, for we all don’t see the same way. This is why God told Samuel, “The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
Earlier God had told Samuel that he had rejected Eliab, of whom the verse above was referring to. So, if Samuel insisted that Eliab was the anointed one, it would have been disastrous once again for his people.
“But the Lord looks at the heart.” This is a wonderful guiding principle for all of us, especially when it concerns relationships, for it is best to see one another’s hearts and not the outward appearance.
For example, does our relationship with God depend on images? Many artists depict Jesus Christ as handsome, almost with movie star appeal. Yet this is how Isaiah describes the Lord:
“He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2).
If our relationship with Jesus depended on how he looked, would we have sought or loved or worshiped him any less? This is exactly why the Bible exhorts us to worship God in Spirit and in truth.
While relationships with one another can begin with what we first see, it must not end there. Too many marriages have ended simply because two people discovered that there is more to a marital union than looks.
There must be a heart-to-heart view of one another. There we can find the real person, the real motives, the real character. Yet, the Bible warns us about this:
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).
So, how to resolve this? We must let the Bible first judge our hearts:
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
To have the word of God judge our hearts is to be freed of our personal biases or prejudices; so we can see others’ hearts the way God sees ours — with pure love.