It’s true, you know. We do judge a book by the cover.
As we peruse the shelves at the library or Barnes & Noble, our eyes tend to skip over the bland, boring book jackets. The bright, fun, or interesting ones grab our attention and without even thinking about it, our hand reaches to out to take it.
Holding the book, our eyes flash top to bottom, left to right. With a quick twist of the wrist, we flip it over to check out the back. After the colors, font, and photos register, then we begin to read the words.
We totally judge a book by the cover.
That’s how we size people up, too. Like the “cha-ching” of an old time cash register, we quickly, subconsciously label those in our paths. Hopefully, we snap out of it and go on with our lives.
When I’m in the store, I sometimes judge others by their covers. I may change my mind right away, but initially I think I have them figured out.
“Working in the yard; running to the store for supplies. Coming home from work; grabbing something for dinner. Heading to the kids’ event; stocking up on snacks for the team.”
I went to the grocery store just before Hurricane Irma hit northern Florida. There wasn’t much left on the shelves and the lines were long. Glancing at the shopping carts around me, I made quick assessments of the other people waiting.
“Milk and bread – basic necessities; probably has everything else needed, but just making sure. Four bags of potato chips and a few liters of soda; not taking any chances for upcoming cravings. A jug of bleach and four cases of beer; Whoa!”
Now if you’ve never done this, then just skip to the next article and say a prayer for me, a miserable, judgmental person. “Just call me Judgie McJudgerson.” However, if you occasionally find yourself trying to evaluate others, too, read on.
It actually is impossible to tell where someone is heading or where they’ve been. I, too have fallen prey to the judge.
For many years my husband was the principal of Christian schools. As was always the mandate, we attended the sponsoring church.
Life tends to get easier when our children become teenagers. Mornings are less harried and they don’t require as much of our attention.
One Sunday morning while getting out of our car, we met another family in the parking lot. They had four little kids, ages five through thirteen.
As we approached the building the mother of the crew said, “Oh, there’s the Barbie family.”
“What do you mean, Betty?”
“You guys always look so perfect. Must be nice.”
I was so offended! She didn’t know if we’d had a smooth morning or a rough morning. She didn’t know if our bank account was in the red or if we were doing well. She didn’t know anything about us really. She only knew what she perceived as a perfect, “Barbie” family.
We sat behind them in church that morning and as we stood singing, I noticed that the belt on her dress was backward. Upon closer inspection, I realized her entire dress was on backward. She must’ve had a really rough morning, I thought. My offended spirit softened. I suppose to someone with four little kids to get ready in the morning, a family with two self-reliant teenagers would look ideal.
The Bible tells us in several places to not judge others. Matthew 7:1 warns us, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” I guess people have been judging books by their covers since the beginning of time.
Luke 6:37 adds, “. . . Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
So I won’t judge you and you don’t judge me, ok? (Unless you have four cases of beer and a jug of bleach in your shopping cart! No, really, maybe they had no water and wanted to wash their hair in the beer. In Florida, bleach is a staple to fight mold. You just never know!)