Perception is Not Always Reality

I recently finished a book called "The Art of Storytelling". In it, the author explains methods and practices he has taken to become a better speaker and illustrator. He also shares a bit about his biggest struggle as a speaker, his terrible stutter.

The author's name is John Walsh and if you ever got the opportunity to speak to him one-on-one you would not leave the conversation thinking "wow what a great speaker"! In private conversation, his stutter is pronounced and making it through sentences is a challenge, and yet he is the president of BibleTelling and a much sought after speaker. Once he walks on stage, everything changes and the stutter disappears, but you wouldn't know that from your first meeting with him.

In our reading today (1 Sam. 16:1-13), Samuel is tasked with the anointing of a new king over Israel. He goes to the place God commands Him to go and has son after son paraded in front of him. Every time one of the strong, handsome, tall sons of Jesse walks by Samuel thinks "sure this guy is king material!", but none of them are. They may look like it, but there heart wasn't right. It is then that the Lord tells Samuel:

"Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

Think about your interactions with others. How many times has your first impression of someone been wrong? How many times have you made assumptions about someone's character or lifestyle based on a few short interactions with them? Applying it to a more spiritual matter, how many times have you not invited someone to church because you thought they probably wouldn't be the type to come anyway?

I don't know about you, but a lot of my first impressions and judgments about people are incorrect. I've learned to be really careful about what I assume about people because my perception is not always reality. Samuel thought he knew who would be king based on their appearance, as it turned out the king was someone he least expected. Sometimes the people we think we'd get along with the least turn out to be our best friends and sometimes the people we think would be least likely to accept the gospel, turn out to be the most receptive to it.

Give people grace, love them even when your perception of them isn't great because Jesus expects this of us and because our perception is not always reality.


The "Five Minutes with God" articles serve as expansions on the daily Bible study book by the same name. To follow along in this study with us, buy your own copy of the book here or pick up a free copy at the Mannford Church of Christ.

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