Superficial Judgement

We had the opportunity to meet many interesting and amazing people on our recent trip to Belgium. However on the way home I had a different kind of opportunity which I completely missed.

Long flights can allow for interesting conversations and connections with people who were strangers before the flight. On my recent eleven hour flight home from Istanbul to Washington DC, the Lord revealed my heart to me. I did not like what I saw and I wept when I saw it.

This revelation came to me this morning as I pondered Isaiah chapter 53.

On the plane a woman sat slightly back from me to my right across the aisle. She appeared dirty; she appeared “out of it.” I was certain there was an unpleasant odor about her. I hid my face from her. I did not look at her except out of the corner of my eye. I despised her; I turned away from her. I said to myself. Must I endure this odor; this uncleanness; this disgusting presence for eleven hours. I am trapped here; I cannot easily get away.

But what if she had been Jesus? What if she were an angel in disguise sent by God to test my faith and my love.

Had she been attractive, had she been engaging, had she appeared to have something in this world, I would not have hidden my face from her. I would’ve been helpful; I would’ve been appropriately attentive. I would have made pleasant conversation with her.

Jesus “had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him. Nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, (including the likes of me.). He was a man of suffering and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces, He was despised and we held him in low esteem. Yet who of his generation protested?”

I would not have protested even had they removed this woman from the plane.

“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him and afflicted.”

What if this woman appeared the way she did because she was trying to help her family, sacrificing her interest for the sake of others and I considered her to be the way she was because of her own bad decisions; her own deficiencies and defects.

I heard no protest from this woman throughout the flight she did not open her mouth to protest anything.

Jesus was “oppressed and afflicted yet he did not open his mouth.”

Oh Lord, I have gone astray. I have superficially judged a person created by you in your own image. I have turned to my own way. I am one from whom you should hide your face.

Yet you have laid my sin on Jesus and he willingly bore my sin and makes intercession for me a transgressor.

Thank you, God, for your mercy upon me, from whom you have not turned your face. Rather, because of Jesus, you allow me to come directly into your presence and to find favor with you.

May I show your favor to those you bring into my path today, the attractive and the unattractive.

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