English proverbs are short, concise sayings that express traditional truths. Many of them, religious and metaphorical in nature, offer sound, uplifting advice and consist of repetitive consonant sounds that make remembering them effortless. This week, we’ll focus on five traditional armchair convictions that connect with scriptural truths and encourage virtuous living.
It’s All in the Packaging … Or Is It?
“What matters is not your outer appearance . . . but your inner disposition. Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.”
1 Peter 3:3–4, MSG
“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
Well, I must confess – I do. As well as canned goods, household products, smartphones, cars, appliances, and just about anything that boasts a price tag. This mindset was etched into me as an advertising design major in college. Our classroom mantra was, “Presentation. Presentation. Presentation.”
In the world of advertising, appearance does matter – big time. The successful sale of a product is dependent on its packaging. It may be a lousy product, but if it is packaged well, it sells. The opposite is also true. A product may be incredible, yet remains on the store shelves due to poor package design. Most of us can attest to this fact, having bought a product that we quickly became dissatisfied with because it simply did not measure up to its outward show.
As for mankind, Scripture is very clear on how we are to present ourselves and on how we are to receive others. Taking wholesome pride in our physical appearance is important, but nurturing our spirit must take priority. Cultivating character not only pleases God, but it shapes our perception and acceptance of others. God looks at the heart, while people judge by the outward appearance. We see this play out daily as society continues to elevate and reward those who are attractive, well educated, and talented, while others are left sitting on the bench aching for someone to invite them to participate in life.
As the mother of a child with Down syndrome, I have seen the heartache of those considered “less than,” as well as their delight when someone reaches out to include them in activities. Those who are willing to invest themselves in socially challenged individuals, regardless of the cause, often find inner qualities in them that are refreshing: unconditional love, a desire to please, pride in a job well done, sincere empathy, selflessness, the voice of truth, and unlimited forgiveness.
So don’t judge a book by its cover. Take a moment to look inside others. In doing so, you may discover an amazing story―one that God delights in.