Saturday, August 27, 2005

The inside

But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."

-- 1 Samuel 16:7 (NKJV)

I've never been one for huge parties; never been quite the social butterfly. There are many good things about being part of a community, a group of trusted friends and/or family, but I guess -- in the way that we all have our preferences -- for me, it's always been about getting to know each individual person. Heart to heart, one on one: what makes him tick, what makes her heart skip a beat, why he always chooses cynicism over optimism, how she manages to keep on forgiving each time someone hurts her.

So for me, this verse has always held special meaning; I stumble all the time, but I hope that I will never stop trying to see others for what they are beyond their "outward appearance."

For a long time, "outward appearance" held mere physical meaning to me; the colour of one's eyes and hair, how tall or short they were, if their shirt cost $200 or $2. But I realised that these masks that we have -- they're so much more than that. While our physical attributes are sometimes beyond our control, there are parts of ourselves that we constantly choose to project over others, even online, where something as seemingly innocuous as words on a screen -- stripped of the commercial definitions of "beauty" from the fashion industry -- is no less formidable a facade. This doesn't even have to be a conscious effort on our part, nor a deliberate ploy to deceive; it is simply the result of the impossibility of translating the complexity of a human being into mere words.

And I realised that "outward appearance" doesn't just mean the things I see, but also the things I hear, the things I touch, the things I perceive, with all of my fallible human senses -- that in the end, no matter how well I may think I know someone, only God knows their hearts. My initial reaction to this realisation was admittedly some disappointment; you mean after all my efforts to get to know someone, I can never truly understand anyone?

But then I remember how good God is, how much He loves me -- so much that I can never fully comprehend, or hope to comprehend -- then I realise that it's okay. There's plenty more for me to do: pray, trust, obey, and love. (If you've tried to keep up with any of those, you'll know that I mean it when I say that's really more than enough to keep me occupied.) Along the way, I will enjoy the laughter and tears shared, and I hope that I will be able to manage that hug or shoulder for someone to cry on -- even when I don't always understand.

***

This world can analyze
And size you up
And throw you on the scales
They can I.Q. you and run you through
Their rigorous details
They can do their best to rate you
And they'll place you on the charts
And then back it up with scientific smarts

But there's more to what you're worth
Than their human eyes can see

I say the measure of a man
Is not how tall you stand
How wealthy or intelligent you are
'Cause I've found out the measure of a man
God knows and understands
For He looks inside to the bottom of your heart
And what's in the heart defines
The measure of a man

Well, you can doubt your worth
And search for who you are
And where you stand
But God made you in His image
When He formed you in His hands
And He looks at you with mercy
And He sees you through His love
You're His child and that will always be enough

For there's more to what you're worth
Than you could ever comprehend

You can spend your life pursuing physical perfection
There is so much more
More than ever meets the eye
For God looks through the surface
And He defines your worth by what is on the inside

-- "The Measure of a Man" by 4Him

(Download song here, 3.73 MB, 04:04, via YouSendIt.com, link expires in 7 days expired, available upon request)

2 Comments:

Anonymous janna said...

Awesome song, awesome comments. I reference this post on my blog today. You had better things to say than me! :)

Tue Aug 30, 12:13:00 am  
Blogger Laughingcow said...

Glad you were blessed. :) Thank you for such kind words!

Tue Aug 30, 01:03:00 am  

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