Don't Judge a Book by it's Cover
Have you ever paid attention to non-verbal communication? You know…. facial expressions, the way a person folds their arms or maybe how a person stands. Non-verbal communication can aid in finding out what a person is actually thinking, their mannerisms, their actions or their demeanor. These forms of communication can have more of an impact, positively or negatively, than the actual spoken word itself. How would you feel about a person if they walked past you and they didn’t speak to you? How would you feel about a person if your call to them was not returned? How would you feel about a person if they assumed the wrong thing about you?
I have been a victim of being misunderstood, misinterpreted and misguided simply because I was viewed by what is on the outside of me and what can be seen, but not what was going on internally…what I was really feeling…what my motives really were…what was actually happening. I think about how some of us pre-judge people just by the way they appear, what we may have heard about them, or what we may think we know about someone. Some of us are stereotyped simply because of the color of our skin, the clothes that are worn or the place where we reside. Even the people or friends we hang around with can have an influence on how we are viewed by other people.
I know all of us have made the mistake of assuming something about someone, and what we assume is entirely incorrect. Just because someone may appear quiet and reserved doesn’t mean that they won’t speak up for themselves. Just because someone may wear the latest fashions and may live in an influential area doesn’t mean they have a lot of money. Just because a person is single, does not mean we should assume they want to get married. Just because newlyweds do not have children, does not mean we should assume they want to have them or should have them.
Just because I have a past where I did not always make the right choices, does not mean that I am not worthy of God’s love. Just because the choices you made were not always wise, does not mean you cannot recover from that choice. Case in point: Rahab.
Rahab’s most notable claim to fame was the fact that she was a prostitute. This is the first thing that the Bible mentions about her in Joshua 2:1. It doesn’t mention her family first, or her upbringing or anything about her parents. The one thing that we all view as negative was the focal point in this passage of scripture. Why didn’t this passage of scripture just not mention what she did? What significance does the fact that she was a prostitute have to do with anything? What about you? Is there something that you want to keep hidden? Is there something that you don’t want anyone to know about? Is there something that you are embarrassed about? Now….imagine that secret….that thing…that embarrassment…on display for the whole world to see. How would you feel if someone assumed the wrong thing about you? In this case, yes, Rahab was a prostitute but was that all there was to Rahab?
Do you always want to be known by what you did in your past? Do you always want to be known by the mistakes you made? Despite Rahab’s chosen profession, she was able to play a pivotal role in helping the Israelites. She risked all she had to help them capture Jericho. She encompassed great faith, heroism, perception, wisdom and courage. She is mentioned in the “Hall of Faith” (Hebrews 11:31) and mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:5). Yes, she is part of the lineage of Jesus Christ. She is just that important!
Note that in Matthew 1:5, she is just mentioned as Rahab. There are no other titles associated with her as previously mentioned. Sometimes as women, we hold on to things that we don’t need to hold on to. Jesus wasn’t concerned about Rahab’s past. To Him, her name was all He wanted. Whatever your name is, that is all He wants…Doris, Rena, Karon, Shay, Tanisha, Leona, Stacy….whatever your name is…He wants it. He wants you. It doesn’t matter to Him what you have done. It doesn’t matter to Him what you haven’t done. Jesus just wants us. But we can’t be used by Him if we keep holding onto things that we need to let go of. So what if you’re divorced. So what if you have bad credit. So what if you’re a single parent. So what if you’re an ex-wife. Who said you had to be perfect? Jesus wants you just the way you are. Imperfections and all. Give those things to Him that are hurting you or stopping you from moving ahead, so you can be free from it. My pastor says that it doesn’t matter how you started, it’s how you end up. You are always somebody in Jesus Christ. You have so much faith, perception, wisdom, courage and power inside of you, but so many people have told you negative things for so long, you’re starting to believe it.
I was one of those people. I have spent too many years living by what people called me instead if what God believed for me. For some reason, what people thought of me took precedence over what God promised for me. People became more important than God. It took a lot of trial and error to get it right. If I could get those lost years back, I would. It was too much time wasted trying to please people that really didn’t care that much about me.
Start encouraging yourself. Evaluate your life and look at ways to improve it. Stop worrying about what other people think of you or what they call you for that matter! Do what you have to do to succeed. What steps do you need to take to get to the next level? Get focused. Get ready. Get prepared and get what God has for you. Let go of the past and make changes today so you can reap the blessings for your future! When God blesses you with each day, encourage yourself and say, “I am NOT what PEOPLE say I am!” Let today be the first day of the rest of your life!