Appearances can always get us into trouble. Instead of focusing on how others appear to us, this post will focus on how we obsess over how we want to appear to others. At some point in time we have all wanted to be the center of attention, the perfect person, the one with the cool friends, the one with the wealthy money, amazing fashions, and trend setter and so on. These wants deal with wanting people to feel and believe we are those very things when it’s further from the truth.
For example, the so-called “uncool” kids would want to be friends with the “cool” and “popular” kids so that everyone else would treat them like the treated the “cool” and “popular” kids. Either acknowledge them or want to be friends with them. There is a model called the Johari Window and it deals with the four windows of ourselves and how we communicate with others; it’s supposed to better help people understand themselves. There is a window called the Open window, known by another name but I don’t remember at this time, and it deals with what we know about ourselves that others know too. This can be our race, eye color, gender and so on. However, what about intrapersonal desires? How would another person know those?
They can’t hence why appearance is important in physically manifesting, sometimes, what we crave or want from others. The thing about this is that we can play that game for a long time and not many people would know, but God has a relationship with us that surpass any physical deceit. He knows when we are lying to ourselves and others.
In Matthew 6:4, Jesus tells his disciples that it is important to do righteous acts not in front of others because there is no reward for it. He even starts out saying, “Be careful.” This be careful speaks volume because it implies that they must be on their guard at all times because pride is subtle, so subtle that you can end up doing a righteous deed in front of others just for the acknowledgement without really knowing it. He goes on to talk about those that boast about their deeds and how they have received their reward from man (the pat on the back, the applause, the “You’re such a good person,” and the praise) but have not received their reward from God (blessings and all things good).
Matthew 6:16-18. Jesus talks about fasting and this passage I laughed when I read it because my sis would always talk about this passage and have me rolling with her modern-day interpretation. Jesus says that fasting should be a private affair between you and God; in fact no one should even know you are fasting. Why should no one know you are fasting? Because you shouldn’t look any different from how you normally look when you aren’t fasting.
Let’s say James is a man who always comes to work in great looking suits, hair is done, outfit pressed, everything on point, not a hair out-of-place. Then one day he comes into work looking like a beggar on the street, he is wearing some clothes that looked like a dog had chewed on it, his hair is dry, his lips look like baby powder, and his shoes look like they have been through the wire. You ask him concerned, “What happened to you? Are you okay?” And his response is, “I’m fasting.”
Just cause you are fasting does not mean you have to look like you been to the Sahara desert and back, God is not amused. Plus as a Christian that’s just wrong, Jesus was tempted for 40 days and 40 nights, he fasted for those 40 days and 40 nights and not once does the Bible mention him being in disarray. His lips were moist, his hair looked like it had been deep conditioned by the angels, and his outfit was straight.
Jesus again says that those who do their righteous deeds in front of people have already gotten an earthly reward, but not a Godly reward.
We have in us this desire to be accepted by our peers and that very desire can get us in trouble.
In Matthews 14: 1-12, we learn that John the Baptist is beheaded and why. Herod had beef with John, now I’m not sure cause when I read the passage I’m not too clear on what it is saying. A possible reason why Herod had beef with John is because he was sleeping with his brother’s wife, Herodias, and John the Baptist had told him that what he was doing was not right. Herod wanted to kill John but was afraid of the people because they considered John a prophet, so he had him arrested and thrown in prison.
On Herod’s birthday his niece, the daughter of Herodias, danced for him and danced so well that he is willing to give her anything she asked for, even if she asked for half of his kingdom. (What kind of dancing is that dang-on good?) The young woman coached by her mom asked for John the Baptists’ head on a platter. This young woman has asked for the head of one of God’s chosen ones and no one thinks that’s weird? Smh!
Herod, mind you he wanted to kill John himself but couldn’t because of the people, knows that he should not follow through with her request but to keep face in front of his guests, he goes through with her request. So innocent John is beheaded and killed.
Now right here is where my mind is blown, was Herod that press that he had to kill John? Yes, because he couldn’t lose face, what if those guests of his would think him soft that he couldn’t grant such a request? Or what if they begin to test his power? His own selfishness and facade of an appearance moved him to kill an innocent man who had never done anything to him but tell him the truth about his actions. Maybe he was upset that John saw past his outward appearance for the sinful and arrogant human he was, who knows.
For some you aren’t that hard up about appearances that you are willing to kill someone, but some people are. People commit crimes or die because they are trying to prove to others that they are on their level or better. Human praise is nothing because one minute they praise you and the next they curse you.
That is why we must focus on being who God calls us to be and focus on how we are with him. He doesn’t want your facade; he can see through it anyway, he just wants your heart.
I had to come to this realization when I was exhausting myself trying to appear to others how they wanted me to appear and neither one of those appearances was close to the real me, to the person God designed me to be. Next time we get an itch to play the appearance game, let’s remind ourselves who is there at night when we are behind closed doors and how much he loves us, be blessed.