God often brings people in my path during the day in order to teach me something or to return to a lesson we’ve covered before and give it emphasis in order that I may share the lesson with others. This happened recently while I was at Walmart in line behind two young men who were apparently a gay couple. Before you pass judgment on me, thinking that I am judgmental, you will find me one of the least judgmental people that you will meet. People often are surprised when they find out who I am, what my beliefs are, etc., and then discover that I do not hold myself in any higher esteem than I view others, nor do I look on them unkindly if they are living in obvious sin. If there is pride in me, it is for the work that God has done in me. It is pride for my God and gratitude for Who He is and What He has done in my life and the lives of those around me as He has used me to extend and exert His Loving Will on this earth (Matthew 6:10). I truly understand that I am no better than anyone else. The good in me is because of the work of God and my submission to His Plan.
All that said, there are many things that you truly cannot tell about a person simply by looking at them (this is called prejudice). There are things you cannot predict such as how a person might act toward you in a chance encounter. I have had people surprise me so many times when they were projecting a certain image by their body language and perhaps a tough, prickly exterior with piercings and tattoos. What you see on the outside is not always a good prediction of what you’ll find on the inside. But there are, nonetheless, many details that you can determine about a person by observation of their body language, their speaking habits, their treatment of others around them, even in short encounters such as you would see in public places. I have had to make a life-long study of reading people quickly from my military duties and my many travels. In this case, with the two young men in front of me at Walmart, believe me, you would not have needed a “gaydar” to determine that these two young men were gay. There were so many of the behavioral eccentricities that people in the gay community frequently display that there was no need to guess.
Additionally, I just want to note for the record that, while there are limitations on what you can determine by looking at someone, you can frequently tell as much as you need to know by a few minutes of observation of their habits. There are things that you and I project that we don’t even realize because what is in our hearts ends up being communicated somehow in our facial expressions, body language, or by our mannerisms when we are in public. As an example, I will tell you about one common character type I have seen quite a few times in public places such as Walmart that you will probably recognize by the description. The person I’m referring to is the one who rudely talks out loud on his/her cell phone, broadcasting personal business to everyone within earshot, and frequently stepping rudely in front of others, pushing their cart in the path of others, or reaching in front of others without any realization or acknowledgment that other people are around them and being affected by them, not even bothering to mumble a quick apology. They are so caught up in their own business that they do not even realize anyone is around them.
By their actions, they communicate that they DO NOT care about your existence because they are so narcissistically caught up in their me-centric universe. I’m sure they don’t mean to be rude, but by the character of their hearts and by their personal habits that reveal what is in their hearts, they broadcast loud and clear that the world revolves around them and they couldn’t care less about you unless you have something to offer them or unless they summon you to their exalted presence. I don’t even need to talk to them to determine their selfishness and rudeness; they are broadcasting their character flaws on their body language/behavior loudspeaker. Even if they disingenuously tried to be nice when confronted, you would already know that it is a ruse because they have already given you a window into their soul. And it is usually not worth the effort to confront such people unless they step way over the line with egregious behavior that needs to be confronted before they get worse and hurt someone else. But this is something that needs the guidance of the Holy Spirit to determine when to confront and when to shut up.
And rest assured that, just because you are angry, this does not mean that the Holy Spirit is giving you permission to lash out. Many people use their emotions as an excuse and stick a band-aid of Biblical verses on the act to try to give it legitimacy. In the case of the two young men in Walmart, I sensed from the Holy Spirit that there was no opening to talk to them. The narcissistic habits of their heart were being broadcast loud and clear, and from what I could tell, they were so much in rebellion to God that there was very little good or decent within their hearts. I did not feel any resentment toward them because of their obvious sin. I felt only pity for their blindness and their captivity to the sin that they probably truly believed would set them free, which is why I did the only thing I could do – pray for them. Remember that Satan masquerades as an angel of light to anyone whose mind is darkened with sin, so that they truly do not even understand what they are doing.
More on this tomorrow. I pray that the Love of Christ would fill you and shine outward to all those around you and to all whom you encounter this day.