Weekly Sabbath Survey
Books and Covers — 10-19-13
We’ve all heard “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” When it was time to publish the book I wrote, I became very aware of how important the cover was. People are attracted (or not) by the cover. This proverbial saying about judging by the cover actually means ‘don’t judge people by their outward appearance.’ While Biblically speaking it refers to ‘don’t think less of a person who may be down and out and dressed badly, while at the same time don’t be so impressed with the well dressed person who seems A-OK and not only acceptable but preferable to the one in the shabby clothing.’
For thousands of years, people have identified themselves by the clothing and adornments they wear. The Amish dress ‘plain’, Scots developed various plaid patterns each uniquely identifying its clan from all the others. Prostitutes dress to advertise their profession. Street gangs and bikers have ‘colors’ and logos distinctive to their group. Police, nurses, Boy Scouts, military people, the mail carrier, and many others have clothing exclusive to their professions. In our culture people with rings on their left 4th finger to show others they are married. A flag pen on the lapel says this man is a patriot, or he wants you to think that he is. Other people identify us by what they see. Christian people should not look like lounge singers, prostitutes, gang bangers, drug addicts or vampies. And why would they want to?!?
Psychologists tell us our outward appearance sends a message to others, making it almost impossible in some cases for us to NOT get an instant impression of someone before we know them. We get the message when we look at them. Sometimes the tee shirts actually SAY the message. When an ample-bosomed woman walks into a meeting or a party wearing a dress that exposes the top half of her ‘girls’, she has no right, in my opinion, to be offended if men stare at her chest when they talk to her and some may even make assumptions about her. Why does she have them exposed if she doesn’t want them to be seen? Despite efforts that it not be so, people judge others by what they SEE. Our appearance is a part of our “voice” and it is telling people who and what we are before we even speak. I personally think we should do away with the whole “don’t judge me by my appearance” thing. If people don’t want to be judged, stared at or passed over, they should dress to send the message of who they REALLY are.
We live in a day and age when Miley Cyrus (from a Christian home!) is a role model to our teens. Parents must instruct children in righteousness concerning their clothing and other fashions that are ways of expressing themselves. We must equip them with Scripture concerning permanent markings or scarring of the skin which are forbidden by God. If they go out into life without being taught in these matters, they will be easy prey for the temptations the devil has waiting for them. If they go out after being taught and do it anyway, at least they were given the right training. Maybe when they are ‘old’ they will come back to that.
On another note, both saved and unsaved young people’s way of dressing and harming their bodies in such hideous ways could be a sign of internal problem. They put themselves into a ‘cult’ of everyone wearing a costume, complete with spiritual masks. Every day is Halloween for these people. This may be for some, a way of acting out. We need discernment when so many things are really not what they seem to be.
Adults must take time to choose our own clothes carefully so our outside reflects what is inside. We must be a good example. An important component here is a face that reflects God’s glory. A shining face. I want people to look at my cover and want to ‘read’ me, because my book is full of God’s love and His goodness and His Spirit. I do not want anyone to think otherwise before they even know me. First impressions are very powerful. We must also conduct ourselves in every situation so no outside observer could come to a conclusion that is not true about us. No matter how we dress, if we act like a heathen, people will not be thinking of us as a Believer. Our behavior is very important.
I pray that you (and I) will be filled (and clothed) with the knowledge of Messiah’s will and understanding of spiritual matters; so we walk worthy of the Lord, pleasing Him in everything; bearing the fruit of every good work and growing in the knowledge of God. Colossians 1:10
Charlene Reams Manning
Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah
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