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November 10, 1995

Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover

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Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. PROVERBS 31:30
Appearances can be deceiving. The attractive, trim, sharply dressed man might look like the ideal executive, but he could actually be the worst manager who ever walked in the door. The balding, somewhat dumpy fellow in the outdated suit might look like a social outcast, but he might be the most effective leader in the company. You just never know.
That’s why looks should never be the measuring stick that is used to determine someone’s potential, effectiveness, or worth. It’s not that we shouldn’t try to look nice and present ourselves in a pleasant manner, but it really is what’s inside that matters. A person’s character certainly matters to God, and it should matter to us.
The people in the Proverbs 31 woman’s sphere of influence understood this. We don’t know whether this lady could have won a beauty pageant; the Scriptures don’t describe her outward appearance other than to say that her arms were strong (v. 17) and that she was well-dressed (v. 22). It does say that she feared the Lord, and for that she was praised. She wasn’t praised for any charm she might have possessed—that is deceitful. She wasn’t praised for any beauty she had—that is fleeting. She was praised for her relationship with God—the only method of measurement that carries any eternal weight.
How do you judge the people with whom you work? When a new person joins your team, do you formulate opinions about him based on the way he dresses? When you get a new boss, do you base your respect for her on her level of attractiveness? When you interview people for a position in your department, do you choose the more charming of two equally qualified candidates? Perhaps you should start looking beneath the surface to what these people are really like. Their outward appearance may reveal a few things, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Remember— charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain.

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