1 Peter 3:4 – You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. (NLT)
Mark 7:18-19 – "Are you so dull?" he asked. "Don't you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him 'unclean'? For it doesn't go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body." (NIV)
From the basket, I picked up the last apple to use in the fruit salad which I was preparing. It was a beautiful, bright red apple. I marvelled at its beauty. As the knife sliced through the fruit, though, it revealed a rotten core. Only about half an inch of the flesh near the skin was firm; the rest was black with rot, which was slowly destroying the apple from the inside. How, I wondered, could something so beautiful on the outside be so completely rotten on the inside?
The apple brought to mind people I have known — beautiful and seemingly perfect, outwardly, but filled with evil within. A warm and pleasing personality is a wonderful gift, but if it belongs to an unscrupulous person, it can lead many innocent people astray.
On the other hand, I've known people with little personality and totally lacking in glamour, who were beautiful people once I got to know them. Filled with love and concern for others, they desired to make the world a better place to live.
As Christians, we need to be very careful about whom we choose to follow or how we judge others. There may be wolves masquerading in sheep's clothing or there could be pearls of great worth which we are overlooking. Jesus discerned that difference in the people He met. With the help of the Holy Spirit to guide us, we can discover what a person is like within.
Prayer: Lord, we ask for wisdom to see intuitively the bad and the good in others. Help us not to be led astray by a sparkling, charismatic personality, nor to overlook a pearl that's hidden in a shell. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.