Today in family devotional, there was a story about a little girl who "labeled" all the kids in her school. If their family was rich, the kid was stuck up. If the kid was foreign, he was strange. Then, her little brother brought in a can of food with no label on it. The father was able to use this as a teaching lesson for his kids - we shouldn't label people based on their appearances.
I experienced something similar at work this week. I was conversing with a customer about a dress and school. The topic of where I went to school came up, and I said that I was home schooled. The customer's jaw hit the ground and she exclaimed: "But your so talkative and nice! Home schoolers are supposed to be anti-social!" She had a stereotype of what a homeschooler was in her mind, and let's just say I didn't fit it!
I'm reminded of a story in 1 Samuel. Samuel comes to Jesse's house and tells him to call out his sons, one will be the next king of Israel. Jesse pulls his strongest and most handsome sons and lines them up. Samuel, greatly impressed, says "Surely it is he!" But God shakes His head and tells Samuel to move on. Why? Because, " Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” And then here comes David. David was a strong and handsome shepherd, but he wasn't Samuel's ideal of a King. God has different plans then ours - and those plans are fulfilled easier when we stop judging and stereotyping.
This week, Lord, we pray that you help us stop judging others based on appearance. Help us realize that labels are for cans of food, not people, and assist us to see all as your children and imitate your love.