From The Inside Out

There was a cassette tape that we bought for the kids…

But, truth be known, I think I liked it better than they did.Bill Gaither - Life It was from Bill and Gloria Gaither, was called “Life”. It was a story of songs meant for kids to start looking at LIFE and how to understand where they were, and where they should be going.

Cute songs, enhanced with kid voices, but with a really good message.

In fact, I only found one for sale on Amazon and they thought so much of the message they were selling it for $199.00!

The one song I seem to remember the most is called, “From The Inside Out”… A portion of it goes like this…

When I look in the mirror I see my body and my face and my hair

And I have to confess that I’m often a mess 

And I don’t like what I see there

But when God is looking at me He knows just where to start

He looks deep into my heart

From the inside out, God’s looking at me

From the inside out, I hope He likes what he sees

From the outside I might not look so good

But you might change your mind

If only you could see me from the inside out

Someone recently asked a question in some article I read, “What do you think others see when they look at you? What do they really see? What would you wish they would see?”

The reality of this question is that we often see ourselves as viewed by others with a different set of eyes, or values, than what we are truly viewed as. Back in the 60’s a wild lifestyle and dress created a judging public, again. Either you liked the wild hair, clothing, drugs, rock music, free love, draft card burning, bra burning generation, or you judged them quite harshly and wanted nothing to do with them.

Each generation has its share of generational rejection!

We see it today with all the tattoos, body piercings, and weirdly colored hair. I have judged it more critically because it is more permanent than other generational choices and who knows where it will lead when that generation becomes my age!

Yet, hidden beneath that exterior is a person. A soul. In many ways the inner person is crying to come out and be recognized, and on the flip side that outer image is attempting to hide the inner person. Accordingly, we must look past the outside and love them from the inside out.

Jesus had a lot to say about the inner and outer person. If you look through one gospel, the book of Matthew, you will find he condemned those that looked good on the outside, but were full of decomposing attitudes on the inside (Matt 23:25-27). In fact, many of his descriptors called out these people as hypocrites and vipers. According to Shakespeare the eyes are the window to the soul. If that is the case, then what do people see that make them so polluted on the inside? It makes one wonder about the steady diet that the eyes experience that causes such pollution…

In another location Jesus asks, “How can you speak good while being evil?” (Matt 12:34), because out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. It’s like being two faced. The inside speaks one way, but the outside looks another way.

Some of the roughest exterior people I know have the sweetest heart on the inside. Some of the nicest looking people I know have the bitterest biting heart on the inside.

In another gospel, Jesus uttered these words:

John 7:24 KJV Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

Righteous Judgment. For the day it was according to the law which provided boundaries. Yet, when you look past the law, Jesus was asking if it was okay to heal on the Sabbath – which was a holy day. What’s the spirit of the situation? Is it okay? Judge righteously.

In the gospel of Luke, Jesus gives us a deeper idea. We need to be merciful.

Luke 6:36-38 ESV Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. (37) “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; (38) give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Mercy. Be it. Judge. Don’t. Condemn. Don’t. Forgive. And so will you be!

One last thought.

John 16:8-11 ESV And when he [the Holy Spirit] comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: (9) concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; (10) concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; (11) concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

 It will be His job to convict. Not yours. And not mine.

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