“The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.”Ecclesiastes 7:8 NIV
As I grabbed the small pot that I was going to use to make grits this morning, I thought about Jayden’s response when I told him that he needed to do a better job of cleaning the larger pot, which had become increasingly gunked up as he aspired to perfect making scrambled eggs like Gordon Ramsay. His response was “they all look like that (gunked up).” The truth of the matter was twofold: (1) although not all of my pots and pans were full of gunk, (2) this was Jayden’s perception (or excuse).
As I was about to start making grits, I looked at the outside of my small pot and tried to remember how long it had looked like this. Then I remembered that it started getting all gunked up when I decided to use it to make conch fritters in December 2011…more seven years ago!!!
Now, I had thought about cleaning the outside of this small pot at least a few times before, but just never took the time to do it. As long as the inside was clean, I was good. Similarly, the good news for us as Christians is that God sees and judges our innermost parts.
“The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all his innermost parts.”Proverbs 20:27 NIV
On the other hand, humans only see and therefore judge us from what they see from the outside. Unfortunately, sometimes people’s perception of us can be more negative than the reality of the situation. Now, I am not by any means saying that we should focus on making our outside appearances look good for others. But, what I am saying is sometimes we need to be aware of how others may misperceive us based on what they see from the outside.
While it is very likely that being a teenager who hates doing dishes, that Jayden was using this as an excuse for his laziness and substandard dishwashing behavior. However, what was also true is the fact that I had let years of gunk build up on my pot by continuing to use it without taking the extra time to properly clean the outside of my pot because the inside was all that I was focused on. In the process, no one could see who made the pot or the high-quality surgical stainless steel that it was made out of. Likewise, others are not able to see who and what we are made of when all that they have eyes to see is the outside and it is all gunked up. However, with patience (and a lot of elbow grease) our outside can be renewed to represent a similarly bright lamp to others.