Objects: A hardcover book, preferably one with a plain, one-color cover.
Lesson: We do not judge others, because only God Sees into a person’s heart.
1. A person’s appearance doesn’t tell us how a person thinks and feels.
2. What’s inside a person is what God sees.
3. We must be slow to judge others, and try to see people as God sees them.
Do you like books? Some of my best friends are books. I have one of them here with me today. It’s a rather ordinary looking book, doesn’t look very exciting. But there’s an old saying, ‘You can’t judge a book by its cover.”
What that means is, you can’t tell whether a book is interesting or not just by looking at the cover. You have to get inside a book to know what it is really like. You have to read it.
People are like that too. You can’t tell what a person is really like just by observing his or her appearance. You can’t know whether someone is kind or interesting or a person you would like to have as a friend just by looking at the person’s clothes or appearance. You have to get to know the person, talk to the person, find out what the person thinks and feels.
It’s important for us to try to really get to know other people, because that is what God does. The Bible says that God searches the hearts of men (and women) (Romans 8:27). That means that God looks deep inside human beings instead of evaluating us by the way we look on the surface. God knows every thought of ours. God knows us the way we truly are, not just the way we seem to be.
That’s why we should be slow to judge other people. We may see people who aren’t dressed very nicely or who don’t look very friendly and immediately think, “Those are bad people; those are people I know I don’t like.” And, we could be making a big mistake about those people.
It’s always better not to judge others and instead to try to understand the thoughts and feelings of others, to get to know them the way God knows them. People are like books, you have to look inside to know what is really there.
Excerpted from Elder’s Guide, Volume A, General Conference Ministerial Association. Reprinted with permission. Visit the Ministerial Resource Center, GC Ministerial Association to purchase this and other helpful resources. Better Sermons © 2005-2008. Click here for usage guidelines.