How do you judge who you accept or don’t? Talk to or don’t talk to? Like or don’t like? Become friends with or not? Do business with or not? Even make eye contact with—or not?
1) Looks: For some guys, it’s all about the visual.
- To do business with this guy, does he pass your standard in how he appears, talks, acts, dresses, etc. Where he lives and what he drives?
- To stop and meet this neighbor, do I approve of how he/she looks, sounds, acts in order to take the time to meet him/her?
- Walking down the sidewalk, in line at Starbucks, shopping in a store, who gets your eye contact, catches your attention, meets your approval?
If you tend to use looks as your people filter, next, think about how successful that method has been. Has someone who looked great fooled you? Has someone you underestimated at first, kicked your butt later? The problem with looks as the primary filter is that it has a lousy success rate, because too often, as they say, looks can be deceiving.
2) Labels: For some guys, it’s all about the brand name.
- I know he’s a scumbag, but he’s rich. I’m not sure I can trust her, but anyone who drives a new Mercedes has done something right.
- He must be able to stand behind his contracts.
- Did you see that Armani suit?
- He’s just not “my kind of person,” if you know what I mean.
- I don’t like his political affiliation.
- But she goes to “that church.”
For label people, it doesn’t matter how ugly the painting is as long as it has a designer frame. The problem with labels is that they are too often used as disguises. Labels, like looks, place on all judgment on the external.
3) Love: This third option comes with a necessary default—Jesus.
We will all judge by the first two options, unless Christ is introduced into our filter. But even with Jesus, rarely do any of us get delivered right away. It takes time, patience, focus, and mostly obedience. Prejudices are hard to kill. But over time and submission, Christ’s love can become our main filter.
And, as Christian men, the daily goal is the filter of Jesus. If He accepts that person, so do I. If He tells me to keep my distance, I graciously back off. The filter of Christ brings, not only love to those who need Him, but the wisdom to live right.
“I can do nothing on my own authority; I judge only as God tells me, so my judgment is right, because I am not trying to do what I want, but only what he who sent me wants. —Jesus in John 5:30 GNT