Sunday, August 18, 2013

Man Looketh on the Outward Appearance

By now, you’ve probably heard about Jase Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame being kicked out of New York City’s Trump International Hotel. [1] The story is that Robertson asked one of the staff where the restroom was and the staff member showed him the way out the door instead. Robertson attributed it to “facial profiling.” The staff member assumed Robertson was a homeless man. I don’t know that we can blame him. They probably encounter several unshaven men who are homeless and if not shown the door, would hang out in the lobby.

I believe the lesson we can learn from this story is that how we dress is important in our interaction with other people. In the Bible, we see the statement, “man looketh on the outward appearance, but he Lord looketh on the heart.”[2] We tend to look at that statement and say something along the lines of “we should all look past the outward appearance.” So we should, but let’s not miss the truth of the statement, “man looks on the outward appearance.” At best, only the most godly among us will look past the outward appearance completely. And even if we have that ability, consider the statement, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” [3] Maybe our looking at the heart isn’t such a good thing. In any case, when the less godly among us look at us, their opinions will be based on our appearance, not on what our heart is like.

So let me ask you this: When you walk out the door each day, do you look like the child of the King, or the servant of the devil? What do people see. Do they see someone who dresses modestly? Do they see someone who dresses in such a way that they will respect what you have to say? Or do they see someone who dresses inappropriately? Do they see someone who dresses like an object to be possessed, not a person to respect?

And what about when they come through the church doors. In the past, people have argued that we shouldn’t make “seekers” uncomfortable by dressing up better than they dress. While that is a compelling argument, we must also remember that people’s ability to listen to a speaker is influenced by their respect for the speaker, and their respect for the speaker is partially based on the appearance of the speaker. A man in ragged blue jeans is more likely to respect what a man wearing a tie says, than what a man in a suit is likely to respect what an man in a shaggy beard has to say.

I’m not going to say that we should always walk around in tuxedoes. Depending on the situation, it is possible to be over dressed. But there is something to be said for us dressing better than what most people do these days. Instead of the freebee T-shirt, wear the polo shirt. Instead of the polo shirt, were the dress shirt. Instead of just the dress shirt, add a tie. Instead of just a tie, wear the suit. Step it up a notch and people are more likely to respect what you have to say.