_ Most have heard the axiom: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” I had heard it but didn’t pay too much attention to it until something happened that made it come alive for me. When I was a teenager, I was invited to a special dance by a young man who belonged to the church where I was a soprano soloist. I didn’t know him very well, but he was nice – and so handsome. So, I accepted the invitation. We arrived at the dance and immediately joined the others on the dance floor. I soon found out that my handsome partner was a terrible dancer!
As I sat on the sidelines during a time out, another young man from the same church made a beeline for me. I thought: “Oh, no. He’s going to ask me to dance!” He was definitely not high on the handsome scale. All I could think of was Ichabod Crane. Sure enough, he asked me. The music started up again, and off we went to dance. Was I in for a surprise! He waltzed me across the floor like I was Ginger Rogers. He was a fabulous dancer and made me feel fabulous, too. At the conclusion of the waltz, I decided he was actually pretty good looking!
_ Years later, when I began to think more about spiritual things, I found this in the Bible: “Do not judge by appearances, but judge righteous judgment.” (John 7:24) I learned that “judging by appearances” involves making assumptions based on a limited and material sense of things – being self-righteous and controlled by human opinion - without considering a spiritual perspective that brings out a clearer, more correct view. I was learning from my study of Christian Science, that it is important to "look deep into realism instead of accepting only the outward sense of things." (Science and Health, p.129)
As much as, through an understanding of astronomy, we aren't duped by appearances concerning the movement of the earth around the sun - no matter how often it looks like the sun moves around the earth - we can also look to the divine Science of man, made in God's likeness, to discern the beauty, goodness and spiritual stature that is always there, whatever the appearance to the contrary.
Although I now make an effort to examine things from a spiritual perspective, I am still learning to watch that I don’t get trapped into judging things by how they look.
Recently, over the Christmas holiday, I had an experience that really humbled me. I had not been in touch with a former neighbor and friend for some time. She had stopped sending Christmas cards, so this year I decided not to send one to her. It appeared that she must not want to keep up the contact anymore.
When it came time to decorate the Christmas tree, I came across one of my favorite ornaments. Years ago, this friend made me a tiny pair of red felt ice skates with silver paper clips for runners. I remembered very well what she told me when she handed them to me. She said, “The skates were so tiny that it was a challenge to work on them. But I reminded myself over and over, ‘I’m doing this for Kay, I’m doing this for Kay, I’m doing this for Kay.’”
Remembering these words, my heart was filled with affection for her. I felt the touch of Spirit and the great love of divine Love, telling me, “Call her!” So, I did.
Recognizing my voice right away, you would have thought I had given her the moon! We had a lovely chat and promised we would be in touch before the next Christmas rolled around.
My holiday was enriched with gratitude for an old lesson learned once again: Quit judging by how things look!
Kay Olson is a practitioner and teacher in Pennsylvania. You can reach her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or by leaving a comment below.
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I have practiced Christian Science professionally in
some form since 1979.
But my journey with
Christian Science started
in a Sunday school
where as a young child
I was taught the Scriptures and some simple basics
of Jesus' method of
scientific Christian healing.
A significant experience
at the age of twelve
opened my eyes to
the great potential
of this practice.
After impaling my foot
on a nail,
I prayed the way I had learned
in Sunday school.
the pain stopped
and healing began.
By the next morning the wound had disappeared completely.
the great potential
of Christian Science,
there would be no