“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
John 7:24 (context vv. 14-24)
We need to admit that what we see isn’t always the way things really are. Some of our issues come from basic human ignorance, and yet, we need to admit there can be a satanic element. He darkens our perception, so we can’t see reality.
Judging “by appearances” is a thread in our DNA. We see the outside, and we imagine the insides. We’re limited by our failure to see the interior, and our vision is never clear. I suppose this is how it works, we can’t see the inside of things (1 Cor. 13:12.)
“It is the unseen and the spiritual in people that determines the outward and the actual.”
We must admit our vision is often deceitful. Jesus tells the Pharisees that their analysis isn’t real, they aren’t making holy decisions. They won’t accept him, they rather debate instead believe. The Pharisees’ never could understand Jesus.
But Jesus suggests that there is a real discernment that must be used, but it’ll require bypassing what seems real, or at least what everyone thinks is real. Discerning the difference isn’t always easy, as people are never what they seem. A beggar sleeping under the overpass can have the heart of a king.
Making distinctions is necessary, but typically we evaluate superficially–we see the outside, and the interior goes unseen. With this shallow assessment, the Pharisees’ can’t see beyond anything Jesus taught. They had already decided.
We must have the gift of discernment; the world is confusing and we’ve lost our north star. We’re to be a people of perception, and we need to understand the times and seasons. We must learn prayer, and pray hard. God’s gift of discernment is always given to us for intercession, and never ever for fault-finding.