Judging by Appearances Is Just Absurd
In the past, I often judged people by their appearances, holding charming, erudite and eloquent people in especially high regard. I believed such people were sensible, good at understanding others and generally good and kind. Only recently, as the reality has revealed itself, have I come to correct this absurd way of thinking.
One night near dusk, I returned to my host family’s house to see a young man wearing a suit and leather shoes who spoke and carried himself with elegant ease. He also wore a finely wrought pare of spectacles, which further accentuated his cultured and scholarly manner. My hostess introduced the two of us and informed me that the young man was her son and that he was currently working as an official in the municipal government of a large city. Coming from a poor background and having dropped out of school at an early age, I felt extreme envy for his sartorial elegance, cultivated charm, not to mention his advanced degree from a famous institution and highly respectable employment. It was truly the first time I had seen someone with such charm and scholarliness. I thought to myself, someone so cultured and of such high status and cultivation will certainly be amiable, humane and rational. With that thought in mind, I began trying to discuss matters of faith with the young man, but his reaction was quite contrary to my expectations. He rose to his feet in a clamor and slammed his fist down on the table yelling, “Get out of here right now! If you don’t leave this instant I’ll call the police!” Having spoken, he immediately took out his cell phone and began dialing 110. I hurriedly tried to ameliorate, saying, “My friend, I’m sure you’re not really going to call the police, you must be joking.” However, he remained obstinate and insisted that I leave immediately. I was utterly dumbfounded and didn’t know what to do next. Looking at my watch I saw it was nearly 10 P.M., if I left now where would I sleep? Just then, my hostess said, “It’s already late, you can leave tomorrow.” As soon as the hostess’ son saw that I was planning on staying the night, he intensified his efforts, literally pushing and shoving me out the door, and in the process yelling, “How could I, a cadre of the government and beneficiary of public funds, allow a missionary in my home? Get out of here now!” With that, he furiously picked up my bicycle and threw it right at me and then shoved me and my bike right out the door. My hostess went after me with the intent of taking me to another host family’s house, but her son wouldn’t allow it, pulling her back inside and locking the door. As I left, I heard the hostess cry, “Where do you expect a girl to go late at night all by herself?” “Let her go where she goes—with her God’s protection she has nothing to fear right?” He yelled in reply, tearing the hostess back inside.
Staring blankly at the blinking stars of the night sky and the flashing headlights of cars roaring by on the highway, I felt sad and heavy hearted. Grievances spilled forth from my heart: If you don’t want me living in your house then fine, but there’s no reason to stop my hostess from taking me to another host family. How could you be so inhumane, so vicious! Even a beggar should not be treated in this way! I have no idea where another host family is and I’m stranded with no place to go in the dead of night. What am I supposed to do? … With these thoughts rattling through my head, tears came to my eyes. At that moment, the fine impression I had of the hostess’ son’s charm, knowledge, status and cultivation was thoroughly wiped away. I thought of the following passage of God’s word: “Where are the good people now? Without the characteristics of a person, why should we call him thus, much less call him a good person. He has only the outer shell, but not the substance of man. It is no exaggeration to call such people clothed beasts” (“You Must Know That There Are Similarities and Differences in People’s Natures” in Records of Christ’s Talks With Leaders and Workers of the Church). I thought of the man’s fellowship in which it was said, “Why would we call those who resist or persecute God truly good people? Ever since man was corrupted by Satan, he has become an expert in disguise and in covering himself with life philosophy. On the outside, he looks like a person, but when someone begins to testify to God, his demonic nature is revealed. Not many people realize this, so they are often blinded and fooled by the platitudes and niceties of others. God’s words and work can best expose man. Those without the truth are merely hypocrites. Those who understand the truth will see clearly with regard to this issue. Those who do not understand the truth fail to see clearly and as a result their absurd viewpoints are revealed to all” (“A Fundamental Change in Viewpoint Is a Sign of Truly Understanding the Truth” in Annals of the Fellowship and Arrangements of the Work of the Church I). Pondering these words, I had an immediate realization. Indeed, God said there are no truly good people in the secular world: This couldn’t be more true. For only God can see through to the true nature of man. God reveals the true nature of humanity. I, however, didn’t believe in God’s word, didn’t view others according to God’s word, but rather used my own imagination and secular worldview to judge others. I always thought that those with knowledge, status and cultivation were invariably humane, rational and understanding of others. My viewpoint could not have been more absurd. Little did I know, those who do not believe in God are demons that resist God. On the outside they may look cultured and charming, but inside they are vile to the core and inhumane. This government official’s attitude toward faith and the faithful was a perfect example. On the surface, he had charm, eloquence, and culture, but as soon as I brought up matters of faith, he completely lost it. In accusing me, driving me away and threatening me, he completely revealed his satanic nature. In the face of these facts, I realized that there are no good people among corrupted men. Only by experiencing the work of God, accepting God’s chastisement and judgment and thereby achieving a change in disposition, acquiring normal humanity, rationality, and learning to truly worship and obey God can one become a true person. If a person lacks truth, no matter how much knowledge, status, charm or cultivation he has, he is still a demon at heart.
Through this experience, I realized that I wasn’t seeing people for who they really were, but rather basing my judgment on their appearance. How pitiful, how ignorant I was. It was revealed that despite having followed God for many years, I still didn’t understand the truth and had certainly yet to possess the truth. For, only those that have the truth can distinguish people and see the true nature of situations; those who do not understand the truth cannot see the true nature of anything. In the future I vow to devote myself to seeking to understand the truth and possess the truth, learn how to distinguish people and situations by God’s word, correct all of my absurd viewpoints and pursue to become one who is compatible with God.