“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).’”
Ryan Nihart, 25 years-old from Daytona Beach, fancies himself as an Instagram star posting his outrageous stunts on social media to attract a following. (1) As he and his crew were hunting for their next spectacle Nihart spotted his prey outside of Jungle George’s souvenir shop on Main street clad in a Minion’s costume from Universal Studios Despicable Me films. Having cameras in place the aspiring star circled the plump yellow character and then ran up behind and lifted the character and twirled him four times before dropping him on the pavement. (2) As the minion struggled to regain his footing Nihart kicked him in the groin, then in the face and tackled him to ground. Inside the costume was 40-year-old Jamie Roehm who is legally blind and mentally disabled. Nihart was himself tackled to the ground until police arrived to arrest him. Roehm was bruised but ok. His costume was ruined in the dust up.
Nihart tried to console his victim by telling him that is was merely a prank. But Roehm doesn’t think it is humorous and now neither does Nihart, who has since apologized. It would seem plain that Nihart would not have intended to perform this violence on a blind, mentally disabled man and attract viewers. So, it strongly appears that he sized up his unwilling pain partner based on his outward appearance and made assumptions about the person inside the costume.
Such a bizarre scene should make us think though about the times we may have allowed ourselves to make similar judgments based on only what our eyes can see without looking deeper into the other person’s character and situation in life. The Jews already had their own assessments on any Samaritans – they despised them. Those Hebrews who contended with Jesus searched for a great insult to spit out at Him called Him a demonic Samaritan (John 8:48). What must His fellow countrymen have thought of His parable in which the protagonist was not a Jewish priest, or Levite but rather a Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)?
It is an ugly practice that so many in the world have been taught from their youth throughout history. Not just shallow racial assessments but age, class, assumptions about education and guesses about socio-economic status. What a tremendous blunder the supposed religious leaders of Jesus’ day made in evaluating the King of Kings who came robed in common garments (Philippians 2:5-8). Those of one group size up an individual based on what is visible to the eye and never look further to the person who is behind the mere outer wrappings.
In the church James flatly named this practice as a sin. “For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ and say to the poor man, ‘You stand there,’ or, ‘Sit here at my footstool,’ have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts (James 2:2-4)?”
In the Great Commission, Jesus sent His church to make disciples from every ethnicity (Matthew 28:19). Heaven will be made up of men and women from every segment of this world (Revelation 5:9) as invited and permitted entry by our God who shows no partiality (Acts 10:34). May God grant us to see others as He does.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).”