“Son, the Lord does not see His children as they see each other. We put too much emphasis on outward appearance, but He wants us to view each other as He does. God looks at the heart.”

God Looks At The Heart

By —— Bio and Archives--January 30, 2019

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When a well-dressed young woman named Rachel walked into my British Literature class, I noticed that one of her most attractive features was a thick, glossy head of brunette hair, perfectly coiffed. I thought … if only all female students would go to such trouble before appearing in public.

Nowadays, many don’t. The way some dress is appalling. With shorts that are little more than panties, T-shirts sagging from underneath their blouses, unkempt hair, and dirty, unlaced sneakers, they look like tramps.

To my dismay the following week, Rachel, having succumbed to a peer group fad, came to class not only in tramp-like attire, but also with fluorescent green hair.


By coincidence, we were discussing a Shakespearean sonnet in which the poet comments unfavorably about his lady’s outward appearance, but steadfastly maintains that he loves her. With Rachel’s altered appearance in mind, I asked her why Shakespeare loved the woman, despite her lack of good looks.

“Because she was beautiful where it really counts — on the inside,” she answered.

Her correct response brought to mind a cherished memory. One afternoon, my boyhood best friend and mentor Jaybird and I were lounging on his front porch looking across my father’s Mississippi Delta farm when a car pulled up. A small, bow-legged black man with a missing arm and a hump in his back stepped out. His wizened face was covered with white scraggly whiskers, he limped along with a cane, and his smile was missing all but a few teeth. I thought … that is one ugly man.

After exchanging amenities with Jaybird, he pointed his cane toward me and asked, “Who might this be?”

Chuckling, Jaybird answered, “That’s Junior, my white son.”

Leon wanted to know all about me, and every time I answered a question, he said, “Why, that’s wonderful,” “How interesting,” or, “I’ll bet Jaybird is mighty proud of you.” Then he returned to the car and fetched a large bag of candy.

“Leon always brings me some of his delicious homemade candy; this time he wants you to have it,” Jaybird said.

After Leon left, I confessed, “Jaybird, I feel awful about my first impression of that man. I thought he was ugly; now I see him as a beautiful human being.”

Smiling proudly, my mentor said, “Son, the Lord does not see His children as they see each other. We put too much emphasis on outward appearance, but He wants us to view each other as He does. God looks at the heart.”

A few weeks later, noticing that Rachel’s hair was no longer green, I asked why.

“Mom said natural is always more beautiful than unnatural and that I should concentrate less on my outward appearance and more on making myself beautiful on the inside, for that is where the Lord looks.”

“Your mother taught you a very valuable lesson, young lady,” and recalling what that beloved old black man told me so many years ago, I said, “Always remember: God looks at the heart.”


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Jimmy Reed -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Jimmy Reed is an Oxford, Mississippi resident, Ole Miss alumnus, Army veteran (Vietnam Era), former Mississippi Delta cotton farmer and ginner, author, and retired college teacher. His short story anthology, Boss, Jaybird And Me, is available at Squarebooks.com (telephone: 662-236-2262). His latest collection of faith-based short stories, entitled One Hundred By Five Hundred, is also available at Square Books (telephone: 662-236-2262) and at amazon.com. To receive Reed’s free weekly newsletter, send an email address to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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