So Christmas Eve night at Elevation Church, Pastor Furtick (LIVE AND IN PERSON!) went OFF on the story of Christmas. He pointed out that before Mary and Joseph were married, he found out she (a VIRGIN) was already pregnant and was telling everyone that it was the son of God. He had ZERO other information. Go ahead. Put yourself in Joseph’s shoes for a minute. Your fiance lets everyone know she’s pregnant, that it’s not yours, but don’t worry…because it’s God’s baby.
The picture of Christmas we have today is that Mary and Joseph gave birth to a baby in a barn and they were both just THRILLED about it and everyone was happy about this perfect little “whose baby is this?”-baby in the hay. But the truth was, Joseph was basically made aware of his fiance’s God-baby pregnancy and never really got to talk to her about it (not in the bible at least). THAT’S PRETTY FREAKIN’ SCANDALOUS! Despite having no idea what the hell was going on, Joseph didn’t shame Mary. He didn’t announce she was preggo and it wasn’t his on Facebook. He just kind dealt with it.
I imagine her mouthing across a large crowd of people from behind her enormous belly, “It’s not what it looks like.”
And it wasn’t what it looked like.
And so the title of Pastor Furtick’s sermon was…
“It’s Not What it Looks Like.”
Hey. How often does that happen do you?
You stand there judging a situation while someone is scrambling around trying to convince you, “It’s not what it looks like!”
Or you get caught in a situation that looks RIL bad and you wanna scream, “IT’S NOT WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE!”
Worse, though, are all the times no one gets to say “it’s not what it looks like.” No one is given the opportunity to explain. Judgements are passed around like smoked oysters and decisions are made without half the information needed.
And it goes in both directions.
I don’t really need to remind you how easy it is to judge and make snap decisions based on a few bad reviews. However, it’s just as easy to go on that first date and listen to allllllll the amazing things he does, or the money he makes, or how much she really wants to be a mom. We listen to the best parts of someone and then, when they have a bad day or lose their job or change their minds about an opinion they once had…we flip out. And then we accuse them of flip-flopping or even lying about who they are or what their situation is. But were they lying? Or are they now standing in front of you saying, “It wasn’t what it looked like.” Maybe they DID change their minds, or maybe they did LOSE their minds when they were having a bad day.
Haven’t you ever done that?
It seems that we are so quick to latch on to one version of a person we know/love that we are unwilling to accept the newer facets or the evolutions they make as a human being. Do I believe the same things I did 10 years ago? Even ONE year ago? Nope. What I once looked like…I don’t look like anymore. I’m not “what it looks like” anymore, on the inside or the outside. And I really can’t expect anyone else around me to remain the same either, now can I?
I also think, quite frankly, the 80/20 rule applies here.There will often be 20% of a person that we no longer like. And when we focus on the 20% it can feel like 80%. That is why it is so important to focus on the 80% of the things we DO appreciate about a partner, loved one, or friend if the relationship is to last. As those people we love go through changes and grow, it’s easy to focus on the changes as things we don’t like. Face it – none of us like change. But when that second number approaches 20%, remember that the person you love won’t always be “what it looks like” anymore. (And, come on, would you want your friends/loved ones to NEVER grow?!)
Y’all have that friend that posts nothing but happy baby pictures of Facebook and then you find out in real like she’s battling post-partum.
Or the one who drives the Beamer and only wears designer clothes, but can’t afford the rent.
Or the chick who takes a solid spiritual game and then talks crap about the other moms in her neighborhood.
It’s more than just giving people and situations the benefit of the doubt. It’s recognizing that it’s not always what it looks like in the present moment, and what it looks like now might not be an accurate reflection of what it looks like tomorrow. Stop accepting everything you THINK you know as truth.
We’re not always what we look like. None of us. So give each other a break.
Thanks for the awesome reminder, Steven. (It’s cool. We’re on a first name basis for SURE now.)