by Texas Stready

Last week while walking through the mall I heard a teenager say to her mom, “This outfit just looks like me.” When I glanced her way she was wearing a huge smile that went quite nicely with her high-waisted, bell-bottom jeans.

No doubt we live in a society that cares about appearance. We determine all kinds of things by the style of someone’s clothes, hair, or car. Tattoos, piercings, or the color of their skin as well. But trust me when I tell you, this can be a damaging practice.

I Think I Can

It sure seems as if it would be a relief to all of us to say, “It doesn’t matter what it looks like.” But it does. And in many instances it should. I mean no one wants their husband picking up prostitutes and driving them to their desired destinations.

Thinking we can do or say whatever we want is sure to leave us in a pickle. Our behavior speaks volumes, even when we wish it didn’t. As parents, neighbors, and friends, we are—like it or not—people of influence.

Then Again

Decision-making can get hectic when it comes to the outsider. I mean few people want their 14 year old wearing shorts that show too much cheek. But the “Does this matter?” question takes a sharp turn when it comes to people outside our sphere of influence. I mean what if your daughter brings home a friend who’s dressed that way. Should that matter?

As followers of Christ, it can’t. This shifts the question from, what it looks like to what’s my role in this. There’s a reason this girl is in my home. You catching my drift?

The longer we live the more we find ourselves in situations we have no control over. This truth is another reason our constant communication with Christ is necessary.

It is vital that we learn to love completely, without being harsh, and judgmental. That’s what Jesus looked like, and as Christians we are called to be reflections of Him. Think about it— Jesus didn’t say to the woman at the well, “Get up, pull yourself together and stop acting like a ho.” Often, even though we may never say this, our behavior screams it.

What’s The Matter?

Wisdom is a critical variable that must be used appropriately if we hope to be successful in any walk of life. If we aim to be beneficial parents, neighbors, and friends, open and honest communication must be on the top of our have-to list. Hopefully your hubby already gets why the prostitute deal is not a good idea, but in many instances discussing subjects in depth brings clarity and promotes alternative thinking.

Who we are matters far more than what we look like, but the richest parts of our character are always reflected in our appearance. Not just what I wear but what my body language speaks and what My words reflect. We do not need to fit some stereotypical criteria but we do need to fit the Jesus mold.

Do It Right

The thing to remember is this: God has placed me in authority over certain people. But while I must take that responsibility seriously, I can’t change or fix anyone else. The only person I can do that with is me. That’s a good thing because the fastest and easiest way for other people to learn is by example.

The privilege of speaking into someone else’s life is something we must earn. And the best path to accomplishing that goal is found by loving that person right where they are.

So does it matter what it looks like? Yes, but what matters most is that my response is one that’s appropriately dressed in love.

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