You can’t always tell what’s inside just by looking at appearances. For instance, this knobby fruit doesn’t look too promising for consumption. It’s a gorgeous red, but inside could be bitter, slimy, sticky, poisonous, or, sweet and delicious. You just don’t know until you open it up.

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Inside this mysterious red orb are edible seeds, called Theobroma cacao in Greek. Translated, this means “food of the gods.” Many people would agree that is the perfect description for the many forms of chocolate made from this fruit.

This is true of people too. At first glance we might not be attracted to the person in front of us. He or she might not be stylish, or smell of designer perfume. They might be too loud or talkative, too quiet or shy, or too laid back or energetic for our taste. But once we get to know them and see what is inside, we often find delights comparable to the delicious aroma and flavors of chocolate.

God encourages us not to judge people on what we see at first glance. When God sent him to anoint the first king of Israel, Samuel thought he had him pegged. He certainly looked like king material:

“Samuel saw Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.’But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:6-7).

Like Samuel, we may be immediately drawn to the outside package of a person, only later to discover they are without substance on the inside—no moral fiber. Sometimes beautiful women and handsome men do not develop kindness, patience, compassion and other godly qualities, because so much emphasis has always been given to how great they look on the outside.

Both of my daughters were beautiful little girls, who grew into beautiful women. People always complimented how they looked, but not on their character. So, I worked extra hard to notice when they showed kindness, leadership, compassion, honesty and other inner qualities. I didn’t want them to grow up thinking their only value was in their outside package.

God has created such a wondrous variety of beautiful people—in all colors, sizes, shapes, and personalities. And He sees the hidden attractiveness in each of us. If we ask, God can give us insight to know how to discover and nurture that splendor in others.

Oh Lord, you know our thoughts and intents, our faults, our dreams. And you look on us with LOVE. Help us look beyond outward appearances in others to where true beauty lies. And let us cherish one another, bringing forth the qualities you value most—character of the heart.

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