It happens in the blink of an eye, but psychologists say it is usually accurate. It’s more favorable if you are attractive to the observer, and teachers often decide what type of student a child will be based on it. Even Jesus addressed it; the superficial judgment of another. In one-tenth of one second, we decide if someone is competent, reliable, and trustworthy, and these are just a few of the judgments we pass in no time at all!
Even when we get beyond those first few seconds, talking with someone and learning something about them besides how they look and dress, we need time to make “fair and righteous” judgments. Basing someone’s maturity in Christ solely on their church attendance and participation may cause real disappointment over time– when true character is revealed, just as deciding that someone is a bad choice for a job or a ministry position cannot be finalized simply by their dress or even their age. David was nearly passed over in being considered for king based on his appearance and his profession of herding sheep. And Abraham Lincoln did not become our 16th president based on his ability to dress well, or his one year of traditional schooling. But history confirms that these two humble men were meant to be a king and a president!
It takes time to know and understand a person. This is why we are instructed in God’s Word not to make quick, surface judgments. Jesus Himself explains the heart of God on the matter of judgment: “Be honest in your judgment and do not decide at a glance (superficially and by appearances); but judge fairly and righteously.” John 7:24 (Amplified Bible) And the Message Bible says to “use your head and heart,”…to “test what is authentically right.” ? It’s human nature to judge by appearance, but that can lead to wrong choices. My prayer is to put these wise words into practice.