Do You Judge by Appearances?
DO YOU judge a book by its cover? You could be fooled. To avoid that, you first check its contents. This is illustrated in the case of a famous character from Turkish folklore, Nasreddin Hoja. (The Turkish word hoja means “teacher.”) He “is both crafty and naive, wise and foolish . . . He is devout, but has human failings.” He is the “invincible victim of life’s ironies.”—Tales of the Hoja, by John Noonan, Aramco World, September-October 1997.
One story is told of a journey he made to visit an Ottoman official and have dinner with him. “Stiffly, [Nasreddin] dismounted and knocked on the imposing front door. When it was opened, he saw that the feast was already in progress. But before he could introduce himself, his host, looking at his travel-stained clothes, told him curtly that beggars were not welcome.”
Nasreddin left, went to his saddlebag, and “changed into his finest attire: a magnificent silk robe trimmed with fur, and a vast silk turban. Thus arrayed, he returned to the front door and knocked again.
“This time, his host welcomed him warmly . . . Servants placed dishes of delicacies before him. Nasreddin Hoja poured a bowl of soup into one pocket of his robe. To the astonishment of the other guests, he tucked pieces of roast meat into the folds of his turban. Then, before his horrified host, he pushed the fur facing of his robe into a plate of pilav, murmuring ‘Eat, fur, eat!’
“‘What’s the meaning of this?’ demanded the host.
“‘My dear sir,’ replied the Hoja, ‘I am feeding my clothes. To judge by your treatment of me half an hour ago, it is clearly they, and not myself, which are the objects of your hospitality!’”
How often we judge negatively or positively by appearance alone! When the prophet Samuel thought David’s brother Eliab must be Jehovah’s choice for the next king of Israel, Jehovah told him: “Do not look at his appearance and at the height of his stature, for I have rejected him. For not the way man sees is the way God sees, because mere man sees what appears to the eyes; but as for Jehovah, he sees what the heart is.” (1 Samuel 16:7) Yes, Jehovah judges by heart condition, not by appearances. What do you do?
[Picture on page 31]
Jehovah warned Samuel not to be fooled by appearances