I live on the edge of a quiet village so it’s quite rare for me to hear loud sounds. But there was a terrible racket the other day. It sounded as though my owner was treating his lawn mower in a very bad way. But then I realised that we’re still in January. He doesn’t cut the grass until the Spring. So I looked out of the side window in our kitchen, and there outside our gates were three scary-looking humans sitting on gleaming motorised bikes. And these machines had strange words written along their sides which read “Ducati”, “Triumph” and “Honda”. The three of them looked like they were part of a gang, and they were shouting to each other over the noise of their engines. It seemed that they had taken a wrong turning and were lost. So one after another, they turned off their ignitions and removed their helmets. And I had quite a surprise. Because these weren’t three adrenaline-filled tearaways. They were three old men, in their seventies or eighties, with big pot bellies and snow-white hair! Yes, I’d suddenly discovered a brand new sub-species of human that I’d never seen before. “Biker Geriatrica!” They may well have been on their way to a local Age Concern meeting, and the three of them probably had hearts of gold.
This little episode taught me that appearances can be very deceptive. We’re often guilty of making sweeping judgements about the humans around us before we know all the facts. Fortunately, God isn’t like that. He looks straight into our inner beings and ignores the external image that we present. He doesn’t worry about our looks, our clothes, our colour or any flimsy veneer that we choose to adopt. God knows all too well that a precious diamond can lay hidden within anyone of us, waiting for its chance to make our world a more better place. I wonder how many diamonds lurk inside refugees, down-and-outs, humans with disabilities or disfigured faces, or inside noisy bikers?
In some ways, it’s a shame that God doesn’t always judge us by our outward appearance because I have so many beautiful feathers of which I’m terribly proud. (Yes, parrots have always struggled with vanity). But deep down I know that the presence of God inside my soul is worth a thousand times more than every feather I possess. And just like a beautiful flower is initially contained within a rough and wrinkly seed, so all of us have the potential to work together to beautify the world in which we live by nurturing the diamond within our souls and by encouraging one another to do the same.
“Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgement.”
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.”