Superficial Really Bugs Me!
1Samuel 16:7, “But YHVH said unto Samuel, ‘Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for YHVH sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but YHVH looks on the heart.’”
The word superficial has to do with appearances and the surface. If a car is in an accident, but it only has a few scratches, you could say it has superficial damage, because the important parts are OK. If you just glance at a movie for a second, your opinion will be more superficial than the opinion of someone who watched the whole film closely. Superficial can have a negative flavor; calling someone superficial is saying that they are shallow and care too little about meaningful things. (https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/superficial)
Superficial is everywhere especially when it involves people. We look at someone and if their clothes are shabby, out-of-date, or dirty we tend to think the person themselves are probably shabby, out-of-touch, or unsavory characters. Just the other day my husband and I were dumping a load of trash at the county waste disposal site; we had some electronics to recycle when a man dumping a load of trash next to us said, “if you are getting rid of that computer I’ll take it, my friend recycles computers.” This man had multiple tattoos and piercings; was driving an old, rusted pick-up truck pulling a rusted, broken-down dump trailer. “No,” my husband answered, “I haven’t taken the hard drive out of it yet.”
We looked at his appearance and made an instant decision, “no, too much potential for theft of personal information.” We didn’t know anything about this man, but we judged him according to his appearance. He might have been a born-again believer in Yashua haMashiach, saved from a previous life of crime and debauchery; without more information gained from a personal relationship we could have no way of knowing. Now it is wisdom to keep the computer and remove the hard-drive before giving it away for recycling so as to protect one’s personal information, but I must admit that the man’s physical appearance was a major factor in not giving him the computer.
Which brings me to the remarks I heard today about our United States president, Donald J Trump. “I just don’t like him, he’s crazy like a loon. You know all those gestures he makes with his hands when he’s talking and his hair and that fake tan; he scares the beegeebers out of me.”
This person wasn’t upset because of his executive orders, his views on making America great again or his policies regarding immigration, health care or supreme court nominees; their dislike was totally centered on the surface appearance of the man himself; not what he stands for or even what he is trying to implement.
We seem to have become a society of superficiality; only concerned with what is on the surface. Personally, I think the biggest indicator of this very concerning drift is found in the fashion trend of woman’s pants; holes, big and little, ripped and frayed; from the crotch of the pant down to the ankle. It used to be that holes in pants were seen as a mark of poverty, but now women pay ridiculous amounts of money for pants with holes and tears. A few years back my husband and I had to make a VISA run into Cambodia to get a two-week extension added on to our Thailand visa. We crossed the border into Cambodia at Poipet, as we were walking to the border crossing I couldn’t help noticing mountainous piles of clothing with women scrambling up and down these huge piles collecting and organizing all of this used clothing into yet other mountainous piles of like-kind garments. I saw pile after pile of jeans and later when the ripped jean became such a fashion item I couldn’t help wondering, are these “new” pants just recycled “old” pants?
To me the rips, holes and frayed edges of these “fashionable” pants symbolize pot-hole views into the decaying fabric of a civilization that has lost its way, desperately trying to take something that is worn out and used up to say, “I am still relevant.” But it’s all just a game being cruelly played by master puppeteers on a willing but unsuspecting public.
We have allowed superficial to define us; what will they think of me if I say this, if I wear that, if I eat this or don’t eat that, if I drive this vehicle or live in this part of town or in that old house, or have that person for a friend? If you were totally honest with yourself right at this moment when would be the last time you asked YHVH what He thought about the decisions, plans, and even the thoughts you are thinking? Have you taken His wisdom, counsel, knowledge, or understanding into your decision making? Scripture tells us in John 12:49 that Yashua spoke not from his own authority, “but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak.”
I do think that Donald J Trump is YHVH’s man for this time in America’s history, but at the same time I do not believe that he will be America’s savior. The holes in America’s fabric are too big, too glaring; too much fabric has been lost to fashion to ever make a whole piece of cloth again. In Donald J Trump YHVH has given us a reprieve from His carrying out our well-deserved sentence of judgment; what we do as believers with this reprieve is up to us. A good place to start is to do away with the things that breed superficiality in our own life. Then adopt habits that promote character, thoughtfulness, compassion, discipline and good works. Remember Yashua associated with sinners, publicans and tax collectors and many of these same despised people became His closest allies. And without a doubt the most important thing to help us get out of the superficial trap is to “go to a solitary place and spend time in prayer” refreshing ourselves in the arms of our Heavenly Father. This is what Yashua did and He said, now you go and do likewise.