Should you be mindful of your appearance for others or should others accept your appearance?
I heard a brief comment from the pulpit in a church recently that you must be aware of the way you dress and the haircut that you have and the way you present yourself in general, as all of this has an effect on the way other people react towards you, and essentially to be mindful of yourself out of respect and caring for others.
Maybe this was said because I noticed a seemingly clumsy individual blustering into the service late, windblown hair awry, carrying a large nondescript bag over her shoulder. She rushed to an empty seat near the front and sat with aplomb, and looked around as she made herself comfortable, and she smiled widely to show a few missing teeth.
The comment made by the Pastor jarred me though. The Bible says it is not the person's exterior that matters, as God judges the heart, and does not see as man sees (Samuel 16:7). I therefore thought, surely it is the rest of us who need to look with compassion on such individuals? Of course, this particular person should take the best care of herself that she can, but maybe she does not realise that others see her in this light, or she may not have money and resources to change her appearance, or perhaps she has a disability causing her to overlook personal details? Yet again, maybe she is happy with the way she looks, even though she knows some of her appearance may cause discomfort to others, and she does not change as she knows that the people who care for her will accept her as she is.
I guess there are always two opposing sides from which a topic can be approached, and one can learn lessons from the continuum between both points of view, irrespective of personal beliefs. So, someone could take this particular person aside and help her with gaps in her personal grooming, and, on the other hand, people could accept that she is the way she is, and to look past her exterior, and judge her instead by the person she is, and her friendly smile and engaging manner.