I Am

Chapter 18: Things Are Not What They Seem




   Many times things are not what they seem. Usually it is because of our perspective; how we think about what is going on around us. Too many of us make the wrong assessments of a situation. We look at or hear of circumstances and make a rash judgment with little knowledge of what did happen. Almost every time I have made a hasty judgment, I have found my discernment was wrong. I found myself feeling quite foolish, when I learned what really had happened was not what I thought had happened.

   reminds us that our judgment, without having full details of what transpired, will make us feel foolish: “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him”.

   We need to hear both sides of the story before “jumping the gun” in understanding an event.

   Appearance and first impressions are not always accurate!


Example 1:

The sparkling, cool, clear water in a mountain stream may be toxic and fatal. It may look all right, but may be poison. It may appear to the naked eye to be clear, clean, transparent and pure water… . but actually be full of deadly poison. Some things are not what they seem.


Example 2:

When small children venture out onto the thin ice of a frozen lake or pond, they cannot see beyond the thin layer of ice. It appears to be a strong surface, and they think it will hold them, but in the end, there is disaster. Some things are not what they seem.


   Many of us have quickly learned that situations are not always what they appear. Even in Biblical times, there were instances where quick scrutiny would most likely lead to a wrong judgment:


*Mary, the mother of Jesus. Joseph quite possibly assumed that Mary had had relations with a man resulting in her pregnancy. I am sure that family and neighbors thought the same thing. Their assumptions, however, were all wrong. Mary was with child from a supernatural occurrence in her life Mary’s pregnancy was not a result of what they assumed had happened to the young woman. Some things are not what they seem.


*Jesus, when He hung on the cross. When many of the multitudes passed Christ hanging on the cross, I am sure many assumed He was a criminal like the other two that were punished on either side of Him. They had no idea that He had done no crime, but was paying the price for their sins.


   I’m sure you have heard the saying, “beware of the drowning man”. Too often, the person, who is trying to save the person drowning, is drowned by the flailing, panicking drowner.

   A disgruntled, unhappy person is often much like the drowning man. For whatever the reason they are dissatisfied; they share their unrest and discontentment with others. In most situations, they mean no harm. They are unloading their burden and anguish to others in hopes that the person can say something or change something to stop their dissatisfaction. However, their complaining, or “venting”, does much the same thing as the drowning man. He can take the listener down with him.

   The one listening may not know what is to follow in the conversation, or genuinely may want to be a consoling ear to the one doing the complaining. Before the “rescuer” knows what has happened, he too is soon a casualty of gossiping lips that do more than “sink ships”, as they used to say during World War II, when they referred to those that said more than they should have.

   Making oneself a listening post for complaining, gossip, or dissatisfaction can result in one’s having the same thoughts as the one that is floundering. The complaints and gossip can spread like an infectious disease. Soon the grumbler’s frustrations are shared feelings of their audiences.

   What the other person is saying is only his side of the story. If the listener wants to know the truth, he should hear the other person’s side of the situation. Suggesting to immediately get the other person’s view of what is being said, will often silence what is being said; as the talebearer may know what they are saying is more emotional than factual. In we are asked, “Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?”.

   Wisdom has many aspects, and keeping our thoughts to ourselves is an important one. Only fools utter all they know, and utter what they don’t know, and are responsible for much sin and hurt in this world.

   says, “A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.”

   Today, as in the examples I’ve given above, many falsely judge a situation. A wrong idea of what we suspect happened or is happening can taint a relationship permanently with a person or different groups within a community.

   We certainly would not want anyone to falsely think the worst of us in apparent circumstances; so with that in mind, give others a second, third, fourth, etc. chance. Give them the benefit of the doubt in a situation; and whatever you do, get more than one side of the story. Get the details from more than your one quick, uninformed glance; then you will be able to make wise judgments.

   Part of our growth as Christians is allowing the Holy Spirit to change how we think. Some things are not what they seem.