What does it look like
--to have true courage
--to be a racist (nonracist)
--to care for others
--to listen purposefully
--to be a true believer
--to be a Christian
--to love unconditionally
and on and on. Why is it important to ask (and answer) the question What does it look like? I actually had to hear it enough times that it truly grated on my sensibilities before I asked myself this question. I hear it on newscasts; I hear it from the pulpit; I hear it in casual conversations, and I had wondered why people couldn't simply ask, "What is it like?" Then it finally occurred to me that there is an answer to that question.
We don't ask what is it like because we either don't really want to know, or we don't care what it is like. But what we are interested in is the all-consuming concern everyone has to know what things look like. Why? Appearances are what matters. Read that again. In our society in this day appearances are what matters. Reality exists only in the mind of the observer and is formed from the impressions we gain from appearances. Truth is what we perceive it to be. Please, Rev, don't tell me what I must be like to be a Christian. Tell me what a Christian looks like and then I can decide whether or not I want others to see me looking like that. Dr. Sociologist, don't tell me how to be nonracist, tell me what a nonracist looks like. On and on.
The crux of the matter is appearances matter.
"Man," scripture says, "looks on outward appearances, but God looks on the heart."