I spent a morning at our daughter’s school when she was just a kid. I had lunch there with a few hundred of her closest friends. The menu for the day was a choice of spaghetti, pizza, or a sandwich, along with some green things such as salad and broccoli. All the kids got the green things, whether they wanted them or not. I scanned down the table at the plates of about ten or fifteen kids and only one had eaten the broccoli.
I hate broccoli too. There, I said it and I feel good about saying it. I’m like the first President Bush in that regard. You see, I have a rule about vegetables. If they have more than one syllable, then chances are I don’t like them. I love peas, beans and corn. One syllable. Broccoli? Asparagus? Cauliflower? Way too many syllables for me. I know it is a childish view of food, but what can I say? I also can still look at a certain food and tell if I like it by how it looks. Picky. Picky. Picky. I know. I know. I know. My mom would say, “I raised you better than that.”
I can do the same with people. I can look at someone and tell immediately if I am going to like them. Not really. But I do size people up on first glance and first impression. Don’t you? Some of us see people who look poor and make immediate judgments about them. (By the way, be careful doing that. “He who mocks the poor insults his Maker” Proverbs 17:5). Others do the same with really large, heavy people. I am quick to make judgments of TV evangelists who have big hair with tie and hanky that match.
I suppose we all battle prejudice in some shape or fashion. We tend to have impressions about other people before we have given them a chance. We presume that we know something about them because of the color of their skin, their accents, their clothes or demeanor.
When it comes to broccoli, Sheri used to ask me if I have tried any since I was a kid. I responded, “Does it taste any better now than it did then?”
She always had a retort: “Your taste buds may have changed.”
“Not that much,” I said. But she had a point. Maybe I should give it another try and the same goes for people. Maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to judge by the number of syllables or by the outward appearance (of green things and people).
Not judging veggies by how they look would be good for my physical health and not judging people by how they look would be good for my soul.
“For man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).