I have the privilege of teaching Sunday school to 17-18 year olds in my church. It's a class where we get to study the scriptures and assess how they apply to our lives. This year, we are blessed to study The Book Of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ. This book is unique to our religion as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, yet it's meant for ALL to read.
As I was studying for our first lesson of the year, the introduction page was part of the suggested material. I thought this was interesting because I have read it a few times, but not every time I read the Book of Mormon. I just skip right over it not thinking much about it.
What's the point of an introduction page anyways?
Like an amazon review or a quick synopsis of the book, the introduction is a selling point to read further. The information contained summarizes what the book will be about, the feelings that you can expect to feel and if you'll understand it, based off of vocabulary and background. The introduction to The Book of Mormon is just that. It helps me understand the source of the book, how I will feel and if I'll be able to apply or learn from its teachings.
Why do I start off judging a book by it's cover blog with my thoughts about the Book of Mormon? Honestly it's because I had the kids in my class try and sell reading it to each other before we even started the lesson. They did their best to try and convince each other to read it after they read it themselves. We can pretty much size up the context of the book from the beginning so it's a great selling point.
Switching focus a little bit, I would like to sell you on people. Not sell people, sell you on people. This means that I want you to take a look around you and discover if these things are true about you, those you regularly associate with, or those you see infrequently.
Are people really trying to sell themselves to others? Stay with me....Are we trying to sell a lifestyle of service, kindness, beauty, physically fit, mentally healthy and spiritually awoken? WE are! We spend too much time trying to convince others that we are as amazing as our Heavenly Father sees us that we forget why we're doing it.
"Confidence is silent, Insecurities are loud."
In the world around us, how many people do you see that are loud in how they portray themselves? Whether it's negative or a positive image of themselves, do they shout it at the rooftops? "Look at how amazing my body is after having babies, check out my transformation from high school, I'm so ugly and socially awkward, I have no talents." Etc. Social media has allowed the opportunity for us to portray the good and the bad. How will you use it? Will you use it to actually pray for that person who has asked for it? Will you use it to inspire others how to change because of your example? Think about it......
Judging a book by it's cover is trite and immature. We don't know anyone perfectly enough to be worthy of judging them. We are often judging the mote that is in someone else's eye while there's a beam in our own.
When we think we want what others are portraying, we seldomly know what it has taken them to get there. Oftentimes we think that we can have or do or be what that person is without any real effort. We must not be so immature to think it has come easy to them.
A friend of mind is a great example and mentor of the harm that can come by judging a book by its cover. I worked with her in the temple cafeteria. She is a remarkable woman of strength, social conviction and spirituality, but she has tattoos. Taboo for some to think that I would be judging her by her tattoos. I wasn't judging her by her tattoos, I was curious why she was still getting them knowing that we are counseled to not create markings on our body's in such a way. She taught me how to look on her heart and not her skin. She taught me how to love her for the struggles that those tattoos represented for her and the opportunities that she testified of because of her tattoos. If I didn't take the time to get to know her and work through my own judgment, I would have missed meeting a wonderful woman of strength and testimony.
If you're tempted to judge a book by its cover like I have been, think of what you could be missing out on. Can they teach you something about who they are, what they need and how you can connect with them? Can you learn to be more accepting and teach them something? Can you bond more than you thought you could and actually learn from each other. I truly believe the answer is YES!
Sometimes we put down a book because it doesn't sound interesting or the cover looks uninviting, but we could be missing out. IF others have recommended it, how likely are you to pick it up and give it a try?
This is a reminder for me and a plea for you to do the same for people. Give everyone a chance! Don't let their 'cover' distract you from the heart that is buried under the surface. Discover how you can connect, how you can appreciate life through them and build a more open forgiveness of others weaknesses that might portray something that is 'off' of what you think it should be.
One example for me is pornography. I naively thought that pornography were men and women who choose to put themselves in these situations. I assumed that they wanted to be this image for others. After attending Brain, Heart, World produced by Fight the New Drug, I learned that some were sold to be in this position, some were told as a child that was their fate, some were forced into this position, and some have such low self esteem they don't feel like they can do anything else.
Before we judge a book by it's cover, or before we judge people by their physical or vocal portrayals, let's break down our own walls of insecurities and find out who they are.