Thursday, July 28, 2005


Chocolate cake with a sprinkling of coconut

As a young boy, I was a very picky eater. Today I'll eat most things that my stomach can handle, but back then I turned up my nose at all sorts of things, including many foods that I enjoy today. Being a semi-typical boy of my generation, I was more open-minded about desserts than vegetables, but even in this case I had a very strong dislike: coconut. I just couldn't stand coconut on anything. If my mom had wanted to prepare a dessert and make sure that I didn't take more than my share, all she had to do is sprinkle on a bit of coconut to reduce my usually ravenous appetite to virtually nothing. :-)

In much the same manner that a sprinkling of coconut could ruin an otherwise tasty dessert for me and many other folks, I've observed a similar phenomenon regarding how people judge other people. Appearance counts for a lot, and I don't just mean physical appearance: I'm talking about the stuff that you notice immediately upon meeting someone as well as during the very beginnings of the getting-acquainted phase. It seems that many people have a gift for sizing up a person very quickly. Some folks come across as nice, friendly, and refined, whereas others are a bit, er, prickly, rather like some desserts have a sprinkling of coconut (yuck!) whereas others have a slathering of chocolate frosting (hooray!!!).

Let's face it: first impressions are largely based on frosting or coconut, and often miss out on making anything like an accurate, balanced judgment of the person. This is quite understandable, because it takes time to get an accurate impression of anyone or anything, whether its a person or a slab of dessert. Much like that coconut might lie atop a marvelous dessert, that guy or gal might have a golden heart underneath that zit-ridden face or that portly profile. On the other hand, the smooth, user-friendly exterior of another guy or gal might hide a heart that's as cold as ice.

Yes, first impressions matter, but they so often mislead. Do we dare to trust them as much as we so often do, or should we heed the wisdom of Christ who told us to judge not by outward appearance, but to judge rather righteous judgment? (John 7:24)

My dear readers, I write this as a single guy who's been known to go about life sprinkled with a bit of coconut. Yes, I can be a bit awkward when I first meet a person, and I don't always get my hair trimmed as frequently as I ought, but I hope you won't hold those things against me. I suppose I'm one of those people who doesn't always make a strong, positive first impression, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who suffers such an affliction. My brother or sister, have you ever felt as though someone made a snap judgment about you? I'm sure all of us have suffered this, but yet we (including yours truly :-( ) are guilty of treating others just as we'd rather not have others treat us.

Brethren, let's not judge a dessert by its topping nor a book by its cover. Let's take the time to get to know one another's hearts!

P.S.: I have a tip to make eating a dessert more enjoyable: if you'll scrape off the coconut while no one's looking, the cake will taste 100% better. Trust me. :-)

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