In a recent stake conference, a counselor in the mission presidency gave a powerful talk about looking on the heart, and not someone’s outward appearance.
As a member of the mission presidency, he is often called on to do follow-up interviews before someone is baptized. When he walked into the room for the interview, he saw a young man covered in tattoos and body piercings.
Gazing upon this young man, he said a silent prayer in his heart, “Lord, help me to see in him what thou seest in Him.”
The interview commenced and the young man showed himself to be worthy and ready for baptism. Prior to completing the interview, the counselor told the young man that he held no ecclesiastical authority as a member of the mission presidency, but offered words of counsel on matters of appearance and dress.
He spoke to the young man about how Latter-Day Saints normally dressed and presented themselves on Sunday, and during the week. He offered words of counsel on the piercings this young man wore, and reminded the young man that it was ultimately his choice.
The interview ended and the two parted ways.
Several months later, while working in the baptistry of the Mesa Arizona Temple, the two met while the counselor was serving as recorder, and the young man as proxy for the dead.
This young man had listened to the counsel received during his baptismal interview, and had removed his piercings. As the counselor looked upon this young man, he could see the obvious outward changes, but could also see his countenance and what the Lord saw in this young man’s heart.
I so love the counsel offered in the Bible:
But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7
I pray that we as Latter-Day Saints will look upon others not as man seeth, but look upon their hearts, as the Lord does. Do not be afraid or hesitant to invite others to come unto Christ simply because of their outward appearance. May we ever have the same prayer in our hearts as this counselor did as we share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with our neighbors. You will be amazed at what you will see.