By S M Chen, submitted May 13, 2015

My typical breakfast consists of cold cereal, soy milk, and a banana.  When the banana is gone, typically before the cereal and soy milk, I sprinkle frozen blueberries atop the cereal.  I often down the few pills I take with orange juice (this despite the admonishment of some that fruit should be taken in solid, not liquid, form)

I often have an apple, pear or grapes at lunch or dinner.

What I’ve noticed – and I admit this must be by no means original – is the lack of correlation between external and internal blemishes/flaws/imperfections.

Sometimes a banana, say, will have a spot of varying size on the peel.  When I remove the peel, halfway expecting the underlying fruit to be tarnished or damaged in some way, I am pleasantly surprised to discover that the blemish was, in fact, only skin deep.

Other times a small spot on the peel indicates a similarly small bad spot in the fruit, which I can scoop out with ease.

Once in a while, however, I’m surprised by the discrepancy, in which a comparatively small flaw of the peel conceals an almost full-thickness rottenness of the underlying fruit, in which event I discard a considerable amount, perhaps up to half the length of the banana.

I’ve had similar experience with both apples and pears.  Because of a dental condition, I peel and section both of the above before consumption.  During the peeling process, I scrutinize the fruit for any imperfections, which, again, has a relatively low correlation with what one sees externally.

I’ve been tempted to term this the Iceberg Effect, but it would be inaccurate, in that the appellation implies that visible flaws in the skin/peel of a fruit mask a consistently larger defect in the flesh of the fruit, and such is not the case.

What the above brings to mind is what Scripture tells us: “… for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”  (1 Sam. 16:7).

After all, I care little about a given fruit’s exterior, so long as the underlying interior is reasonably esthetic, nutritious, palatable and not a potential source of illness.

This is one reason, I believe, we are admonished to:  “Judge not.”  For, if we judge (and I have been guilty of this in the past), we do so on the basis of what we observe, and perceive to be true.  What we observe may or may not be indicative of what is really going on inside the person we form an opinion (often negative) about.

It makes sense to be kind, generous, and compassionate to others, assuming the best about them, giving them the benefit of the doubt.  This is, in essence, the crux of Christianity.  If we call God our Father, we are all His children, and others, whether they be blood relatives or otherwise, are our brothers and sisters.

Most of us give preferential treatment to our family members, including siblings.  We likely tolerate/endure differences – whether political, religious, or other  – that we wouldn’t in non-relatives.  We cut them slack, and expect to be treated in kind – to maintain or foster equanimity and harmony.

If we can develop the mindset that there really are no strangers, that, because we’re all in the same boat, that no one gets out alive – we’re born, we live, we die – then it’s easier to consider all men our brothers, and women our sisters. In which event, the sermons we hear week after week may become internalized, and our lives may become living sermons.

As Edgar Guest put it, “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one, any day.”  There are countless others like him.

And, although I’ll continue to peel my bananas, pears, and apples, I’ll now have the trace of smile on my face.  What’s more, I think God will, too.