While we also recognize people by outward features we judge them by another standard -- their inward characteristics displayed outwardly in their words and actions.
For Christians, who represent to the world the 'image' or reflection of Jesus, this becomes very important.
Often we are the only gospel people read and what they 'read' in us is the basis of what they believe about God.
I think we tend to forget this as we go about our daily duties.
I read something in the Jewish Talmud the other day that sharply reminded me.
Here is the quote that caught my attention....
"Therefore a distinction was made between a wrong done to a Gentile and to a co-religionist on that ground. “More serious is the defrauding of a non-Jew than the defrauding of a brother Israelite on account of the proclamation of the Name’ "
It immediately brought to mind the verse... Rom 2:24 For "THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU." (Rom. 2:24)
In the Talmud quote above... I considered why they would say it was a worse crime to defraud a non-jewish person than a jewish one and I realized that their thinking was this - If they wronged a fellow Jewish person the offense remained between the two of them but if they wronged a Gentile the offense would reflect back on God and cause the Gentile to think less or evil of God Himself.
Do we consider what people, because of watching us , believe about God?
Before we react.. before we speak... do we ever stop to think -- how will this reflect back on God?
We have evidence in scripture that God is concerned about how He is represented to those who do not yet believe in Him... His name is important to protect -- His reputation is at stake!
Even to David, the prophet came with this admonition ,
"However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die." (II Sam. 12:14)
Does God care what the non-Christian world thinks of Him? Yes.. He does!!! and it is up to us to uphold the honor and integrity of His name and character.
Look at Rahab words to Joshua and Caleb when they came to spy out Jericho. She said.. "And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath." (Joshua 2:11)
Rahab had listened and watched God revealed through His people and she changed her life accordingly.
"Dear Father, help us to be the kind of witness that will cause people to turn to you as Rahab did and not be the cause of people turning away from you in anger, thinking evil of Your holy Name!"