This metaphor can mean so many different things. When you see an old book with a dirty cover and maybe not even well decorated, you might quickly decide that the whole book is bad and boring and you will look for another book with a better cover. Only to find that
the one with the better cover was boring and the one with the bad cover had a nice story inside.
When I was a kid, my dad used to tell me about criminals who wore suits and made themselves up to look smart and be trusted, but inside were hiding dark missions to steal big things from people. I also remember the tale of a man who was visited by a stranger in dirty rough clothes. The stranger begged the man for food, but the man was greedy and selfish.
He didn’t give the stranger food because he thought he was a madman, not realising that the stranger was actually an Angel of God. He judged the stranger from his outside look, not knowing that on the inside, the stranger was clean and had good things for him. Most people make the mistake of judging people by their physical appearance, not knowing that a beautiful peach can be rotten inside.
One day, I was in town and got robbed by tsotsis. I had to try and get money for transport to my home. I didn’t bother to beg for money from the women who were selling fruit and vegetables because I thought they would never help me. Instead I went to parking zones because I thought people there have money because they have cars and they would be merciful and help, but they weren’t. I returned with empty hands and desperately tried one of the women who was selling cabbages. She listened to my story carefully and she gave me the money for my taxi. I felt so bad because I judged these people by their appearance and their work, not knowing that they have hearts.
What happened that day opened my eyes and taught me the lesson of not judging a book by its cover because the cover may be rough and toned but have a beautiful story inside.
The Holy Bible tells us about the story of the Good Samaritan who helped a man who was beaten by robbers on his way from Jerusalem to Jericho. The priest and Levite who saw that man lying on the road didn’t help, but the Samaritan took pity on the man. If we, as people in this generation, were watching what happened to that man, we would have easily judged the Samaritan by his nationality and background, forgetting that his cover may be easy to judge, but we don’t know the story inside his heart. We would easily have said the priest would have pity for the man because the priest has a beautiful cover. He is a man of God on the outside, but his heart, or inside, is full of hate.
It’s important that we learn to give ourselves enough time to read the whole book before we judge and rate the story inside it. It’s important that we don’t try to judge people by their looks and their background, because what is inside them can surprise us.