What do we see when we see others? When we first meet them? Before we even bother to get to know them?
When we see someone dressed in a way that we don't like, what do we see? What about a homeless person? Or a guy with long hair? Or a girl with short hair...wearing pants? Or for you young people, a person in a suit, or a well-coiffed outfit? What do we see when we see a person who is different from us? The answer is important because the answer tells us exactly how we view the rest of the world.
If we look at another and pass judgement based solely on their outward appearance or, even oftentimes, their behavior, we have just turned our backs on them. We put up a barrier to "protect" ourselves from the unusual, the out-of-the-ordinary. For years Christians even judged others on the basis of skin color.
Having both participated in this act, and been at the receiving end of it, it seems to me to be the most pervasive and despicable practice in the church.
Where in Scripture do we find that we are to judge each other by our outward appearances? Where do we find that we are to judge each other by our mistakes and failures and imperfections and bad grammar?
Yes, there are evil people out there. Probably even people we should protect ourselves and our children from, but when we see everyone who is different from us as someone who falls into that category, do we not turn our backs and bar them from the Kingdom?