Looking Beyond the Surface: Why We Shouldn’t Take Things at Face Value

Looking Beyond the Surface: Why We Shouldn’t Take Things at Face Value


In a world where appearances can be deceiving, it is crucial to adopt a discerning mindset that goes beyond the surface. Making judgments solely based on initial impressions can lead to inaccurate assumptions and missed opportunities. We are taught from a young age to trust certain figures in society due to their professional standing or moral compass. But is this always the right approach? Let’s delve into this concept with a simple question.

The Banker and the Thief

Consider this scenario: you have two friends; one is a banker, a figure of financial trust, while the other is a known thief, a symbol of dishonesty. If you were to save your money, who would you entrust it to?

Present this question to a child, and the answer seems straightforward. “Daddy, come on, it’s easy! Give your money to the banker, he’ll save it for you,” I imagine my ten-year-old daughter would say. The answer seems as clear as day and night. The banker, reputable and trustworthy, is the obvious choice over the thief. But is it really that simple? Blindly following this approach without questioning, reveals the limitations of superficial judgment.

The Deceptiveness of Appearances

Appearance alone is often insufficient to determine someone’s true character. A person’s outward image can be carefully crafted to deceive others. While a reputable banker may possess an honest façade, it is important to remember that not all individuals who appear trustworthy are genuinely so. Similarly, while a known thief may openly display their illicit tendencies, this does not mean they are incapable of change or redemption.

The Complexity of Individuals

Human beings are multifaceted, and a single aspect of their identity cannot always define their actions. A person can be both a thief and a banker simultaneously, thus highlighting the intricacies of human nature. Factors such as personal circumstances, upbringing, and external influences can contribute to the transformation of a saint into a sinner or vice versa. This complexity reminds us to look beyond simplistic categorizations and embrace a more nuanced understanding of people.

The Pastor and the Neophyte

Furthermore, let’s consider another scenario involving emotional or spiritual issues. Who would you consult for guidance and support—a seasoned pastor or a neophyte? Conventional wisdom suggests seeking solace from an experienced spiritual leader. However, as we have learned, character and appearance do not always align.

The term “pastor” carries a strong connotation of trust, drawing upon our inherent inclination to rely on individuals in positions of authority. Unfortunately, this trust can be exploited by con artists who masquerade as spiritual leaders. Or as aptly stated in the bible, “They are wolves in sheep’s clothing”. The actions of a few unscrupulous individuals should, however, not overshadow the trust and integrity of the majority. It is vital to recognize that one person’s breach of trust does not negate the trustworthiness of others.


Taking things at face value can lead to misguided judgments and missed opportunities. The banker-thief scenario and the pastor-neophyte dilemma serve as reminders that appearances can be deceptive. Instead, adopting a mindset that acknowledges the complexities of human nature allows us to navigate the world with greater discernment and open-mindedness. So, next time you need to make a choice, remember – all that glitters is not gold. You have to scratch beneath the surface to find the true value.

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