Many years ago. there was an ad for Cadbury Picnic, a chocolate, caramel and peanut bar. The unusual but effective epithet was "deliciously ugly". Picnics do look a bit rough and lumpy when you take off the wrapper but after the first bite, you forget what the thing looks like, and only remember the great taste.
The ad played with the well known adage "you can't judge a book by its cover". This saying warns that very little of what can be known about a person can be ascertained from observing their cover, that is their outward appearance. Most of what a person is lies hidden from others, beneath the surface, behind the physical curtain of flesh. To judge a person solely on what you see, in other words, what they look like or what they do, is foolish and unfair to the person.
Obviously people make superficial judgments about other people all the time. We can't help ourselves. Perhaps the maxim should be changed to say, "Don't judge a book by its cover". You can judge a book by its cover but you shouldn't because you might be wrong. Just as God told Samuel when he went to see the sons of Jesse to anoint from among them a successor for Saul to the throne of Israel. (1 Samuel 17:7)Jesus said, "Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgement." (John 7:24)
It's Christmas, and I'm reminded of how the baby Jesus was wrongly judged by some, and again later as he grew to boyhood and then into a man. God incarnate, deity in human flesh. He was subjected to the folly, the bigotry and the cruelty of men who did not know, who could not see, who he really was. Those who saw just another man, were very much mistaken. Some still are.
Returning to the deliciously ugly Picnic. One day, I grabbed one for morning tea and was of course keenly anticipating the joy of eating it. I'm not put off by appearance, and I know they taste great. However, when I opened the brightly coloured wrapper there was nothing inside. True story. The message is clear. Looks can be deceiving so it's wise to take time to get to know the real person inside the mortal wrapper. Look inside, because that's where God is always looking... into the heart.