Judging a Book by its Cover

I write books with serious titles like, I Used to Have Answers, Now I Have Kids, and Who Put the Skunk in the Trunk? But sometimes I wonder if I would have sold more books with titles like, How to Make a Million Bucks in 3 Hours or 7 Quick Secrets to Understanding Women.

Choosing a book title is like naming a child. Once you do, there’s no turning back. Name them badly and no one will open the cover or take them out on a date.

Here are some books my son insists I read.

Parachuting by Hugo First

The Lion Attack by Claude Yarmoff

My Life of Crime by Robin Banks

Losing Your Balance by Eileen Dover and Phil Down

I Eat Only At McDonald’s by Tommy Ayk

Most of us are guilty of judging a book by its cover. We enter a roomful of strangers and quickly weigh and measure them. By their clothes, their jewelry, their grins or scowls, their hairdos or hair-don’ts.

A man set sail for Europe on an ocean liner and found he was to share a cabin with a stranger. When he met the stranger he had serious questions about his character and decided to leave his gold watch and other valuables in the ship’s safe. “I’m afraid the man I’m rooming with might not be a very trustworthy person,” he told the one in charge. The man smiled and said, “The other man left his valuables with me for the same reason.”

I too am a recovering judgeaholic. But miraculously God is working on me, chipping off the edges, reminding me that while I look on the outward appearance, He looks on the heart.

A month ago I sat on an airplane. My seatmate had a foul mouth and a cranky face. I smiled when I saw his funny-looking fluorescent sneakers because I’ve sometimes said, “Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his sneakers. I took a risk, smiled and said, “How you doing?” This sparked an hour-long talk. Mostly I listened. My seatmate battled depression, had been hurt by people in a church he attended and hadn’t been back in many years. By simply listening, I gained a new friend, who later told me in an email, “I’m back in church. Like you said, the people here aren’t perfect. They’re a little broken, like me. Thanks for the talk. You have no idea what it meant.”

May God give us a profound love for those we once judged, remembering they are made in the image of God, whatever sneakers they’re wearing.

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Phil Callaway

Phil Callaway, the host of Laugh Again, is an award-winning author and speaker, known worldwide for his humorous yet perceptive look at life.

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