You should not judge a book by it's cover. That is true. And if you have time in the library to browse and read the backflap or half a chapter, you will often come home with an amazing book even though the cover didn't really promise much. But how often do you have time for all that? Between children, household, work, family, hobbies... quite often we run in and out of the library in fifteen minutes and we have to content ourselves with first impressions. After a while you even become very good at this. You know what styles of illustrations probably promise a great read, or what kind of font is often used just to draw attention to a cheap sensationalist piece of 'non fiction'. Now and again we have pleasant or unpleasant surprises, but in general, we know what we get. After all, a scientific work will not often have a full colour shot of playing children against the background of a wheat field on it, a family novel will rarely have a shiny black dustjacket with blood drops over the title.
In the same way, people who do not have the time to truely get to know us and be surprised by our personality, must judge us by what they see. The woman we pass in the grocery store, the librarian, the people we meet on the street. While it is true that beauty starts on the inside, the way we present ourselves shows that we care about the feelings of others who meet us. We should not explicitly dress to get attention to ourselves, but it is a thoughtful gesture to present ourselves with the beauty with which the Lord has endowed us undimmed by sloppiness or carelesness.
(to be continued)