It was my sixth grade year. I was sitting with a few of my friends at our end-of-the-year party, observing our new yearbooks. The book was packed with smiling faces of kids Pre K-8th, all of which represented a real person who went to our school.
After we had looked at our own class, we scanned the rest. My friends decided to play a game. They pointed kids out in each class who were the “cutest” or the most “handsome”. I was horrified at this idea of choosing those who were most “beautiful” by simply staring at a picture. I detested it, and I said so. These were real people, not items that are meant to pick and choose from as if window shopping!
But the saddest part is that this idea of deciding how beautiful someone is by a static picture is not confined to my sixth-grade classroom. It is a principle that is widely accepted in our society today. It has become common routine and habit to adore those who are more aesthetically pleasing than others.
“So all society will know
They all can see
That where true beauty grows
Is much more than skin deep.”
The lense of society is grossly distorted. According to dictionary.com, being beautiful is being “wonderful; very pleasing or satisfying.” It has also been noted that in the US, there is a 28% chance higher that one may aquire a job if they are more outwardly attractive.
So that is what we are supposed to think beauty is? Being satisfying or pleasing to others?
If we determine how beautiful we are by how pleasing we are to those around us, then not only are we lying to others, but to ourselves. Pleasure is not a factor in what makes one worth Jesus’ life. As the Bible says, it is the heart and our devotion to God that is what makes us beautiful.
“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
No amount of makeup will earn us what we have if we recognize God’s definition of beauty. It is unfortunately true that we live in a world that glorifies those who they seem to be “pleasing”. This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t care about how we look. However, my point is that we can’t judge one another based solely on that. We can’t escape the fact that our appearance could very well land us a job over our knowledge on the subject. It’s part of human nature to point out those who are more charming.
And yet again, that is another flaw in our culture; another reason to look forward to Heaven. It isn’t the job of other people in our lives to determine your value. The one person who’s opinion matters is the only one who you should let apraise you. Jesus. And remember, He sees you and says, “He/she is worth my life.” That is your value.
And example of this is the story of David and Samuel. God told Samuel that one of the sons of Jesse would become king, and it was his job to anoint that man. Samuel approached Jesse about the matter, and the minute that he saw the eldest son, Eliab, he was convinced that he was the right man for the job. Why? Because he was the strongest and most handsome. He looked like a king.
God told Samuel not to anoint him. He reminded Samuel that,
“…the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7
Samuel obeyed and moved down the line, as the sons got progressively younger and weaker. Finally, after the final son, Samuel was puzzled. Every man God had denied. But then he learned of one son, who was so weak and little that Jesse had not even bothered to present him. It was assumed that of course the first man would be anointed, and the rest were just in case he didn’t get it. David had been ignored. But as Samuel approached him, God said that he was the one.
Even a prophet of God was drawn to the strongest man. It is human nature to assume that the best looking are always the highest and most honorable. But that is not the opinion of God. Even if you are like David, weak and ignored because of your appearance, it doesn’t matter in God’s eyes. The only thing that is truly important is your devotion to our King and Lord.
But this goes for the other side too. Maybe you are considered “extra beautiful”. Maybe you have never worried that you are not handsome enough, but your emphasis is still on appearances. Maybe you are like my sixth-grade class, and you only look at what you can see on the outside. You feel the need to make those around you happy and pleased. Almost all of us have been this person before. We do live in a world where at this moment, our looks are important. But if this is currently you, keep in mind that in the end, it won’t matter. Remember that everyone is beautiful in God’s eyes. Remember that what He wants to see is the heart. He wants to see that you care more about your relationship with Him than how well you look.
The heart is a diamond, and our outward appearance is simply the box that is holding it.